I even resorted to making a list of the pros and cons of each, as I see them, and neither outshone the other, neither had something that put them head and shoulders above the other. It came down to two things for me. Obama's appeal lying in the fact he is a new face and would bring new blood to the White House. Hillary's in the fact she's been there and has the experience of being 'intimate' (take that as you will) with the Presidency for eight years (it is also a negative in my book). It began to clear up for me when I wrote the Nader post yesterday.
It was the question I asked of Nader:
The reality is that the American people have to stand behind the candidate who has the best chance of righting the wrongs that have been committed in our name over the past 8 years. That would be the Democratic nominee. My apologies to Ralph and his supporters, and he has every right to get his name on the ballot if he can, but he must realize the prevailing situation. He must realize how precarious our position on the world stage, as well as domestically, is. He must realize how torn and tattered our Constitution is having weathered 8 years of Bush. If he loves America as much as he says he does, if he cares for the American people as much as his activism leads us to believe, he will see that his candidacy at this point could push this nation over the precipice we're balanced on. Why would he possibly take the chance at this dangerous time?
I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but just as we don't need a pretender at this dangerous time, neither do we need a neophyte. On 5 February 2008, in the New York State Democratic Primary, I will cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I believe Mrs. Clinton has the tools, the experience, and the understanding of the Presidency to be effective in the least amount of time. She has been there, from Kosovo to Northern Ireland, she was involved in the diplomacy and the negotiations. She's been working on universal health care for sixteen years, I have to believe her plan is more refined and 'ready-to-go' than Mr. Obama's. Mrs. Clinton was in Washington during Watergate and the end of the Vietnam War (when Mr. Obama was in grade school) and that experience counts for a lot.
For the same reason I cannot support an idealist at this time (though I wonder if that's what Nader is at this point), I cannot vote for a man whose experience pales in comparison to Mrs. Clinton's. This is not the time to try new things, to try and reform the system, it is the time for someone who knows the system and is able to get things done within it. The time to reform our political system is after this nation is put back on the correct course.
Some might say we've had too much of 'the system' and without reform we will never be able to correct our course. I disagree. I say Bill Clinton worked within the system and America did well. The first order of business in 2009 will be to undo the damage George Bush has wrought on the world. Political reform can come after we get our financial house in order and return this nation to its former position in the world. With the moron named Bush, we saw it doesn't take much to fuck up a country but it takes an experienced hand to repair the damage.
I believe Mr. Obama can continue to be an effective progressive voice in the Senate, there is time for him in 2016 when I will give him my vote, or as Mrs. Clinton's vice president. He will grow, learn, and understand what it takes to run and represent a nation of three hundred million people. These times are too dangerous, too critical for on-the-job training.
I hope Mrs. Clinton will take heed of the wishes of the American people, not her corporate connections, when she makes her decisions and understands the severity of the damage the Bush administration has done to this country. I hope she understands the crimes they and their cronies have committed and will at least attempt to exact a price from them for it. I hope she grasps the blow our international reputation has been dealt and how urgent it is to recover from it. I hope she can empathize with the fifty million Americans without health insurance and get them help before they are ruined financially or succumb to a disease easily treated but for the money. I hope she wants to take responsibility for our nation's part in global warming and the destruction of the environment and sign on to the Kyoto Accords. I hope she realizes how many people are counting on her, not just here but in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world.
With that hope I give you my vote, Mrs. Clinton. Don't disappoint me.