Sunday, February 10, 2008

Talking Politics with Mom

Yesterday, my mom told me that she was sending out my request for an absentee ballot. The Ohio primary is the first Tuesday in March and it seems like it's actually going to mean something this year. I'm having a tough time making a decision and thought I'd ask my mom for her opinion.

Mom: I don't know. I'm torn. I like Barack, he talks great, but he has no experience in foreign affairs.

Me: Yeah, that bothers me too.

Mom: Hillary....she's smart and experienced and I think she'd do a great job, but she's got that damn alabaster of a husband hanging around her neck. Oh...I've got the wrong word, don't I? It's some alba word isn't it?"

Me (after recovering from laughing): Albatross is the word you're looking for. I regret to inform you, but this conversation is going on my blog.

Mom: John! She's going to put me on her blog. Now everyone's going to think I'm stupid.

For the record, I don't think my mom is stupid. She's brilliant in her own idiosyncratic way. She managed, whether she realises it or not, to summarise the key problem underlying this choice: perceived electability.

Barack is great, but he's light in the experience department. John McCain will hammer him into a small cube and eat him for lunch. Hillary is great, but she's heavy in the baggage department. John McCain will be able to put his feet up and await his coronation while the 527s machine gun her from a flotilla of swift boats.

But I think electability is a trap. Electability gave us John Kerry. The problem is that the two candidates are tied in my head as surely as they are pretty much tied in the delegate count. So what to use as the tie-breaker? I wish I knew.


At 10 February 2008 at 13:30, Blogger Kaycie said...

I am still mourning the fact that John Edwards couldn't get the momentum he needed to stay in the race.

Barack is a wonderful speaker. He's inspirational and motivational. That reminds me of a preacher more than a president. Hillary is, well, Hillary. She's smart, sharp, clever, and much more experienced. She is also hard to like. I'm probably revealing my politics a bit too much here, but to me Bill is a positive. I like the idea of him in the White House again, even in a supporting role. He was a good president. Yeah, he's a bad husband. But he left this country in the best shape we had been in for years. And Dubya promptly wrecked it. Damn. Don't get me started.

At 10 February 2008 at 15:20, Blogger Fence said...

I've no clue which one I'd go for, although I'm not a Bill Clinton fan, then again should who Hilary is married to matter? Plus I do have the whole there really isn't all that much difference between politicians mindest.

At 10 February 2008 at 16:02, Blogger Dave P. said...

Bill Clinton is an ass who did more damage to the progressive movement in the US than one hundred Karl Roves. I don't want him -- or any of the Clinton posse from the 90s -- anywhere near the White House ever again.

Obama routinely outpolls Hillary vs. the likely Republican candidates. The last two polls conducted -- by CNN and Time over the past week -- have Obama beating McCain, while Clinton ties. The big difference is that independent voters will take McCain over Clinton, Obama over McCain.

For me, Obama is clearly the best candidate, it's not even close. Unfortunately, I don't have any faith that he'll get the nomination.

At 10 February 2008 at 16:20, Blogger -Ann said...

Kaycie - I supported Edwards in '04 - I really thought he had the best chance of winning in the general election. But this year, the angry populist thing just wasn't working for me.

Fence - I think there's a fair bit of difference between politicians. Sometimes, there's even a difference between a politician from year to year. :)

Dave - I'm not sure I can agree with you 100% on Clinton, but then you are much better educated on it all than I am. My big concern (and I know we had this conversation in 2004) is Supreme Court justice nominations. In November, I would vote for a ticket of both your dogs before I would consider going third-party or Republican.

At 10 February 2008 at 17:11, Blogger Terri said...

Good luck with that. Maybe you should move to Africa. In Africa it doesn't really matter who you vote for - the votes will be re-counted until the right party wins.

In my humble opinion I reckon Hillary would probably do a great job. After all, isn't that what everyone said when her husband was 'President'.

At 10 February 2008 at 17:35, Blogger Col said...

I voted for Obama. I really actually like Hillary Clinton-- she's smart and I like her politics, for the most part. And a woman President would be truly awesome, huge! But she and Bill have some baggage, not the least of which is their ruthless competitiveness and drive to win at all costs. She polarizes people. She'd do great as long as long as the Senate and House are Democratic. But can you just imagine the crap if the Republicans control the legislature? They'll be digging dirt, trying to impeach her from Day 1. Who needs that?

Obama, on the other hand, seems like a coalition builder. He's likable, smart, and poised. I think he's a good leader. I actually don't think experience matters that much in the Presidency, despite Hillary's claims to the contrary. If he gets the right people on board, he'll be fine. Barack for President, Hillary for Secretary of State.

At 10 February 2008 at 17:53, Blogger laurie said...

two words: JOHN EDWARDS

oh wait it's too late

well, then, you have to go with whoever has the best health care proposal and actually gives a rat's ass about the middle class and the poor.

and anyone who would say hillary is bad because they don't like her husband is using fallacious reasoning.

argumentum ad hominem, i believe it is....

At 10 February 2008 at 18:39, Blogger Dave P. said...

