I'm at a loss here.
I honestly can't figure out who to vote for in the primary early next month.
I'm torn between supporting the candidate who most closely reflects my positions, or choosing a candidate who has a real chance at winning that may be less horrible than the other(s).
It's a very tough call.
I'm gonna try to narrow this down a bit, and we'll see where we end up. First of all, I'm not happy about any of the Republicans. Even the best of them is pretty much worse than the worst Democrat in the running. Sorry all you Republicans but that's how I feel.
So that eliminates about half the field.
I'm also rejecting any potential third-party candidates outright. Fuck 'em if they're too wimpy to choose a party and work to rise up through the ranks. Besides, third-party candidates are notoriously wacky. Consider Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Pat Paulson and Michael Bloomberg if you need examples. Sorry, I just don't want to vote for any of you guys.
OK, we're down to Democrats only.
And really, did you think I would end up anywhere else at this point?
Sadly, Chris Dodd has left the building before he ever really got going. I would have easily voted for him if he was still in it. And yes, I know he's on the ballot here in Connecticut. But I'm not going to waste my vote for a non-candidate just to make a point. I want to vote for someone who has at least a theoretical chance of winning the nomination.
Joe Biden is out, too. Along with Bill Richardson. Which narrows down the field even more. We're left with Clinton, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, and Obama.
I don't think I can seriously vote for Mike Gravel. First of all, I don't buy that bullshit where his name is supposedly pronounced "gra-VELLE" rather than "GRAV-el". The name should sound like those really small stones, not some weird French word. Sorry, I just can't see voting for a guy with a name like a character from "The Flintstones".
Out of the remaining four, it's fairly obvious that Dennis Kucinich has almost no chance of winning. However, I like Dennis, and I agree with many of his views, in spite of the ridicule I endure for it.
I think Dennis acts as the conscience of the Democrat party, and we absolutely NEED someone like that in the race. Plus, there's always the remote chance that a ginormous meteor will strike the next televised Democratic debate that Dennis is unfairly excluded from, and he'll end up as the de facto front-runner.
So even though he's technically still in it, I highly doubt that I'll end up voting for him.
Now we're down to three candidates. None are perfect. In fact, they all have serious defects in my opinion. But it looks like in order for my vote to really matter, I'll have to choose from the three of them.
All things being equal, John Edwards is the one I'd probably feel the least conflicted about supporting. He's the only moderate in that field from what I can see. A lot of my friends are big fans of his. But he's not showing very highly in the early primaries and his polls are consistently floating around third place. Maybe he'll do better in South Carolina on the 26th, and his numbers will look more promising. But right now, he'd gonna need a serious boost to be a front runner.
Now we get to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both candidates are picking up loads of endorsements from many important public figures. Case in point: Ned Lamont is backing Obama while former State Democratic Chairman George Jepsen is backing Clinton. There are similar cases of many people who apparently share similar political orientation choosing differently on these two candidates. Usually for no obvious reason.
So, I'm kind of stuck here between Clinton, Edwards, and Obama. I feel that we'll do better with ANY of them over George Bush, or over any Republican currently running. But I'd prefer to actually SUPPORT someone for good reason, rather than simply vote to avoid the worst candidate.
I'll probably wait until after South Carolina before making up my mind. It ain't gonna be easy. I welcome your suggestions and reasons I should support your favorite candidate. Feel free to comment on this.
Or, who knows? Maybe that meteor thing will work out after all.
It sure would make my decision much simpler.
UPDATE: This video (via Scare from MLN) of Hillary answering a question about Joe Lieberman is an example of why I tend to not like her. In fairness, I haven't seen Obama or Edwards answer a similar question. But it tells me that she refuses to even acknowledge Joe's relentless support FOR the war and AGAINST nearly every important Democratic initiative that Bush opposes. It really annoys me.
In a recent poll from Nevada, Edwards is very close to both Obama and Clinton. (Obama is at 32%, Clinton is at 30%, and Edwards is at 27%.)
For some reason, the national media is excluding Edwards from having much national coverage, giving voters the impression that he's not viable.
I don't believe it. Considering how little cash he has compared to the other two, it's remarkable that he's running so close behind them. If everyone would just vote for him because he's the best candidate and not because they're trying to defeat Hillary, he'd win.
If you look up some recent Hardball clips on YouTube, Nader says the only Democrat he'd support is Edwards -- not Obama. (He says Obama defers too much to consolidated wealth for his liking.)
Anyway -- that's my two cents. If you're able to, I'd contribute to Edwards' campaign. Since he's accepting public funding, anything you give will become doubled. (I've given quite a bit myself.)
