Saturday, January 12, 2008

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.

1 comment:

Batman said...

Hey Ross,

I love you typical, liberal prose that all we be well if we just blink our eyes and say, "Yes, we can." Hillary will trample all over a serf like yourself; worker bee. If she takes over, you'll be praying for an attack, just to get away from it all. Be carefule what you wish for, liberal looney!!!