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.

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