That's a sure way to influence the nomination process before it reaches your state. (Since my state is so late in the primaries, it's better than I contribute now than letting things get out of hand and letting the media crown Hillary or Obama before I get any say in the matter.)
I've contributed to more campaigns than I'd like to admit (none Republican), and more than you'd think (my son is working for one - for free!) I was originally for Edwards and I still like him, but my emotions run deeper: I confess, I am a Hillary hater. It would be incredibly hard for me to even hold my nose to vote for her over a Republican - that's how repulsive I find her. I will probably vote for Obama. I don't agree totally with him or Edwards, but he's the guy that can bring an end to Hillaryland, triangulation and many of the muck-ups Edwards complains about (NAFTA, etc.)
I didn't care for her much after she decided to run for senate - it just sent of bad signals in my head like: yeah, I'll stay married to my philandering husband, and breeze my way right into the senate, and then the White House.
The I read, _For The Love Of Politics_. That really made up my mind about Hill. Her aspirations to be president have been around ever since Bill ran (at least). She caused the loss of her medical proposal because, even though she had republican support for certain features, she declared it was all or nothing and went on assault anyone who disagreed. She did not write _It Takes A Village_, and never gave credit to the woman who actually crafted it. When Bill was ready to settle with Jennifer Flowers, she said no, thus prolonging the situation, until Jennifer's gang heard about Monica, and we wasted one and a many years on that and 1.5 on the impeachment (what did Bill do during that period - nada!) I didn't agree with the impeachment what-so-ever, but both Hillary and Bill have too much baggage (1) and if they're not brought down during the main election, (2) they will just lead us into more partisanship and bickering.
Besides all that, the last thing I care to hear about is Bill screwing (getting a blow-job here and there) on his wife. As a middle aged woman, I would have more respect for Hillary if she had kicked his ass out or left, and then ran for office. As it is, Bill has fooled her many times, and Bush has too. She refuses to apologize for her Iraq vote, says she "was tricked by Bush" and then proceeds to vote for the exact same thing on the Kyle-Lieberman Amendment. Give me a break!
I'll hand the nation over to someone who isn't fighting the old fights, isn't into partisanship, and who actually might listen to opposing views. We Boomer's have really fucked up this country. Let's let the youngster have a go at it. How much worse can it get?
Obama's my man!
Dutchcourage - Good points about Edwards. The MSM has been purposefully shunning him, which makes me think they have a considerable stake in either Barrie or Hill getting in. I have a big problem with them possibly having that motivation, because it really reeks of unfairness.
Vagabond - You also bring up some good arguments. Hillary has a lot going against her, but on the other hand, I can't help but think that Bill would be a huge asset as a foreign representative if he was used properly. I just don't know if she has any plans for him other than Rose Garden tea parties and White House tours. If she was elected, she'd be in a position to really pay him back for all his screwing around if she desired.
This is a good discussion. I hope we hear from more readers.
This is a tough question and I find it just as difficult as you do. Trying to select a Democratic candidate I want to support this year is not easy. I think the task is much more difficult for people that call themselves conservative.
In terms of policy ideas the differences between the three top Democratic Presidential contenders appear to be slight variations on each other. I am in the middle of the middle class and expect my taxes will increase a bit under a Democratic President. At this point “Tax and Spend” (tax and invest as I like to think of it) is better than “No Tax and Spend” ludicrous amounts of money on War. In my mind it would be more productive to light our tax dollars on fire for heat than waste them on a War that makes more enemies and invests in nothing. I am not ready or willing to have another “fiscally conservative” President spend my hard earned tax dollars like a drunken sailor. If that should happen our current deficit will sore from tens of Trillions to Bazillions and you and I will be sending our mortgagee payments to some bank in China.
Bill Clinton had eight successful years in the White house and while I am sure Hillary had some influence on her husband I am not so sure Hillary is right for me. I have major hang-ups with her. These pretty much boil down to these three points:
1. Monica. Say what you will about how the Republican exploited the personal scandal. I just could never ever get over how they dealt with it at a personal level. The fact that she so falsely stood by her man struck me as a load of crap and I know if this had happened in my marriage it’ over. To me it’s poor decision making and is almost as if she saying, “in fidelity, it is okay!” Ick!
2. Lots of haters. She is so hated by the Right the county would just become even more viciously divided.
3. WAR! Her continued support for the War is crazy. Sure she regrets lots of things. We all do. Many Democrats have not supported this war from the beginning and she did. It’s not as if she is actively trying to shut it down. I mean what does she think we voted for in the 2006 Congressional Election? Give me a break. She supported the War and I think will continue granted probably in a less aggressive way. But I bet combat patrols continue.
