The Modern Fabulousity Endorsement: The Final Three
And so it comes down to three. Here's how it finally shakes out in my view:
WHY I'M NOT VOTING FOR: John Edwards
The two smartest political bloggers I know, Brilliant at Breakfast and Pressing The Flesh, are both supporting Edwards in the primaries. He's also, I believe, about to be big news...I'm predicting he'll be the "upset" winner of the Iowa Caucus tomorrow. (He's also gorgeous, which isn't as insignificant to me as it should be.) But despite his charisma and solidly left credentials, I can't bring myself to support him. His career as a trial lawyer will make for easy criticisms by the eventual Republican nominee; his stump speeches and sloganeering reek of political pandering. He's "not there yet" on gay marriage, which is fine -- no presidential candidate is supporting equal marraige rights. But he's the only one of the three who uses his "religious faith" as the justification for his ignorance on the subject, and that rubs me the wrong way. I can sum it up best by looking at his TV appearances this week; on CNN, I saw him saying that no candidate should use the Bhutto assassination for political gain...only to see him later the same night bragging about his phone call with Musharraf. He's a solid candidate, but I just can't. quite. get. there.
WHY I COULD ALMOST VOTE FOR: Hillary Clinton
Because as Queering The Apparatus says, she's the pro. She's the shiznit. She's Bill without the trampy sluts (and okay, without the charisma). Like her or hate her -- and many of you do hate her -- if we're comparing substance over style, she wins this three-way hands down. She's been a terrific senator for the citizens of New York; her policy credentials are rock-solid, and her campaign promises are both commendable and achievable. At the end of the day, I don't totally buy the "Hillary Can't Win" argument...it's true she'll never turn conservatives into advocates, but she doesn't have to. (She only has to win over independents in contested states, and I've watched her do exactly that to skeptical upstate voters in Buffalo and Albany.) But at the end of the day, I think her natural consistency -- women -- will be her downfall. She should be polling through the roof with female voters, and she's simply not. Certainly not well enough to offset the sexist reticence she's bound to face from men in the general election. I know dozens of smart, intelligent women, and over the last two weeks I've taken an informal poll of them. NONE of them are voting for her. NONE. Which speaks volumes to me...and says that Hillary's chance to make history is a pipe dream.
THERFORE, MODFAB ENDORSES: Barack Obama
I hear the arguments, loud and clear, against Barack's candidacy. He's got limited experience in the Senate. He's received as not strong enough to fight Republicans (or Al Qaeda). He's got the same problem Hillary has with women, except worse, because there's some insane prejudice out there that he's not "black enough." And perhaps most of all, he's got a name that freaks out middle America.
I don't care about any of it.
Because most of it's bullshit. He's got plenty of experience to be President, significantly more in and out of Congress than our current President. And the experience argument is a red herring...if you truly care about experience, you should be voting for McCain or Biden.
The idea that he's not "strong enough" to be an effective leader assumes that strength is a matter of theatricality...a showy, machismo bullshit that gives us "strength" like Bush. Personally, I'm tired of that kind of "strength": shoot-first, ask-questions-later, emotional and not cerebral. I'm READY for a leader who thinks things through, who consults experts, who challenges the easy answer. If that's weakness, I'm fine with that.
It would be easy to allow racism to creep into my thinking...that there's no way a black man can be President, and certainly not if the black community doesn't support him. But that's small thinking, as small as my rants earlier this year about his inclusion of anti-gay preachers on his South Carolina gospel tour. (He answered my concerns about that very well, and very thoroughly.) I have to judge Senator Obama on what I see in him...and truthfully, when he speaks, he's electric. He has that intangible quality of leadership that defines great presidents. He reminds me of Kennedy, of Roosevelt, of the great people who were called to service at times of great need. If I truly believe (and I do) that Edwards, Clinton, and Obama are pretty much even in skill, aptitude, ability, and electability, then I have to go with the one that has that extra special something.
One other thing: I realize he's probably going to lose in Iowa.
And one more thing: The country needs a transformational change. It has lost its way, and we all know it (whether we admit it or not). The only candidate who can cause that kind of change, that all-encompassing, paradigm-shifting change, is Obama. And that's why on Super Tuesday, I'll be pulling the lever for him.
- Meet Barack
- Obama on the Issues
- The Obama Blog
- LGBT For Obama
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