Sunday, February 03, 2008

I Love Obama, but I'm Voting for Hillary

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments on my post about shifting my support from Edwards to Clinton. I also received a few emails from friends disagreeing with my position, but it's been a pleasant disagreement. With virtually no exceptions, Democrats are happy with both candidates, and the dispute is centered on which candidate would be best. Our friends in the Republican party aren't in such a fortunate position - they are facing a choice between those they hate least.

Most of the criticism of Clinton's candidacy concerns her "electability". Les provided a quotation that sums up the fears quite well - "But I heard a pitch from an Obama supporter a while back that stuck with me: He unites the left and divides the right, while Clinton divides the left and unites the right."

I don't see it that way. While it's true that Hillary has a core of frothing crazies who absolutely hate her and her husband, the true Rush Limbaugh fans are a relatively small group, and won't be voting for Obama, either. In fact, as they increase their stridency and vitriol, I think they will discredit themselves even more, and make the crucial swing voters hesitant to align with the crazies. Check out the comments in my post asking why people hate Hillary Clinton so much - it's not an attractive or persuasive crowd. (As an aside, I posted that over three years ago, and I still get commenters visiting. I'm the second site that comes up if you google "I hate Hillary", and I got a spike of traffic after her victory in New Hampshire from people googling similar phrases.)

Even if they don't frighten away all the swing voters, we have seen their playbook. They've been slinging mud at Hillary Clinton since 1992, and there aren't any more Vince Fosters that she's murdered, any more communist parties she's belonged to, or any more alien lesbian love triangles she's joined. Whatever they try to make up now will lack credibility.

Obama does not have that factor - in fact, I fear he may have the opposite dynamic. Right now, it's easy to project our hopes and dreams on the bright young man. So, when you see his smiling face or his campaign logo that looks like an organic cereal box, it's easy to feel like everything is going to be sunshine and happiness through November.

In the last election, the right wing noise machine took a war hero and rebranded him as a traitor and a coward. They took a straight-shooting Senator and made him into a flip-flopper. They are experts at it, and they are ruthless. And, if you're informed and you're honest about it, you know there is material for them to work with.

Already, the negatives on Obama are creeping upward. In fact, by some polls, his are higher than hers.

Standing where we stand, and as a liberal democrat, I see a lot to love about Obama. He's actually closer to my personal views that Clinton is. If he gets the nomination, I'll be thrilled to have him as a candidate and I will work hard to get him elected. I agree with those who see him as a fresh, clean candidate who can bring in more young voters and rejuvenate the Democratic party.

But fresh and clean isn't going to last. I fear that after facing the Republican lie machine, fresh and clean will be questionable and muddy.

With Hillary Clinton, we know who will be on the ballot in November. And we know she can win. It won't be easy, but she can win.

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Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

This country is hungry for change. Even independents and moderate Republicans are fed up with Bush, Cheney, the wars, the defecit, the right wing theocrats.

I honestly think that they are so disillusioned with their own party that they could bring themselves to vote for Obama.

But I don't think that a gun pointed at their dog's head could get them to vote for Hillary. The image of Bill floating around in the White House with nothing to do, a lot of time on his hands and easy access to The Lincoln Bedroom will force them to vote for whoever the Republican nominee is.

I'll be pulling my lever for Obama on Tuesday.

2/03/2008 5:20 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

you're wrong, Xo. You know I'm a conservative and I believe Clinton has a far better grasp of foreign policy issues. I would feel safe with her. I would not feel safe with Obama.

You're right about the Republicans in that they are disalusioned with their candidates and Bush, but you're wrong when it comes down to the reality of who we believe is best for the country. We're not stupid enough to be so hysterical over Bill Cinton's cigar that we'd throw national security out the window.

2/03/2008 6:53 PM  
Anonymous brent said...


While this country appears, indeed, to be "hungry for change", by and large, voters typically are far more inclined to vote for the status quo.

I think who wins the white house in November will be determined by the demographics of the people who end up voting. And no, I'm not talking about women or minorities.

The reality is that people 60+ tend to over-represent themselves at the polls. This is why the vote tends to go toward the status quo. Meanwhile, folks in the under 40 crowd, who most want change, dramatically under-represent themselves.

