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3. Should I base my vote on the New Start/Clinton Fatigue/No More Dynasties Factor? Have to admit this one resonates with me. It’s not like the Clintons have never had their shot, and if her rhetoric is to be believed, she has already shared the most powerful office in the free world and has participated in many decisions that either did or didn’t help the country. We must assume that she was involved in much else besides her visible role in the attempted health-care reform.
And, as I’ve noted before, the Clintons come with a moving van full of baggage. They’re hated by millions of people who help to elect many of the Senators and House members they will need to get things done.
Yes, for sure, many hate them for the wrong things, and the Clintons are not to be blamed for their enemies’ excesses, which are many. But when you focus on action, and you ask, “Who might really get a few valuable things done between 2009-2013, which will require the help of majorities in Congress?”, it’s not hard to see that many in Washington may take great delight in blocking whatever she wants to do, starting with health care reform. If she could win in a landslide and bring in a veto-proof majority in both houses, that would be a path to success. . . but that doesn’t seem likely at all.
So. . . All that experience Hillary touts may be negated if she can’t move her proposals. If I thought electing the first woman was a a worthwhile end in itself, as many do, I’d go with her and say “Damn the torpedoes and testosterone!” But I don’t see gender-symbolism as a sufficient reason.
So. . . that may be a good reason to Go With the O.
4. Should I base my vote on Obama’s symbolic value to the country? His election would be seen around the world, and in much of the country, as proof that America can transcend a shameful history of slavery and racism. It would boost the spirits of millions and provide a powerful example to young people, especially minorities. But you say: What about #3 above? You wouldn’t cast a vote for gender, but you might for race?
Yes. Shoot me at dawn, but I think the Obama message out-symbolizes the Clinton First Woman message, so to the extent I’m moved by symbolism, I’d go with Obama.
5. Should I base my vote on fears that I don’t really know Obama? No doubt McCain and Clinton are far more known quantities than Obama, and thus safer choices in that sense. A few dents on Obama’s halo have appeared in the press (sleazy contributors, ties to violent 60s radicals, weird comment from wife) and you can bet more dirt will be dug up on the way to November. (Remember Willie Stark’s Law: “There is always something.”)
So. . . should that put me off Obama? Still have seven hours to decide!