With Hillary out of the question for me I am left to consider Edwards and ObamaI started out liking him quite a bit. I think in a general election he is viable. I think he can have mass appeal. What has me concerned is that I do not believe other people feel this way. I would hate to have my vote be part of a split that results in a Clinton nomination. If he is in a solid second place by the times primaries roll around, I might vote for him. Clinton would have to be a distant third.
I enjoy listening to him. It’s something about his tone. The words are the same as the others, but the tone is different; calming, soothing, believable. I often wonder if he really would know how to be President. Dubbya has shown us that people without experience should NOT be in charge of the country. Obama talks a good game, but his track record is a bit short. He could be a great President and as he says, he could be an asterisk in the history books as the first African American president, who couldn’t get it done.
Great blog Bob!
I disagree with your premise that you should vote for a non viable candidate. While in the general election I have to begrudgingly condone the lesser of two evils argument, but during the primary, this is our one chance to tell the party through our votes what democrats really want. If we keep voting in the primary for people like Clinton, than to democrats it looks like we support Clinton. If Kucinich keeps getting 3% then no amount of online activism, blogging, grass roots campaigns, email bombs, and even fund raising is going to move this party back to the progressive liberal roots where it belongs.
Hi Bob...just joining the group!!
I am with John Edwards and have been since the beginning...have donated to his cause more that DH needs to know!
He seems the most honest of them all,
he speaks for the likes of you and me. We are the base of America, we
vote, we contribute, we work for a living, we sacrifice, we have families, we educate our kids, we support our towns, etc., etc.! I am
a little annoyed with Ned, but I will
get over it. I just hope he runs again and wins. He will be good for CT. Maybe joining Obama, he is
planning on using him in his own race. I still think he should have stayed with John. I can't tell you who to vote for, but I will always believe John is the best of the three...Hillary is too establishment and is tooooo close to all those DC bums. Obama needs more experience and needs to learn more about the people. He is a good speaker and should he get the
nomination...I will vote for him.
But I still am hoping for Edwards.
This is probably disjointed as I just type and put down what I think. My fellow Mass Dems would laugh at me...but I don't care.
So, I hope you will really think over your choice of a vote and do what your heart tells you...don't
trust the brain...:) Too logical!!
Best from the Northern half!!
carterman - excellent summary. You totally hit on the reasons why Hil may be bad for the Democrats. At this point, I'm really turned off to Clinton and what seems to be her naked lust for the office. I simply can't trust her.
nathan - I agree that it's important to work to include ideas like DK's and John Edwards' in the party platform, and a way to do that is to vote for them in a primary. But if my "symbolic" vote helps win the most conservative, anti-progressive Democrat the nomination, aren't we even LESS likely to get our progressive agenda implemented?
Maureen - I know that Lamont's endorsement of Obama has incensed quite a few progressives. Over on FDL, some were apoplectic with rage; how could Lamont do that to Edwards, after he supported him?
I've always felt that there's too much quid pro quo in politics. Doing and owing "favors". Too many people are out to do the thing that will most benefit them directly.
I think in this case, Ned simply examined the situation, and like many people feel that Clinton would be worse for the country than Obama or Edwards, and he made a decision on who will most likely defeat her. Edwards' numbers simply aren't that promising, and he didn't want to split votes away from Obama in a long shot. That's my guess as to why he did it. I could be wrong. (I know, it's rare for me to do that!)
I'd feel a lot more comfortable voting for Edwards if he has a significant showing in SC before Super Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens.
vote for the candidate you think reflects your views. it's the only way to initiate change going forward.
and as for carterman's Hillary/Monica problem... people stay together for all sorts of reasons. It's personal and s/he should butt out. Stick to the issues.
That said.. I find myself REALLY aligned with Mike Gravel on all the issues. I'm not sure if I should seek professional help, but he's the one I'm voting for. (yes I was quite alarmed when I came to this realization)
My thoughts: On pure idealistic policy, I like Kucinich best. As a pragmatist, I just can't see him making a significant impact on our political discourse.
Practically speaking, I think Edwards has made the best impact so far, and as long as he is viable, I will support him. To the extent that he becomes no longer viable, I will go to Obama.
Of the major candidates, I would be least excited about a Clinton candidacy, but even she is better than the best of the Republicans.
In terms of viability, as long as Edwards is getting above 15% and winning delegates in Nevada and South Carolina, Edwards is viable and should be supported.
Remember, that to get the nomination, you need to have a majority and not just a plurality of the delegates. As long as Edwards is getting delegates and neither Obama or Clinton are getting a majority, he will be able to use his power to push for a more progressive agenda.
