Saturday, March 01, 2008


O Say Can You See? I Wish I Could.

As I look ahead to Tuesday's primary here in Vermont I find myself trying to anticipate the nation's mood in the general election. I am hearing news accounts of a rightward shift on Iraq. The surge seems to be working; why step back now? You make a mess, you clean it up.

Then there is the corner into which we Democrats have painted ourselves. We have forced a referendum on race and gender by virtue of the candidates left trying to mount their own surge to the nomination. Which prejudice figures less devastatingly in America, '08: race or gender? Is the US up for a historic first, or will the white guy default reassert itself?

Experience is another factor that may be significant in the voting booth, come November. We are on an anti-experience roll at the moment, having disdained the experiences of the current occupant of the White House. But McCain's been in the Senate for a pretty long time, and the American people can get a little nervous about neophytes and potential vulnerabilities in the debates to come. He can point to lots of accomplishments, some of which won't play well to the Republican base (which will otherwise come together through the magic of Karl Rove's negative campaigning, the silencing of Rush and Ann, and the play to one of the aforementioned prejudices). He'll be able to play the role of the elder statesman, never mind that he falls back on his warrior past as the solution to the problems that lie before us.

Obama seems to me to be the Man on a Horse, here to rescue us from the current morass. He can be whatever we want him to be: conciliatory, peace-bearing, race uniting. His years as a community organizer mean that he's had meaningful contact with the disenfranchised. When news came of Fidel's resignation, he stepped wide of the unproductive US tradition of refusing to meet with his successor, while Hillary toed the usual line. However, Obama's bold step forward could cost him Miami votes, and perhaps Hillary was stepping to the right for a moment, safe in the cover of US policy.

Billary's early efforts in the Clinton administration were the pursuit of the right objectives hampered by the use of the wrong tactics. Thus universal health care crashed and burned, along with the rights of gays in the military. In these campaigns the Dynamic Duo lost their DC virginity. Clearly they were klutzes, but their hearts were in the right place. I am still pissed at Bill's pandering to the right with welfare "reform" and the rest. And that Defense of Marriage was pretty pathetic, though I still believe that the best protection gays have for their unions isn't a blessing by the state, but a good, strong trust drawn up by a lawyer that carefully spells out the roles that the partner is to play in the event of incapacitation. All else is wishful thinking.

I do experience concern about how effective Obama would be, once in office. The executive function is pretty removed from the legislative one. He could unite the country, or he could turn out to be another Jimmy Carter, a person whom I regard more highly than any other ex-president, but who wasn't able to govern well during his time in the White House.

How far has our nation come? If the press is any reflection, we still have a long way to go on
gender. If Hillary's tactics haven't always been Of the Light, they haven't been innovative in their machinations. If Barack has been in the process of learning how to manage the opposition, more power to him. He may not know what hits him, once he steps beyond the comparatively safe confines of the Democratic Party. Race is still an issue; my colleague's son, working on the Obama campaign, was told by a man he called that he'd never vote for that "fucking half-breed." (He must have been watching a lot of old westerns.)

For once, our biddy little Vermont votes seem to matter. I've never felt so hesitant about whether my vote would speak wisely enough to serve our country well.

I'm glad I'm not alone.

Uh, huh. Now that our choice might finally matter I'm stuck on trying to decide which of them to support.

I've got till Tuesday, right?

Pwapvt, in the snow. Again.
Ms Lulu,
In Harris County Texas, the early vote has already set a record for turnout in a primary, with the Democrats outpolling the Torys two to one here in Tom DeLay's old district.
I've been wondering for years when the young people would show up to vote. This may be it.
Yep, as a Bexar County (that's San Antonio) resident, our early voting also has set records. Harris County (Houston) has a higher Black population, San Antonio is about 50 percent Hispanic. I expect Obama and Hillary to split in those two counties.
But be glad you're in Vermont, where the candidates won't be on your doorstep for weeks, running ads, having rallies, disrupting traffic and jamming the news every night.
Vermont does matter, and I hope they make wise decisions and not just root for the overdog.
Oh, and one more thing I want Vermonters to consider.
Obama's mantra about "not voting for the war" is a little silly when one considers he was not a U.S. Senator at the time of the vote.
We shall never know how he truly would have voted, and for him to hammer on that as his claim to fame is a little bogus.
With only three years of on the job training, is Obama truly ready to rule the United States?
Like his claims about the vote, I guess we'll have to take his word for it.
I appreciate your thoughtful mulling it over. Its funny how much media plays a role- like perpetuating the "inexperienced" label/concept.
I have to reposnses to that:

• If what we have at the helm now is the face of experience, I would choose "inexperience" any day.

• Obama served 2 terms in the Illinois State Senate, plus his 3 years as a Senator in congress, that's 11 years experience. A Harvard Law degree, choosing his field of law in civil rights & doing social work for human rights, with a major in Political Science, specializing in International Studies.

Do we need our candidates to walk on water?

• By contrast, Hillary has 8 years in the Senate.
She lists 20 years as first lady as a part of her experience, but I'm sorry attending tea parties, and social events, is not the same as hammering out gritty political stuff.

I have to say one final thing- as far as the LGBT community is concerned--- I can't imagine getting behind the family that brought us the don't ask don't tell BS.

Although our State of Oregon pulled the Civil Union right out of the fire once again, it's been on again, off again enough times, I can see where just getting a good lawyer to draft up your legal paperwork is a solid concept-- but there are lots of other "rights" that are denied by virtue of the lack of the marriage "contract".

This excellent link begins to address the list.

I say Ask! Tell!

I am not delusional enough to think any one candidate is going to fix all our problems.
In fact I fully expect whomever is at the helm next will need pressure to get things done- but who will be most responsive?

Tomorrow is your day to be a *decider*. You go girl!
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