Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Experience" vs. "Change"

I had someone tell me that they were supporting Hillary Clinton for President, the other day. On the surface, this is the right answer. Senator Clinton is smart and stands for the right things. But she has three things working against her.

First, she has ZERO charisma. Does anyone get vaklempt when she speaks? She doesn't inspire, she doesn't evoke passion (unless you're a 65 year old woman).

Second, she represents the past. She and President Clinton want to recapture the spirit of 1992 and the eight years that followed. Those were good years. But they cannot bring them back. Nor should we want them to. The world is just too different now. I agree that she had a role in the things that the Clinton administration accomplished, but I believe it is disingenuous for her to claim those successes as the defining portion of her resume for President. She was the President’s wife. How is that acting like the feminist icon everyone claims she is?

Her resume for being President is comprised entirely of being married to a former President!?! YIKES! I'd like young girls to grow up knowing that their individual accomplishments are more important than who they marries in defining them.

When you break it down, Hillary Clinton's accomplishments consist of surviving a emotionally frigid family environment, graduating law school, coping with President Clinton's extramarital nonsense, being on the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart (did you know that?), shady land deals in Arkansas (is there any other kind there?), and getting elected to the Senate in New York as a carpetbagger.

The third, and ultimately fatal, flaw is that she is divisive. Republicans feel about the Clintons, the way Democrats feel about President Dubya. Do we really need another 4-8 years of that? Isn't 16 years enough of half of America hating the other half and vice versa?

All this said, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee of my Party (I'm a Democrat, in case that wasn't totally obvious coming from a guy from Amherst, Massachusetts), then she will have my vote and my support. But until that time I am supporting Barack Obama. He is also very intelligent; he has more experience as an elected official (8 years in the Illinois State Senate prior to going on 4 years in the U.S. Senate). Yes, he is young (but older than Theodor Roosevelt and John Kennedy when they were elected). I believe that the difference between Obama and Clinton's platforms (and Edwards' for that matter) are nominal and thus it becomes about style and personality. Clinton want to be a do-it-all President like her husband and Jimmy Carter before her, but these two men, while incredibly intelligent and capable have lists of accomplishments, while in office, that are limited. They needed to delegate, lead and inspire, instead of always act like the smartest person in the room (which they invariably were). We need someone more hands on than the current President, but more important we need someone with the wisdom and judgment to listen to advisors and then make the informed choice. I believe that Barack Obama is in the vein of Teddy Roosevelt and JFK in that regard. He has my vote.

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