Fuzzyturtle - Gravel? Really? Honestly, I don't know much about him, except that creepy online ad where he stares into the camera like a mental case for wayyyy too long, then he throws a rock in the pond as he walks away.
Or maybe I dreamed that. It's too weird to actually exist in our world.
Anyway, let me ask you this: who will you support if Gravel drops out?
Aldon - yeah, I totally agree with you on idealistic grounds about Kucinich. However, I do think that he makes some impact on the discourse, although the media is doing it's goddamnedest to keep Dennis out of the loop.
I also agree about Edwards, and if he manages to pull enough votes in NV and SC to be viable, I'll probably lean that way.
But if supporting Edwards would help Clinton in any way, I'd have to throw my support to Obama. I'm completely disconnected from her at this point. It's a tough decision.
I just wish Dodd was still in it. I would feel pretty good voting for that guy, in spite of his many mis-steps and the questionable influence the credit and insurance industries have with him.
who will you support if Gravel drops out? Ron paul. haha only kidding. I'd vote for Kucinich. I have to believe it does affect the platform in the end.
I just heard on ATC that McCain is billing himself as 'the candidate that can beat Clinton'. That's a pretty retarded and lame reason to vote for someone. I'll vote for the candidate that i feel represents the best future for my country.
that said.. there's no way I'll vote for any of these 'publicans. They would make Lincoln cry and switch parties.
PS Did you know Huckabee's wifes' maiden name is McCain? Creepy coincindence, right up there with him cooking the squirrel in the popcorn popper.
It is nice when you are a lousy typist that you get to follow the likes of Aldon.
What he said is exacty how I feel. I guess what we all can also agree on is ABH.
While I see that a lot of your readers seem to be leaning Edwards...I think Russ Feingold summed up my problem with him the best:
"The one that is the most problematic is [John] Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war … He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.
When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on."
That is via Ben Smith from Politico.
I also can't support Hillary, because she distorts other peoples records and statements too much. Take the most recent example of Obama's comment about Reagan. Obama recognized that Reagan was a "change" candidate. Hillary turned it into "Barack Obama supports ending the minimum wage and privatizing social security". I'm physically disgusted.
But I won't be voting AGAINST anyone in the primary. I will be voting FOR Barack Obama. I think that he is the most inspirational candidate - his presidency would be symbolic, within the US and without. That, however, should not be the sole criterion on which to base your entire decision.
I've just been looking at his candidacy as a whole. He came from "that guy who gave that great speech at that convention" to competing with and beating Hillary Clinton (near 100% name recognition) and John Edwards (who spent pretty much 6 years in Iowa). That alone speaks to his abilities in running an organization, getting a message out, and mobilizing the American people.
And he's got judgment.
Thanks for reading.
I think ABC works equally well, and it sort of rolls off the tongue even easier. But it means the same thing.
I'm finding it very interesting to observe how my personal opinion is evolving as the primaries and caucuses progress. I was sort of lamely supporting Dodd early on (see some of my videos that were critical of his actions to understand my reticence) and like I said, I'd have voted for him in our primary.
But now, as the field narrows, and having never been a big fan of any of the front runners, I'm parsing down my vague intuitions into the kind of algebraic formula that a professional bookie might use to figure out the odds on a race.
Hunter Thompson was correct in his analogy of politics to sports. I think we're gonna have a hell of a horse race over the coming months.
How on earth do any of you expect change if you can do no more than select between the candidates BigBusiness sponors and the MSM feeds you?
Then there are those "would" vote their beliefs, but will not because "no one else is".
The OP had what has got to be the stupidest reason ever for rejecting a candidate - how his name is pronouced!
That makes as much sense as when my child supported Reagan because R was her favorite letter.
Have fun explaining to your children and grandchildren how you let your country go to hell because "everybody else" was doing the same.
As for Obama - are you folks serious? He has no real plan to end the war, makes noise about Iran and Pakistan, has done NOthing in the Senate.
Change, change, change...
So, for the sake of intelligent debate, who are YOU supporting for President?
And tell me how this person will accomplish all you wish. Because if there's a candidate who will win without any contributions from big business, and will get us out of Iraq, I'd like to know who that is.
BTW, the Gravel thing was a joke.
You know, humor?
OMG Anon 1/23/2008 7:13 PM was MIKE GRAVEL.
It's gotta be so...!!
he's only got two supporters, and I'm one of them.. so it must be so!
too wimpy to pick a party? how about doesnt like either one or wants to do what will get the most possible votes?
I am also torn on who to vote for. I keep going back and forth between three, Obama , Hillary, and Edwards. I love John Edwards, I will probably vote for him, but Obama looks like he
will win , or will it be Hillary ? Glad to see someone is undecided too.
I"m new to blogging , this is fun .
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