Saturday, March 29, 2008

Political Moment

Yesterday, I was listening to the end of the Rachel Maddow Show, which is on Air America. (I listen via podcast.) Have I said lately how crazy I am about her? She's smart and funny, and while it's not strictly the news, her show keeps me informed about the goings on in the little country from wence I hail. Rachel reminds me of lesbians I did activism with back in the early Nineties in NYC, which is probably because she is one of those lesbians who was doing activism back in the early Nineties in NYC.

Anyway, in the third hour of the show, which is really just the last 40 minutes or so of the podcast, she usually leaves to do a t.v. thing and David Bender shows up to take calls. I have a total man crush on Mr. Bender. He's gay and he's really smart. The gay thing is neither here nor there, but he's an even-thinker and he's fair minded. And he's got a great radio voice.

The question he asked yesterday was: "Has your opinion of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton changed in the past few months and if you support one of them and the other gets the nomination, would you support that person?"

Since I get the show about twelve hours after it airs, I can't call in. So I'm sharing my views here. And I have a sports analogy to sum the whole thing up! So this is a Political Moment. If it might possibly offend you, you should probably leave. If not, read on.

Of course most people know that I like Obama. When this whole mess started, I didn't like him any better than I liked Clinton. I voted for a third person in my NY state mail-in ballot. Then I decided that I like his ideas and the feel of him better than I liked Mrs. Clinton's ideas and feel. Now I'm getting to the point where I can't stand her. I want her to drop out. I think she's doing more damage than good to the Democratic party. She seems really self-serving. I gladly voted for her for Senator in NY. And I was a big Bill Clinton fan. I liked him throughout his eight years in office. I missed him when he was gone. But now, he's pissing me off. I hear the things he's saying and I think, This is how my parents feel about him. Now I know why people hate him. They need to both get out of the spotlight and preserve whatever good feelings people still have about them. Do some charity work. Spend time helping the poor.

Second question: Would I vote for Hillary if she were the Democratic nominee? Well, as my friend Pat Wisewoman used to say, "There's yes, and there's hell yes." Hell yes. I don't like her and my sports analogy will give you some sense of what I think of her, but I'm on the Anything-but-McCain wagon. To quote many people, electing McCain will just be a third Bush term and I really don't think the world can take that.

Sports analogy time. It's boxing. I'm picturing the three big candidates in the boxing ring and this is how I see them. Of course, with a bent towards Obama, I see him as peppy and energetic. Perhaps he's a little inexperienced, but he'll give it his all and do his best to win. And he's smart. Maybe not something you see in a lot of boxers (maybe I'm stereotyping) but any situation is helped if you're smart.

I see Clinton as trying to win, but ready and willing to pull out a beer bottle, break it on the edge of the ring and do whatever damage she needs to do to come out on top. She is vicious and mean spirited. I don't think she plays fair and she's desperate. (I guess that's how it goes with feelings about someone you used to really have great affection for. The pendulum swings both ways.)

In this analogy, McCain is Muhammad Ali. He's old and demented. Like Ali, McCain was a young energetic fighter, but I see him as a bit doddering and not really there. He's been hit in the head too many times, and giving him command of anything but a walker would be a huge mistake.

And as a bonus, I'll tell you where Ralph Nader fits into this sports analogy. I see him as a crazed teenager hidden in the rafters with a shotgun. He had a lot of promise, but he's wasted it on being crazy and he's now an official nut case. There's no way he's going to win. He's just going to do as much damage as he can as he goes down.

I heard a woman say that if Hillary is not the nominee, she is going to seriously think about either not voting or voting for Nader. At the risk of offending, I will say that anyone who votes for Nader is an idiot. Voting for him, or not voting, is like voting for McCain. If these Bush years have not convinced you that another four years of Republican rule would be a destructive mistake, then you deserve another four years of a destructive mistake. (Problem is that it would mean the rest of us living through that mess.)

I will end by saying that my father and his wife truly believe that if Obama (or Hillary) is elected, God will say, "Enough!" and come down and take His people home. (Logically, you'd think that would make them vote for Obama.) They're sort of obsessed with the idea of the rapture and End Time Theology. As you can imagine, thinking like that makes communication difficult.

I like to think of myself as an apple that has fallen far from the tree.

Political moment over.


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Anonymous said...

Andy, if you keep talking like this I will vote for YOU for president.
Thanks for writing what I was thinking.

Andy Baker said...

Thanks, Alexandra! Glad to have some kindred souls along for this frightening ride.

WonderMike said...

Yes, yes, and HELL YES!!! I started out as being slightly more for Obama but excited that I was having to choose between a woman and an African American man. Wow! But Hilary has completely lost me with how childish her behavior has been during this whole journey. The straw that broke the camel's back was the HISTRIONIC attack on Obama's "theft" of a phrase! My god, how petty and desperate can you be. Smart is good, agressive is probably necessary, but vicious... you lost me. I'm voting democratic, but I hope it's for Obama.

Menchuvian Candidate said...

This was truly an excellent post, Andy. I'm kind of in a similar position in having started out supporting a third candidate, then leaning (heavily) toward Clinton, but now, I'll admit I'm pretty much on the fence. I don't like a lot of what I hear from Camp Clinton as it pertains to the actual contest, but I still have greater confidence in her as president. But, yeah, a lot of what was formerly enthusiasm has become distaste.

Hell, yes, I too will vote for either, but as it builds up to that day, I find myself increasingly alienated not by Obama himself, but by his supporters. Amongst those people I see, it can feel almost like bullying-like, well, no, you can't be a cool kid if you support for Hillary. When I take that in consideration with the free ride he has gotten in the press on truly substantial issues, I just can't take the leap.

Similarly, if I look at the criticisms of Hillary, and from what camps they (largely) either emanate, or are perpetuated, I can't quite abandon her. I'm not all the way to "an enemy of my enemies is my friend," but, man, a lot of the most distasteful people in the media universe show up to peck at her campaign's alleged corpse.

Sorry for the rant; one can get so hungry to speak one's piece.

Susan said...

Well, I don't usually comment on political posts, but you've summed up, almost, my views on the three candidates. Maybe with a little less bias toward Obama. This is a tough one and I haven't really made a decision yet. Perhaps the VP decision will help. BTW, love the baby hat.

Eric & Tony said...

I would vote for either Clinton or Obama -- anything other than 4 more years of Republicans in the White House.

Sentator Clinton's tactics don't offend me. Maybe because I'm a lawyer. But I like her attack dogginess. The Repubs (specifically G. W. Bush and the Rovester) are the masters of dirty politics. Not that we should stoop to their level, but we want to win, right?

One problem that Democrats have is that we can be too nice/forgiving/fair -- truthfully, I love that about us, but it doesn't help on election day.

And I don't care for the media focusing on how Clinton should drop out. They are virtually tied yet we always expect the woman to make the sacrifice for the good of the man.

That being said, I find Obama inspiring and will whole-heartedly support him if he is the nominee.