Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Close to Decision Time

Florida goes to the polls today, and there's one week left to Massachusetts.

My good friend Kate Strouse Canada sent me her current thoughts on the campaign. I think she provides some great insight. Read on:

You've asked me a couple times what I think about the Democratic crop of candidates. I've given it a lot of thought this weekend and thought I'd share some of my not yet totally fleshed out thoughts with you.

I like John Edwards and his attack on corporate America and that he truly believes in social service programs and in helping the poor. The poor (and the military) in my opinion have lost the most over the past 8 years and having someone in the White House who will push an agenda to get them back on their feet is really important to me. I also feel like we need someone who will do some sort of "New Deal" policies and I think he's charismatic and likeable enough to get a lot done.

This being said, he's not going to win.
He'll probably be a VP candidate again but he just doesn't have what it takes (whatever that is) to do it.

Hillary and Obama have very similar policy positions in my opinion. Hillary is smart, she surrounds herself with knowledgeable, smart people and she knows the system. That being said, she's more of a centrist and, like her husband, will make a lot of compromises to get things done. This isn't always a bad thing. BUT - I struggle with the democratic idea that we would have either a Bush or a Clinton running our country for possibly 28 years. It troubles me a little bit. Of course - if it comes down to Hillary being the nominee it won't trouble me as much as a John McCain or Mitt Romney presidency.

Obama is young, fresh and more of a establishment guy than people give him credit for. He's extremely savvy, has great advisors and comes off as more "real" than the other candidates. Notice I say - comes off as. There is no question this guy isn't a politico. As someone said recently - you don’t become a Senator in a corrupt state like Illinois when you're only in your 40s without knowing how to play the game. I like that he's invigorating youth - and African Americans - to vote. There have been a lot of articles in the Baltimore Sun about African Americans registering to vote and pledging to vote - and they've had African American candidates to vote for before but he's really something different to them. I also really like Michelle Obama. She's tenacious, willing to speak her mind and willing to "go there" on a lot of issues. I don't think his depth of knowledge is as strong as Hillary's and I don't think he'll get a tremendous amount done as President at first, but I think he has the potential.

Given all of that - here is my litmus test. Being a tried and true Democrat it doesn't matter to me policy wise who is the nominee. I will vote for them. BUT - I want someone who will FIGHT. The Republican machine is still strong and still nasty and whether it's Romney or McCain the Karl Rove style of campaigning will still be around in this election. I don't want the Democratic candidate to sit back and not respond when they are attacked - ala John Kerry. If there are questions about race or gender, or service or whatever it is - I want the candidate to fight back and keep fighting until they get their message across. I know Democrats try to be all nice and "inclusive" but the stakes are high this year and this is not the time to sit back and think you're "above that type of politicing". I feel like Hillary will definitely fight. Obama has shown me a little bit of this in the past few days but I need to see more.

The other thing I'm hoping is that if Hillary is the candidate, that Obama fights for her. AND - if Obama is the candidate that both Hillary AND Bill fight for him. It has to be unified.
Because another 4, or 8 years, of a Republican (especially John McCain) - would put this country down a very dangerous path, both within our "borders" and across the globe.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Crew at Kill '08
Killington, Vermont
January 21, 2008

The Presidential Race Shifts Here
Hillary Event Tuesday, I am Still Undecided

I heard Massachusetts mentioned for the first time this morning. Tim Russert talked about how the state is "delegate rich" and is a place where Barack Obama thinks he can win delegates.

Indeed, now it's time for many other states to get involved in the Presidential race. I have still not picked a candidate of my own, but several of my friends are supporting Hillary Clinton. In fact, my friend Elizabeth sent a note about an organizational meeting for local supporters of Hillary Clinton. Hillary won't be there, but some other Boston polticial notables will be. Here are the details:

Where: At the Community Church in Copley Square Boston
Date: Tuesday, January 29
Time: 6 p.m.
It's free to attend. It's meant to be a way to get local Hillary supporters together.

