My "proclivity" [sardonic h/t to Deacon Phil] won't surprise you. As the saying goes: I'm an independent; it's just that I've never found a Republican I could vote for in the past three decades. Just kiddin'. Fact is, I'm an unrepentant yellow-dog Democrat, though "some of my best friends are Republicans." The Dems tick me off quite frequently, with their smug assumption that they can count on poor people and black people and gay/lesbian people to support them … while so very often betraying us. But I digress.
When Missouri held its primary back in February, everyone but Obama and Clinton had dropped out. Until I stepped into the voting booth, I really wasn't sure how to vote. Standing there for much longer than usual, I decided I had to go with my brain and my heart, and I voted for Hillary.
But through this long, long primary season, I have been absolutely clear that I will be voting for the Democratic candidate in November. There's no way I could vote for that smarmy McCain. [Aside: He must the world's champion Facebook/MySpace candidate. Who the hell else has 200 million "friends"? sheesh If I hear "My friends…" one more time, I do believe I'm going to puke.]
I met Hillary at a small White House gathering in late 2000. It was just one of those things. In my day job, I was involved in an initiative that she had launched, and she had a little party for us in the waning days of the Clinton administration. I was astonished at her ease and passion in talking about a subject that's fairly abstruse [preservation/conservation]. Yes, I'm sure staffers had briefed and prepped her. But she spoke as if she had been in the field as long as any of us. Her ability to get a grasp on the goals and language and nuances of our little field impressed me. She was smart and personable … and I liked her.
Hillary seems to have the mental toughness that would enable her to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the world.
I questioned myself about why I couldn't be as supportive of Senator Obama. His youth and inexperience concerns me. He reminds me a little too much of Jimmy Carter, who was fresh and passionate and promised change, but then could not deliver.
Around the office and in talking with friends, I've never been a strident supporter of Senator Clinton, nor have I taken any pot-shots at Senator Obama. I have cringed at some of the excesses that have occurred during this campaign. I wish that neither of them attacked the other. More than anything else, I think it's important that we elect the Democratic nominee this fall. Of course, I was eager to hear what the Democratic Rules Committee would do yesterday. There's a part of me that hopes it might work out for Senator Clinton to be the nominee, but I don't want it to be an unjust or disputed nomination.
All that is background to what I meant to say here.
I awoke this morning (as I always do) with NPR talking softly on my nightstand. They were giving the report on the DNC Rules Committee decision to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations, but only at half-strength, and arbitrarily awarding some Michigan delegates to Senator Obama. Mind you, I'm aware that they were faced with a Solomonic choice. They had to discipline those two renegade state parties. I'm glad I wasn't in their shoes.
What distressed me was the voices of the more strident Clinton supporters, declaring they'll either vote for McCain or "sit this one out." And I was distressed by those who were excoriating the Democratic National Party, as if the DNC were the enemy.
What are these people smoking??
If Florida and Michigan had left their primaries as scheduled, they could have had a huge, huge influence on the outcome of this election. Instead, these two states' Democratic parties tried to "leap-frog" some of the others to vote in January, in violation of the national party rules and norms. Had these two states held their primaries as scheduled, they might have been hugely influential. But they did not. They wanted to write their own rules. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
If rage needs to be expressed, the Clinton supporters in Florida and Michigan need to vent it at their state Democratic parties – not at Senator Obama or the Democratic National Party. Their state leaders broke the rules and screwed them over. Actions have consequences, and the DNC did as well as it could, I think.
I'm fairly discouraged today. I remember those old lines about the problems with the Democratic Party:
- "They form their firing squads in a circle."
- "They have a unique gift for grasping defeat from the jaws of victory."
I really, really, really wanted Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic candidate for President this year. When I cast my vote in November for Senator Obama, it will be a wistful, "second-choice" voice. But I will not stay away, and I certainly won't vote for "George Bush's 3rd Term." And I pray that Senator Obama will be up to the challenge.