Monday, June 9, 2008

Are you serious

So Hillary Clinton's campaign has come to a close. As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, I was a Hillary supporter, and gravitated to more of an undecided democrat voter.

I'm seeing the media hype up a backlash of Clinton supporters who are vocalizing their intent to vote for McCain. This seems ridiculous.

To be clear, I have no beef (just political differences) with Republicans and McCain supporters. My irritation is aim squarely at Clinton supporters who are making this threat to jump parties.

With all due respect to Ralph Nader - I think the two party system works pretty well. There is a checks and balances quality that weeds out extremist candidates (usually), and forces parties to evolve. Whether it's the best system or not, it helps counter-act the popularity contest that is the presidential election.

Would I have preferred Clinton to Obama? Yes. Based on what? Mostly impressions. I felt her answers were usually more thought provoking and detailed, where Obama's answers were more emotive and ambiguous. That's hardly a new point of contention between Clinton and Obama supporters, but it points to how slim the delineation is. It was a very touchy-feely, impression based difference. Their policies are very similar.

Now the difference between McCain/Republican party and Obama/Democratic party is pretty stark (I'm sure there are cynics who doubt any difference and that all candidates are puppets of the same evil system, but I'll save addressing that until I do a post on where naivete and cynicism overlap). The war, the environment (McCain sells a good eco-pitch, but he's getting a lot of support from traditional energy suppliers), domestic policies, social policies, etc. A huge divide in what is laid out for the future.

Democrats were so riled up 18 months ago, and the "change" buzzword that was being tossed around was based on an optimism that we could start to repair some of the damage of the Bush administration. Now people are ready to vote McCain? Even for independent voters, I don't understand how McCain can be viewed as anything more than a subtle to moderate difference from Bush. But for democrats to say, well I'll be voting for McCain, not only abandons the policies that got you so revved up, but it abandons the policies that your desired nominee wanted to deliver on. I don't profess to know what's going on inside candidate's heads, but I am pretty sure that Clinton's desire to support Obama and the democratic party is sincere.

What is depressing is that polls showed a political solidarity for a long time - it's only in the last few months that this division has erupted. Of course, the media is trying to stoke the fires of controversy, as they are certain to miss the mill grist that the Obama/Clinton race had delivered. I can only hope that "McCain democrats) will take time to cool down, and focus on issues, and set aside the cult of personality that's eating away at them (the same cult of personality, ironically, that turned off so many people to Obama).

One final note is that McCain smartly used his time to quietly draw his party together while Clinton and Obama were still duking it out. Obama is now forced to do it under a spotlight. I'm confident these are growing pains that will be resolved by the convention, which by election year/media standards, is still light years away.

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