Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Fight Ahead

I noted in previous posts on this blog that the nominating process is going to be quite interesting, indeed. It speaks volumes that Hillary and Bill have both had to inject $5 million of their own money into their campaign to keep up with Obama's fund-raising efforts. It also is rather telling that many of Hillary's staff are now working for her without being paid for their efforts. The obvious point to draw from Tuesday's Super Duper almost-a-national-primary-but-not-quite is that we are no closer to knowing who the presumptive nominee will now now, any more than we were beforehand. Delegate count, depending on who you consult, how you spin it, and whose campaign you talk to is either narrowly for Obama or narrowly for Clinton.

Buckled up? Settled in comfortably? This is going to be a wild ride, readership. Edwards has not officially thrown his support and his delegates to either Clinton or Obama, nor formally endorsed either. If I were John Edwards, I'd be holding out to see who would give me the best deal, i.e. Vice-Presidential and/or high-level Cabinet position. One would think Edwards would be ideologically closer to Obama than Clinton, since his rhetoric resembled Obama's more so than Clinton's. Furthermore, Edwards supporters would appear inclined to support Obama far sooner than they would Hillary. However, Edwards has already been Vice-President once and found that just being a Vice-President does not automatically translate into being elected one step up the food chain at some later date to be determined.

Just ask this guy.

The New York Times, though recently discredited in recent days due to having included a certain right-wing nutjob op-ed columnist, sums up the sentiment of the country quite neatly.

Ultimately it comes down to who you support in your heart of hearts and for me that candidate is Barack Obama. I am fearful of the Clinton political machine, which is still trying to seat Florida and Michigan's delegates through a court fight. If the race continues to stay close and there's no reason why it wouldn't, her campaign will take legal action to seat the delegates of both Michigan and Florida's primaries. Both of these primaries, as I noted earlier, were stripped of delegates, rendering the votes of millions of Americans in two states totally inconsequential. That is wrong, wrong, wrong, and if I were a resident of either Florida or Michigan, I would be up in arms protesting, simply because according to the leadership of the Democratic party, my vote might as well have been meaningless.

The only catch to that scenario is since she VIOLATED the requests of the DLC by being the only candidate to keep her name on the ballot, she won these primaries uncontested. Certainly you wouldn't expect Howard Dean to go to bat for someone who goes against his wishes. If she won in court, then expect Obama's and Edward's lawyers to fight for their say as well. If she gets to seat her "delegates", then they ought to be able to seat their "delegates" as well. The problem is that since Obama and Edwards were not on the ballot, there is no method of knowing how to proportion delegates based on popular vote. Indeed, how can the results of Florida and Michigan be taken seriously since Obama and Edwards can argue, justifiably so, that they did not allocate time, money, and resources to fight for states where the inevitable outcome was symbolic rather than substantial. The only legal response to this situation that is fair (and notice I never said life and/or politics was fair) is to take one of two solutions.

a) The results of both elections are effectively null and void, so no candidate gets a delegate share at all

b) If it is ruled that Florida and Michigan residents ought to have a direct say in the selection of their Democratic candidate for President, then they ought to re-vote, with at least Obama's name on the ballot.

The Times/MSM in general is now attempting to discount Obama's successes on Super Tuesday by spinning the story in favor of Hillary Clinton. Those claims might have some merit if one didn't consider how the Obama surge created a stalemate rather than handed Clinton any sort of knock-out blow. This is a man who until recent days was behind Clinton in national polls and trailing her by double-digits in several states. This is a man who was criticized for not being black enough, but then won 80% of the black vote. Okay, so he won the black vote, you say. But how does this explain his victories in these states?
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • North Dakota
  • Utah
Today's Doonesbury explains the challenges facing Obama now. As a minority, he faces increasing scrutiny and the mistakes he make, for better or for worse, will be magnified four times greater than they would be for any white candidate. That is true for any member of any minority or prominent member of a dynamic under-represented before now at the highest political level--be they Female, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender.

(Click to enlarge)

Obama has taken the majority of the black vote, both male and female. He has taken the majority of the White male vote. However, he has (though Tuesday he made substantial strides in that direction) garnered less of the vote of White women. Though I am a man, I can certainly understand why gender factors in to the equation. We vote based on personal conviction, not high-minded ideals. We give lip service to equality, and then pull the lever based on emotional response. PLEASE don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that women would be inclined to vote based on pure emotion, rather than logic. I'm a man and I voted for Obama based on emotional appeal as well, particularly that I am passionate that we need substantial change and having seen Obama speak in person, I was so moved by what he said that I teared up. My vote has its own bias as well, but my bias is not anti-woman, but it is anti-everything Clinton proposes.

One wonders if Hillary Clinton would be held as accountable for her mistakes owing to the fact that although, as the first female candidate to have a substantial chance to be President, she is still White. White women comprise the majority of the Democratic electorate and as some bloggers have pointed out, many of them let their ovaries dictate their votes.

Who I vote for has NOTHING to do with Obama being black or male, just as my suspicion of Hillary Clinton has NOTHING to do with the fact that she is of the opposite gender. I think it is time for a Woman President. The British, Canadians, New Zealanders, and hell, even PAKISTAN have had female chief executives years before we have. I am voting based on qualification and merit, not any single issue like race or gender. I would vote for a woman for President.

But not this woman. And the reasons for this are many. I am particularly opposed to her pro-war stance. I am particularly uncomfortable that she uses Bill as a surrogate to campaign for her. I think that gives her an unfair advantage. She claims in the most recent debate that she is her own woman, and yet she uses him to do her dirty work and uses him to stump for her at campaign rallies, and if need be, provide concession speeches, a la South Carolina. I am uncomfortable that she uses politics as usual, utilizes public opinion to dictate position stances, and effectively gives us the restoration of the Clinton dynasty, for better or for worse. I am deeply troubled that she is hand in glove with the very lobbyists and corporations who have sold us all down the river. She may be ready on Day One, but I think she'll be ready on Day One to do whatever is politically expedient to serve her needs first, to hell with the rest of the country.
The times has come to make our decision based on a combination of emotion and reason, for both of these rule us equally. The time has come to vote based on who we think would best benefit us, our families, and those we love.

This then, is why I am supporting Barack Obama for the Democratic nominee in November. I hope you will join me and do the very same.

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