Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pursuant to minimum forethought and deliberation befitting the obvious, I am breaking with no particular tradition whatsoever to enthusiastically endorse the nomination of

Barack Obama for President of the United States, 2016.

My feeling is that he should actually be ready by then.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to do with the much more qualified, extremely intelligent, and thoroughly tested Hillary Clinton, her lack of comparable oratory skills notwithstanding. I’d compare their records to make my point, but, for all intents and purposes, Senator Obama doesn’t have one.  As for his argument that he’s been opposed to the war from the very beginning, while Senator Clinton has not, please refer to my piece entitled “Whoops” (February 9, 2008). If you’re thinking about voting for Senator Obama because some poll shows him a few points ahead of Senator McCain, “were the election held today,” ask yourself if you would bet your life, or your country, on the accuracy of that poll.  Polls are often incorrect.  More to the point, the election isn’t going to be held today, but over eight grueling campaign months from now.  Compare the candidates’ records.  Ask yourself what skills and experience a President needs to be effective.  Make up your own mind, no matter what the polls may suggest.One last thing…  I’d like to assume that black American voters might prefer Senator Obama because they sincerely believe he’d make a comparable, if not better President.  I’d like to assume that, but will forgive some of them for just plain wanting some of their same color in The White House – to which, I’ve got to say, it’s about time.  Thing is, I’d like to make the same argument for all those women out there who would like, once and for all, to put an end to any lingering sentiment to the effect that there are some things they just can’t do because they’re women.  If you believe Senator Obama is more qualified, vote for him, absolutely.  But if you think Hillary Clinton is at least as qualified as Barack Obama to be President, well, vote for her and put an end, once and for all, to any doubt about the abilities of your gender.  Senator Obama will run again in 2016.  Could be a while before another woman, as qualified as Senator Clinton, is this close to being President.


4 responses to “Endorsement

  1. In an ideal world race and gender should play no role in selecting a presidential candidate. Therefore I would urge all voters to vote for the best candidate regardless of their color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. You seem to endorse the idea that if both candidates are equally as qualified women should vote for Senator Clinton. But that only reinforces the problem. I’m sure that some blacks and some women do vote for Clinton and Obama respectively because of their race/gender. That’s a shame. But so is using their race/gender as the deciding factor in an otherwise evenly matched battle. I won’t endorse that.

    As far the polls, I agree with you that sketchy electability data regarding an election many moons away shouldn’t impact our decision in the primaries. I don’t trust polls that say Obama matches up better against McCain. But I no longer need any polls to make that assessment. Truth is Obama is more popular among Democrats, the much coveted Independents, and even some Republicans (aptly dubbed Obamacans). Look at the VA primary results. Independents, the key to the general election, favored Obama over Clinton by a three to one margin (or thereabouts). For better of worse and for reasons that I don’t fully comprehend Clinton is a polarizing figure.

    Finally, and this is just a guess, but I would bet that in 2016 you wouldn’t support an Obama nomination. If it really is only experience that he’s lacking, then Hillary doesn’t fit the bill either. She has never served as an executive and has served barely more than one term in the Senate. She has half the experience our current President had (someone whose business and gubernatorial experience, by your standards, would seem well prepared for the job). But you still find her worthy to be President. It’s okay not to like Obama. Lots of people don’t and about half the country won’t come November.

    Thanks for providing a forum for wordy birdies like myself.

  2. Always a pleasure. Two things: Neither has gubernatorial or corporate management experience, but Clinton has had more practice, directly and indirectly when her husband was President, getting things done in the Federal government. Obama talks about changing government while he’s in office, a promise that only unlines his naivete. I assume our government will be more or less the same over the next 8 years, and ask who can be more effective in that context. Second point, I disagree with your logic. If two candidates are equally capable, and you can accomplish a meaningful, important social objective by voting for one rather than the other, it’s illogical and irresonsible not to vote that preference.

  3. 2 small points

    1) No two candidates are ever truly equally capable. One is better.

    2) Let’s assume for the moment that the candidates could somehow have the same abilities. Then you say it would “illogical” not to vote for the candidate that would help achieve an important social objective. Ok. So which would the greater social objective be. A women president or a black man president? Look around. Since Reconstruction count the number of black senators versus women senators. Count the number of women governors versus black governors. Tell me the last time a black man was on a Presidential ticket. Women are grossly underrepresented on Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and most other nexuses of power. But if, as you suggest, we should try to achieve a social objective, why not go for the more progressive goal? Who’s to say which is more progressive? There’s no real answer. Both groups have faced unfair prejudice.

  4. Good stuff, ej. Guests always get the last word. Stay tuned. I’m looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

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