Barack Obama: why the hell not?
OK, another political post. This is just about a couple of the Democrats in the primary election so if you are a staunch conservative and would never vote for them anyway, then there is no reason to get your panties in a twist; this post does not concern you.
So, to the question at hand: Barack Obama: why the hell not?
As Jena Malone's character on 30 Rock says, "He's black? And he wants to be president? Good luck."
Seriously, my reticence about Barack Obama had nothing to do with whether Americans were ready to elect a black president. I have total faith in the intelligence and open-mindedness of the American people ... Hahahahahaha! I had you going there! But really, even though I don't have much faith in the American people, I still think they would vote for a black candidate as long as he didn't have to rhyme everything he said.
No, my reluctance had to do with the fact that I just thought Obama was so young. Sure, he's charismatic and intelligent but would Americans find him presidential? I wasn't sure. But after reading a New Yorker profile I'm beginning to be won over. (New Yorker, May 7, 2007, "The conciliator: Barack Obama's vision," by Larissa MacFarquhar.)
First, my feelings about Hillary Clinton: no, she's not perfect. In fact, maybe she isn't even very good. But I like her anyway. I can forgive her for her initial support for the war because the Senate was going by the falsified evidence provided by the White House (the Senate did not have "all the same information," as the White House has claimed). Unlike John Kerry and others, however, she was pretty quick to admit that her support was mistake.
Liberals have many other problems with her and her husband and I'm not going to try to defend her at this point because, as I've said, I know she isn't perfect. My point is that I think she's electable. Though she doesn't have a long history in elected office, she has a pretty strong association with the White House: she lived there for eight years! She has more White House experience than your typical vice president. She has experience with presidential campaigns, she has major backing, and everything bad about her has already been brought out into the open.
A pole revealed that 40% of likely voters would absolutely not vote for her. This was seen as proof that she can't win. To me that means 60% of likely voters might vote for her. As I've pointed out in the past, I'm not very good at math but I'm pretty sure she could win with only 60% of the vote. I realize that the point of the pole was that it's unusual for so many people to have made up their minds so early in a campaign but I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. It means people already know a lot about her. She would have to really work that 60% but I think it's possible.
So that was the reasoning behind my initial support for Clinton but I'm starting to get very interested in Obama. He manages to get people's attention without talking in sound bites and he's liberal without seeming too partisan. One interesting point is that he won something like 60% of the Republican vote in his Senate race. I don't know how unusual that is but it seems pretty encouraging to me. Apparently he has bipartisan appeal. Anyway, I'm not endorsing anyone (yet) but I really liked what I read about Obama in that New Yorker article. I know there are several other good Democratic candidates but these are just some initial thoughts.
In a related topic to my previous post on the electoral process, California has had a very late primary. By the time we vote here, the presidential candidates have usually already been chosen, which is pretty depressing. In the last primary I actually voted for Al Sharpton. Yeah, I'm the one. I know he can be an idiot sometimes but I actually listened to the primary debates and he was the only candidate who wasn't completely full of shit. So I rewarded him with a vote, knowing it wouldn't make any difference anyway (Kerry had already won the nomination by the time I voted). The reason I bring this up is that California's primary has been moved up. There are problems with moving primaries up because eventually we'll end up with primaries that begin before the last presidential campaign has ended. My point is that I've never been that invested in the primaries because I've never really had the chance to make a difference. Usually I just end up voting for the Democrat that has been provided for me. I was always interested in the candidates, but actually having to choose one is kind of a new thing for me.
I welcome your opinion, as long as it's polite. If you believe the election of either one of these candidates will signal the Apocalypse, please don't bother commenting. And you don't need to explain that the rotation of the earth means elections occur later in California. Thank you.