If you have questions you can call Elizabeth at: 508-942-6340.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My appearance on Greater Boston

I was on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney on December 10. I talked about trash in Boston. You can watch it by clicking here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Charles Bridge
December 18, 2007
Endorsement: Not Yet

I admire the fact that in New Hampshire and Iowa, they carefully pick their presidential candidates. I try to do that as well.

It's hard for me though. Four years ago, I didn't make up my mind ahead of the Democratic primary in Massachusetts until the night before the primary. I drove to Vermont in the weeks leading up to the primary to ski, and I changed my pick each and every time I saw a candidate or heard them on TV. I ultimately picked John Kerry.

Up until the Iowa Caucuses, I was leaning toward John Edwards. I don't like the fact he made a lot of money representing children in cases against doctors. One of my good friends, Martha, is a Doctor and delivers babies for a living-- and we've had many intelligent conversations about this.

I guess I was leaning Edwards because I felt as though he was the Democrat who had the best chance to win in November. He also talks a lot about fundamentally changing America's view in the eyes of others around the world. In one of the first debates I watched, he said, "We need to make America the country people think of when they think about freedom again." I like that.
I also like Senator Edwards positions related to corporate America. The American economy is the envy of the world, but it's far too easy for a limited few to manipulate the system for their benefit. Government is necessary to make sure the economy gives all equal opportunity. I am not an economist, but that's what I believe.

Finally, I think if he had had another week four years ago, Edwards would have won Iowa and beaten Senator Kerry.

When Senator Edwards lost in Iowa, I decided to go to New Hampshire to volunteer with some of my friends who were helping out Hillary Clinton. Yesterday afternoon, I came very close to deciding I supported her.

I was in the office of a co-worker, a smart woman who told me why she, ultimately, would vote for Hillary. It's the reason why I like Hillary-- the answer to the now infamous Charlie Gibson question. In the final New Hampshire debate, Gibson asked the Democrats how they would respond to a nuclear attack on an American city. The stark terms Gibson used shook me: He said that experts give a 40-percent chance of an attack on a U.S. city in the next ten years.

Hillary is realistically the only person who has the real-world experience necessary to answer the question. She's the only person talking about what practically she can do from day one to fix all the problems President Bush has made. Hope doesn't really cut it when a nuclear bomb goes off.

My mom likes Barack Obama. She is an independent living in Connecticut (which votes the same day I do here in Massachusetts on Feb. 5). She says the "unite" message Barack Obama is preaching is what the country needs right now. I can totally see her point. When I hear Obama speak, I hear what I want to hear-- and I actually believe he can make it happen.
However, I felt the same way when I paid attention to the Gubernatorial race in Massachusetts 18 months ago-- the first time I heard Deval Patrick speak. I bought into his message of hope. I rallied around him, even though there were other candidates that on paper had better credentials for the job.

Governor Patrick has been in office a year, and hasn't done much I really like. The idea of putting three casinos in Massachusetts is ridiculous. As someone who grew up near two casinos in Connecticut, I can tell you what will happen. But that's the topic for another blog entry.

The Patrick lesson creates pause in my mind for Obama. I want to believe in hope and change, but we need to be realistic about how bad things are and pick someone who can make repairs happen.

Despite all this, something happened last night that is pushing me back toward undecided (away from Clinton). My good friend and former roommate Blake, who's from Texas, noted to a group of friends and me that neither Hillary nor Obama has a chance of winning the general election. He has a fair point. Hillary is a polarizing figure, and Obama's hope message might ring hollow to the general electorate. It caused me to go back to the original reason I was supporting Edwards-- Blake says he's probably the only Democrat with a chance of winning in November.
It's discouraging that the primary process might lead to a Democratic candidate who doesn't have a chance.

Sigh... I am undecided. There's still a lot of time until February 5. And the good news is we now have only one year left of President Bush. And yes, I am counting the days.