February 6, 2008

Win one for the Zipper

Filed under: Laws and Sausages, The Gray Lady, The Old Dirty War — tomemos @ 11:00 pm

So, I voted for Obama.

I came to the decision on Monday, and became more comfortable with it as the day went on. I realized that, all else being equal—and it really is, for me—Clinton’s vote for the war pretty much trumps everything else, especially her claims to be more qualified than Obama. For instance, this letter to the Times, writing in favor of “experience,” makes a pretty good point…

J.F.K. was far more experienced than Mr. Obama, having served 14 years in Congress, winning a Pulitzer Prize and being a decorated war hero. But right after he was elected, the Bay of Pigs, one of the biggest military debacles in United States history, occurred.

…until you remember that Hillary Clinton voted for the biggest military debacle in United States history. I don’t know whether to believe the best or the worst about either Obama or Clinton, but what’s certain is that Clinton didn’t have either the foresight or the conviction to vote against the war, and Obama—facing much less pressure, yes—did. That gets him my support, for now.

But overall I’m enthusiastic about both candidates, which means that, having chosen one, I’ll gripe about him incessantly. I’m still skeptical about the Obama cult of personality—I’m not charmed by people who can only be bothered to vote in November if their Bestest Candidate is nominated, for instance—and every time I came across an ad hominem attack on Clinton before voting, I almost changed my mind and gave her my support instead. For instance, Maureen Dowd—never the most grounded of columnists—has completely lost her mind. If this column had been published on Tuesday rather than Wednesday, I would have voted for Clinton without a second’s hesitation. (More on that column here, here, and here, by the way.)

And now, the waiting game. I do believe that either of these candidates can beat John McCain in a walk, and that having more exposure due to a protracted contest will be good for the Democrats’ chances…unless one side goes negative or dirty and starts tearing the other down. (And yes, I know all the things Clinton is supposed to have done. No sale.) If they can keep the lovefest going to the convention, and avoid some ugly floor fight, we should be in good shape. Just ask Tomemos, the guy who predicts a Democratic victory in every single election.



  1. From the Dowd article: “But, if he wants to be president, he will still have to slay the dragon. And his dragon is the Clinton attack machine, which emerged Tuesday night, not invincible but breathing fire.”

    Dude, I remember the part in the last debate when Clinton started breathing fire. And also when she grew those bat wings and started flying around the auditorium shouting, “I WILL SNAP HIS SKINNY BONES!” That was so totally, like, scary and stuff.

    Oh, wait. It never happened.

    Comment by The Girl Detective — February 7, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  2. Yes, yes, yes…we have all heard that Obama was against this war in the first place. Of course he wasn’t in the SENATE at the time, but that’s neither here nor there. Nor is it important to Obamaphiles that he is quoted as saying that he doesn’t know what he would have done, if he had actually been in a postition to VOTE! Of course that was before he was running for president. Now he says he was against NAFTA!!! What the hell office was he holding in 1992 anyway? What’s next? Is he going to come forward and say he was against the Viet Nam war too? What an arrogant ass.

    Comment by Anna Banana — February 25, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  3. Anna, thanks for commenting—I agree with about half of what you say here. I agree that Clinton faced vastly more pressure when the vote came to her (I note this in passing in the post), and more importantly that Obama was simply speaking against it whereas Clinton had to actually vote on it. I can’t agree, though, that it should be a non-factor. After all, if the war had been the great humanitarian success of the 21st century (of which there was no chance, but that in itself had to be recognized), Obama’s opposition to it would have been a liability in a national campaign. Also, Clinton’s vote for Kyl-Lieberman strengthens the perception that this is part of a pattern, one that Obama hasn’t fallen into (though I surely wish he had voted against Kyl-Lieberman, rather than conveniently missing the vote).

    More importantly, I think the idea that Obama shouldn’t press his advantage on this issue is really strange, and reflects a kind of purism that has been pervasive in these discussions. Is it really “arrogant” for Obama to refer to his public statements on a vital, controversial issue? (It’s a little less admissible when it comes to his position on NAFTA, but then Clinton wasn’t holding office in 1992 either). Don’t we want him, if he faces McCain, to be able to refer to his early opposition to the war? By the same token, the idea that it’s beyond the pale to question Obama’s authenticity, credentials, or chances makes no sense either. It’s time for everyone to admit that both candidates want to win an election, and they’re going to try to do that by making themselves look stronger and their opponents weaker, a process that is rarely perfectly civil and admirable. Short of distortion and fear/prejudice-mongering, we should accept these tactics, because April to November is going to be a lot worse. Politics ain’t beanbag.

    Comment by tomemos — February 25, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

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