With the Texas primary exactly two weeks away, and early voting starting today, I suppose it's time to decide who I'm going to pull the lever for on March 4th. Bill Richardson was my previous choice but he's no longer available. So, it's either Hillary or Barack. I'd be happy to vote for either of them, of course. Both are preferable to McCain.
Hillary was always the brains of the Clinton "team," or at least it seemed that way to me. Not that Bill was a dummy but Hillary seemed more ideological somehow. Probably it was her heading up the first universal healthcare initiative that gave me that impression. I also admire her strength and perseverance in being able to stand up to the relentless press hatred she's had to endure. She also does have experience being a national leader and being on the national (and global) stage. She's a known quantity.
That also cuts against her in my estimation. Not simply that she is a "divisive figure" (which is one of many execrable press-hate memes she's faced), but that she is too close to the Democratic "establishment" for my comfort. It was the Clintons who brought the DLC to national prominence and control of the Democratic Party agenda. Unfortunately the DLC turned into a corporate advocacy group, perhaps not as bad as the American Enterprise Institute or Club for Growth but certainly of that ilk, and I'm opposed to maintaining and expanding their influence in the party and the nation. It's not clear to me how aligned Hillary is with the DLC but given the past association it is a concern. I have also felt that Hillary is too willing to compromise with Republicans in the name of "getting things done," which is a huge mistake and misapprehension of their unity and fanatical opposition to any Democratic initiatives. It's also clear that while possibly not an elitist Hillary certainly is of the elite, and the nation needs to get some leadership that is not of the "ruling class" at some point. Voting for Hillary kicks that can down the road another 4 years.
So what of Obama? The first acceptably-moderate black man to run for President and have a reasonable chance of winning is a powerful symbol, especially for someone like myself who grew up in the South. Having a black man elected President would be the strongest possible statement to the racists who remain in this country, that their intolerance and hate is no longer viable; a relic of a sad and tarnished past that will inevitably disappear. Barack is a powerful public speaker, yet powerful without being strident. He has chosen to run on a generally positive basis, playing up hope for the future and a reunited sense of America as a good nation. He has a great personal story and is of humble origins. And he has Oprah's endorsement :)
My problem with Barack is his message, or more precisely the content of his message; I have no problem with the tone and I do agree that Republicans have won elections by focusing on sunny, rosy optimism. I simply don't think personally feel that rosy optimism is all I want in my candidate for President. I also
want to know specifically what my candidate will do to enact the programs I support, and this has been sadly lacking from Obama's statements. While Hillary has also been light on specifics, her long track record to a degree substitutes for detailed policy proposals; Obama's lack of history leaves this an open question. Also, given the hugely difficult situation 8 years of Republican misrule has inflicted on us, I would prefer to have someone with demonstrated experience at the helm rather than an unknown, if talented, newcomer.
So, when it comes down to it, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton on March 4th.