Obama has a much better chance of bringing out the younger voters who really do want change and will vote for change. Hilarly likely won't rally the young voters as well which would most likely cost the democrats the White House (again). Obama would likely rally the younger voters and have a better chance of getting into the white house.

At this point, I'll be happier with any of Obama, Clinton or McCain vs the current administration or the candidate he beat to win the 2nd term...and that's a very good thing.

2/03/2008 8:25 PM  
Blogger Ambitious Fledgling said...

"So, when you see his smiling face or his campaign logo that looks like an organic cereal box, it's easy to feel like everything is going to be sunshine and happiness through November."

You write like a poet, a funny one at that. lol So far I'm swaying towards Obama.

I'm just impressed that in my liftime I get to see the first black or female president. Now I can tell my son he can be anything he wants, and mean it. I don't know if I felt that way a few years ago.

2/03/2008 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clinton had her shot at healthcare and failed. Does anyone remember the govt shutting down because the environment was so partisan? The Starr investigation, the gate scadals, who cares her husband was impeached by Congress, I can't believe the attention span of America.

Look, I have nothing against Hillary Clinton. I think she is a brilliant strong and courageous woman. But you can't close your eyes to the past and hope the problems will be fixed by the minds who either created them or had an opportunity to solve them.

Barack Obama has a chance to ignite the brushfire. Let's give him the chance.


2/03/2008 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans hate Hillary, independents loathe her, and after the past few weeks, many Democrats are really questioning whether the Clintons are the positive duo we once thought they were.

Bottom line is there is only one way the Democrats can lose in '08, and that is if Hillary is the nominee.

Fellow Democrats: Please don't blow this election. We have waited too long. Vote Obama and let's take this country back.

2/03/2008 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Whistleblowme said...

Ahh, the anonymous expert - one of my favorite vacuums of credibility. Here's Zogby saying that your imagination isn't nearly as important as statistics - "In the Democratic race, Clinton and Obama attract roughly the same amount of independent support, Clinton with 42% and Obama with 41%. Edwards and Kucinich get just 6% of that group each. The two Democratic frontrunners are also tied among voters in their own party, Obama with 38% support and Clinton with 37%."

2/03/2008 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Zogby also had Kerry winning....

I think the polls are all off regarding Obama. Due to the demographic he's pulling from (younger) they are much more likely to not be polled (i.e. people with only cell phones). That could be one reason the polls (Zogby) all had him winning by 10-12 points in SC, but he ended up winning by 28 points. People are coming to vote for him that may have never voted before.

Personally, maybe I'm selfish, maybe this is some flaw...but if Hillary is the nominee I will not vote for her and will not do anything to help her get elected. Not after the way I have seen her run this campaign (taking Obama quotes out of context, shifting campaign slogans to account for exit poll results etc etc). I don't want another president where starting out 50% of the country automatically hates them. Hillary will definitely not win the general in a landslide...Obama could, potentially. Not saying he will, but I can envision that against McCain or Romney.

And also, I don't see the right wing machine being able to come up with much on Obama. That, and the right wing machine would be so disenchanted with a McCain candidacy that they won't care. This machine though would kick into overdrive with a Clinton candidacy.

Bottom line is, Hilary is a good candidate. She has great ideas. But this is just the wrong time. I don't want to dredge up every scandal from the Clinton years. Nominating her is not that much different that the right nominating a Bush in that it's an automatically polarizing figure which is precisely what this country doesn't need.

Obviously I'll be voting Obama.

2/04/2008 2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whistleblowme -

The Zogby poll you cite is not only outdated (early Jan.) but is inconsistent with every other poll and primary/caucus result thus far. Obama wins the independents and some Republicans; Hillary does not.

I agree with Chris. Do we really want another general election based on the tired theme of polarization? Us v. them; Blue v. Red; Liberals v. Conservatives. This country needs to move beyond this stupid, pointless narrative.

The Democratic party has a rare opportunity to truly become a big tent, majority party for years to come. Obama is the only candidate who can lead that transition.

Democrats: Let's not blow this opportunity.

2/04/2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

You claim that Clinton has the best chance of being elected, but the truth is that she is such a polarizing figure that more people will come out to vote against her than will come out to vote for her. People in the Heartland don't trust her (nor do I).

Obama is something different and I think that's what people want.

