Sunday, February 3, 2008

Clinton or Obama: Final Answer

The Giants won the Super Bowl. Is that an omen?

It is now Sunday night and I have determined to make my decision before I go to bed.

I will vote for Hillary Clinton. This has been a difficult decision. I could vote for either and will strongly support either as the Democrat nominee. I know Clinton better since she has been my senator for eight years. On almost all important issues their positions are essentially the same. I wish that Clinton had voted against the Iraq resolution. Twenty-four senators did. However, all of the senators who subsequently became candidates for the nomination voted for the resolution. Edwards subsequently recanted. Obama was not in the Senate at the time although he gave a speech against the resolution and the war it led to. His position at the time mirrored my own. I am not sure what he would have done if he had been in the Senate and thus his position would have had an impact on the actual policy. It is one thing to give a speech; another to vote on legislation that will impact policy.

Clinton is a strong, assertive, intelligent and savvy woman. That she comes across to some as calculating and self-interested seems to me to reflect more our difficulty in finding categories to judge such a woman rather than the character of her words or actions. As a woman, she also has special difficulties with her spouse. Male candidates typically have spouses who have subjugated their careers or ambition to those of their husbands. This means that the spouses of male candidates are largely attractive appendages. The spouses of female candidates typically have careers and public visibility which can often be problematic. The Ferraro candidacy is an example. Hillary's is another and is probably an extreme example. I can judge her candidacy apart from Bill's record and I believe that others can and should.

Charisma is just not enough for me any more. I want someone as president who begins with policies and proposed programs that will deliver on the ideals we all share. I have not heard or seen many of Obama's television ads but the ones I have seen focus on his personal history and the great ideals of America. I think that Clinton is committed to similar ideals but relies more on her experience in working out the political agreements and often compromises that are necessary to deliver on those ideals.

In the end, I believe that those who share the ideas and ideals of the Democrat party will join a new administration. There might be differences in those who join a Clinton administration and those who would join an Obama administration but I do not think the differences would be in quality.

I am more comfortable with and have more confidence in an approach that relies on persistent and patient work to achieve essential policies than I do in an approach that seems so characterized by enthusiasm. The change that either candidate proposes will take years to achieve and these changes will face opposition and unknown challenges. Success will require the capacity to persist in the face of defeat and difficulties, things which can too easily deflate enthusiasm and popularity. I believe that Clinton is in the political process for the long term, regardless of the outcome of this campaign. That commitment is important to the achievement of the ideals and policies at the heart of this campaign.

I am putting this topic to rest for a while. My next posting will take up something else.

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