A lot of folks (including family) have asked me why I’m for Obama. There are many reasons, and I’ve gone into a bunch of them. Here’s a major one, very well-stated in the endorsement of Obama by South Carolina’s newspaper, The State:

“But we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary’s fault – but it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons’ joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication.

Sen. Obama’s campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. In a time of great partisanship, he is careful to talk about winning over independents and even Republicans. He is harsh on the failures of the current administration – and most of that critique well-deserved. But he doesn’t use his considerable rhetorical gifts to demonize Republicans. He’s not neglecting his core values; he defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity. But for him, American unity – transcending party – is a core value in itself.”

That’s a big one for me, and I have the hardest time understanding why many Democrats seem blind to it. The Clintons back in the White House (and trust me — it’s a “package deal”, as a family member replied to me when I asked why we’re seeing so much of Bill in the news recently) would lead to at least another 4 years (and possibly 8) of our recent nasty cut-throat national division. Red vs. Blue. 51 vs 49. The whole ugly package.

Enough already.

12 Replies to “Why”

  1. Amen to that. I believe Obama to be a great choice, and also believe the claims that he has no leadership experience to be disingenuous: you don’t hear the same leveled against Huckabee, for example, and there have been plenty of fine and wonderful Presidents with the same levels of experience that Obama has.

  2. You know what makes me really sad?

    Five years ago I’d have been falling over myself to get Obama elected. Now, I feel so bitter about the last election, about the past 8 years (which, honestly, have been the entirety of my political awareness), that I read this post and while I can’t find any fault with it – I still don’t have faith in Obama.

    I feel like Fox Mulder. I want to believe. I want to trust that Obama can do what he says he can do. I want to feel excited like I did after he spoke at the 04 Convention. I want to put my faith in his beautiful vision and believe that his integrity is exactly what he says it is.

    I don’t want to think that manipulation and machiavellian tactics are the only way to win. But I have this really low, not remotely noble, extremely petty desire to trash the other side. To fuck unity with a pointy stick. I have so much hate. Real, tear-inducing, rage-filled hate for the people who’ve been running our country, and I want them to feel what I’ve felt.

    It makes me sad. I miss my better self at moments like this.

  3. Good one! There’s also no doubt in my mind that he’s fantastically articulate and a wonderful orator, and not just with prepared speeches. For once, here’s a candidate who can really think on his feet, and tell you what he thinks in a very expressive manner. He’s compelling; he has presence. To me, he brings back the “wow” factor.

  4. Now, I feel so bitter about the last election, about the past 8 years

    I’ve wondered how much “payback” might drive a lot of Clinton’s support — people who want to see the Republicans have to swallow their worst friggin’ nightmare in Office.

    ….and believe me, I’m probably the most partisan person I know, so I can get behind that on a visceral level. It would totally be a slap in the face, and on a lot of levels, I want to see that.

    The problem is, I truly think that we’re on a precipice. I think that Bush and Cheney have done so much damage to the nation, that repairing that damage is more important than getting payback. We need to be united again.

    Right now, I think Obama is the only one who can do that.

  5. If Obama gets elected, I hope you’re right, because I remember how Bush Jr. ran on his “I’m a uniter, not a divider” pack of lies. And look how well that’s worked out.

    Personally? I don’t think there’s any hope for Dem’s and Rep’s to ever get along again. Their parties have become too embedded in things to ever be anything but enemies. I want to see both parties collapse, making room for non-partisan candidates to get elected.

  6. Thinking… I think I agree. I think unity is more important than revenge. Revenge is never a good idea. I’m enough of a literature major to know that. ;)

    I *think* Obama can do that better than any of the others. The problem is I don’t *feel* it. And that’s why this is a real crisis for me. It isn’t very often my negative gets in the way of my positive.

    I absolutely think that a lot of Clinton’s support comes from this same place. And I do think that she would get a lot done as president – a lot of things that I WANT to happen. But no, ending partisanship isn’t one of them.

  7. Well, the main difference was that Bush had no history of being a uniter, so it was obviously bullshit. His time as governor was not bi-partisan in the least.

    Obama’s record in the Illinois state house includes some frankly amazing gatherings of *unanimous* support for his bills across both parties, and his efforts in the Senate have been equally bipartisan. So he “walks the walk.”

  8. Personally…

    I care less about the sides getting along than I do about a lot of the policies that the Reps have implemented which need to be undone. Cutthroat or united, it makes little difference when the Dems just roll over & take it. They may be spouting hate @ the other side, but they sure don’t seem to have had any interest in an actual FIGHT FOR ISSUES for the last 8 years.

    I would like to see somebody who will fight. Preferably effectively, but PLEASE, SOMEBODY stand up & fight!

  9. Ironically, my support for Obama firmed up when I saw his “official” stance on religion. I was always a little concerned that he professed to be a deeply religious person. I posted about it on my livejournal, but I’ll repost a striking passage here:

    In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re something they’re not. They don’t need to do that. None of us need to do that.

    As you say, he walks the walk. If he can make that speech in front of his religious brethren, that says a lot.

  10. If he can make that speech in front of his religious brethren, that says a lot.

    That’s one of the things that impresses the hell out of me, consistently. He’s willing to tell people what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear. He’s willing to “speak truth to power” — for example, this past weekend he was invited to give a sermon at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church (MLK’s Church) in Atlanta.

    He took the opportunity to tell a church full of Black Evangelicals that in order to live up to King’s ideals, they needed to ditch homophobia and anti-Semitism, which is unfortunately prevalent in the community.

    Who else does that? Who else has the balls to do that?

    (you can watch the speech here on Youtube.)

  11. While I agree that we need less partisan rancor and more collaboration across the aisle, I’m not sure any one President is going to be capable of changing that at this point. Which is not to say that you’re wrong about the Clinton Mk2 presidency being a catalyst for more partisan fighting, just that I’m not sure it’ll actually get any better with Obama in office.

    But, I detest voting from a place of fear, anyway…

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