Edwards would make a great cabinet member, but he wouldn't be able to lead a bipartisan coalition the way Obama will. And he has far too little experience as a legislator or as a leader of social change.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Hillary -- her husband just happens to be one of them. Off the top of my head, I don't want Hillary in the White House because of: her war votes; her endless respinning of her war votes; her painful triangulation on every issue and general lack of courage and vision on issues; the despicable manner in which she has run her campaign (the way in which her campaign has brought up race, going back on her commitments on the Fox debates and the Michigan/Florida primaries); the level of polarization she would inspire; the desire to avoid an American Dynasty of two families dominating the White House for so long; her many years as a WalMart board member where she didn't say squat about their war on labor unions and the working poor; and my desire to move past Baby Boomer presidents who fight the same tired wars over and freaking over again.

Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. We can't mess this up.

At 10 February 2008 at 20:17, Blogger -Ann said...

Terri - I'm afraid that sort of shenanigans could happen if neither Obama or Clinton have enough delegates when it comes time to the convention. I'm suspicious of super-delegates and concerned that the Florida&Michigan delegates are going to cause trouble.

Col - Very persuasive. Thanks for the clarity.

Laurie - The temptation to make a bad joke using the word fallacious is nearly overwhelming. Good thing I'm strong-willed.

Dave - Thanks for the clarity. Those are all good arguments and things I wasn't really thinking about.

At 11 February 2008 at 02:43, Blogger Kaycie said...

Personally, I thought the arguments dave p. was making against Edwards were against Obama the first time I read it.

The problem a lot of people, including myself, have with Obama is his lack of experience. Whether or not he can actually lead a bipartisan coalition is obviously not proven.

And I'm sure it doesn't matter a whit, Ann, but I don't agree with dave p. regarding Bill Clinton and I would argue with you about how well educated he might be about it. In my opinion, he's flat wrong.

My great fear is that the Democrats, once again, don't have an electable candidate and we'll end up with a Republican in the White House.

I might actually move to Canada this time.

At 11 February 2008 at 03:20, Blogger Dave P. said...

"and I would argue with you about how well educated he might be about it."

This is pretty funny given the previous comment about ad hominem arguments.

As for how educated I am about these things, I get paid to talk about them and coincidentally, just covered the effects of the PRWORA legislation in depth this week. How about you?

At 11 February 2008 at 12:55, Blogger mjd said...

I want to read this post so I will be back. I cannot find the comment section for Fun Monday so I am wondering, "Did you close comments for Fun Monday or am I blind?"

At 11 February 2008 at 17:01, Blogger Faye said...

Ann, I can't thank you enough for having the courage to write this post! I've been twisting in the wind about whether I'm going to get into this fray on my blog because I don't want it to be a rant-hole. But I definitely have opinions--about the weight of the candidates, who I'd want to be commander in chief, and the way broadcast media is trying to shape the debate.

There's an old folksy saying in my part of the country: "Kissin' don't last but cookin' do!" That's the dilemma for Democrats right now, in my opinion. Enjoy the lovefest or get stirrin' in the kitchen? I hope we choose the cook!

You all come over to Summit Musings later in the week--probably Wednesday--and join my conversation.

P.S. I hope John Edwards makes the right decision today and decides to cook rather than kiss up.

At 11 February 2008 at 18:00, Blogger Kaycie said...

I'm sorry to have offended you, dave.

On second reading, your education on the matter isn't what I take issue with. It's your opinion.

Just for clarity, I referring to your sweeping remarks on Bill, not Hillary, Clinton.

At 11 February 2008 at 19:04, Blogger Sandy said...

I'm not here as a minority Republican, either. I can't find a place to comment on Fun Monday!

Terrific song. Reminds me of my daughter!

At 11 February 2008 at 20:12, Blogger Alison said...

I can't comment on your FM post, so I will here...

thanks so much for the help w/youtube..I was doing it right but the box with the red x threw me I know!!

great choice of song from your dad, I am sure my parents would choose that song also!!

At 11 February 2008 at 22:37, Blogger laurie said...

if you get a chance, go to the new york times website and read the two blog postings by Stanley Fish.

(you can find his blogs here.

he writes about the strange but passionate phenomenon of hillary-hating, and i think he makes some extremely valid points.

At 11 February 2008 at 23:44, Blogger Faye said...

Ann--good for Laurie--I was just going to route you to the two blog posts by Stanley Fish as well. The first one (last week) was totally mind-bending--prompted over 300 comments. What was significant to me was the support that individuals express for her in the face of all the Hillary hating.

At 12 February 2008 at 02:51, Blogger Sweet Irene said...

We in the Netherlands find this such a difficult choice too, because we see the merits and the drawbacks of both.

So, we go back and forth between the two and can't makeup our minds and it isn't even our election.

I think in the end I might go for Obama, but I hate to pit him against John McCain, who's a real republican of the old guard, although anything is better than Romney.

We all want a democratic president, that much is sure and I know that, if Europeans had any say in it, it would become a democratic president.

The problem is, we don't have any influence. Nada, zilch, nothing.We stand in frustration and look on. Just as we did with the first election of George Junior. God forbid we should have scenes like that again!

At 12 February 2008 at 05:18, Blogger -Ann said...

I'm beginning to see the sense in the bromide about never discussing politics or religion in public. :) But I do so love the marketplace of ideas theory of free speech, so long as people can agree to disagree at the end of the day.

I'll go see what the Fish guy has to say.

As for my FM post, I have no idea why people couldn't find the comments link. Blogger sometimes punishes me for my non-standard template.

And Faye - I look forward to visiting your blog later this week.


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