I'd vote for Obama over McCain, but probably not Hillary over McCain. I still can't figure out why people don't like Mitt Romney. I'm assuming it is his Mormon background. But if people can forgive Hillary Clinton for her being OK with her husband's indiscretions for her own political gain, I can't see why Mitt Romney's religion is an issue.

2/04/2008 10:02 AM  
Anonymous kccoug said...

"With virtually no exceptions, Democrats are happy with both candidates."

This is definitely not true. There are a lot of Democrats like myself who do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next President. If she gets the nomination, in the end, I'll probably begrudgingly hold my nose and vote for her, but I'll have to think about it. This is America - the Presidency should not be handed back and forth between two families.

Obama '08

2/04/2008 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Hilary cries again the day before a major primary. Coincidence? Calculation? It worked once...I'm just sayin'...

2/04/2008 11:29 AM  
Blogger Johnny5 said...

I'm one of Dan's friends who respectfully disagreed with him about Hillary vs. Obama. If Obama is actually the weaker candidate in the general, why is Newsweek touting how he draws in Republican voters?

Or the Republicans admit in their own rags that he frightens them more than Clinton and is more elusive to attack in a general election?

Sure, Hillary is tough and will probably fight back well, but like it or not, she galvanizes the Republican base like no other Democratic (or likely Republican) candidate will. I know Hillary will draw women voters into the fold, but they're already the most reliable Dem voting bloc, so we're not gaining much there.

The comparison of Obama and the organic cereal box is perfect, actually, but for the opposite way Dan intended. We all know the general public by and large votes with their heart and for people they like. It's not the best way to pick a candidate, but, hey, it's reality, albeit, not one that the Democratic base has seemed to recognize in recent years. I have a hard time thinking that Hillary would conjure up anything as warm/fuzzy as the organic cereal box image with average voters and I'm hoping a lot of Dems recognize that tomorrow.


2/04/2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger les said...

Interesting points abound--can this really be a progressive/left blog, with all this civility?

Just another point to chew on: while Clinton and Obama have similar domestic agendas, infinitely superior to the continued destruction of the US proised by the repubs, there will be neither attention, will nor money for domestic agendas while the Iraq Folly continues. I have little faith that Clinton intends to, or will, end that horrible waste of lives, treasure and national honor.

2/04/2008 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary cried again? Even if her tears are genuine (a big "if"), can you imagine the field day the Republicans would have in the general election? The Republican ads will be unfair, of course, but effective. Something like: "Hillary cried repeatedly during the campaign. Does she have the emotional stability to face down al Qaeda - she couldn't even face down tough questions from the American people. America is under constant threat - we cannot afford to take a chance on Hillary."

Yes, the ad will be unfair and disingenuous, but it will effectively plant a seed of doubt in many people's minds, especially men. The ad will only air once, but once is enough.

Remember LBJ's mushroom cloud ad against Goldwater?

2/04/2008 1:19 PM  
Blogger Johnny5 said...

To follow up on my earlier message, I was listening to "Talk of the Nation" on NPR today. The show was about what Republicans thought about McCain. Two self-described conservatives called in and said they were considering supporting Obama because they liked him. One said she even contributed to Obama's campaign -- the first time she'd ever contributed to any campaign. And the other said, "there's no way I'd vote for Hillary."

The writing is on the wall. Obama is the best candidate.

2/04/2008 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Dan, do the right thing.

If you love Obama, then follow your heart for once and quit trying to hedge a bet in the general.

VOTE OBAMA and in the infamous words of our great Kansas Govenor...

Sleep well.

2/04/2008 2:16 PM  
Blogger les said...

Tom Tomorrow summarizes nicely:

Sorry for the lack of embedding skills.

2/04/2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Brian Stayton said...

If Billary II gets the nomination, I will change my registration from Democratic to Independent. And then vote for McCain.

Billary II is a highly intelligent politician, and there is much to admire about her. But, even if it's not fair, she does unite the other side in ways that no other person can, other than Billary I himself. Her nomination would only cinch further right-wing rants, and those rants eventually trickle into the mainstream thought process. We can do better.

Plus, I cannot stand the dynastic aspect of her candidacy. Bush-Clinton-Bush-and then Clinton again? C'mon. There have to be better families in this country than just those two, especially when we've got Jeb waiting in the wings. We can do better.

2/15/2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger Logtar said...

I guess you will be voting for Obama now :)

6/04/2008 3:57 PM  

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