Saturday, February 9, 2008

Caucus Away

Today Washington State is holding Caucus' for both the Democratic and Republican parties. We also have a primary election on Feb 19th. The Republicans assign half of their delegates based on the caucus and half based on the primary. The Democrats assign all of their delegates based solely on the outcome of the caucus. For them the primary election is just a beauty pageant. In case you were unaware, I identify myself as a Democrat. So, if i want my vote to count I must participate in today's caucus. I have never lived in a state that caucused before so this will be an entirely new experience. I don't know what to expect. I will let you know how it all shakes down. Matt will miss all the excitement because he is in L.A. and there is no provision for absentee caucus' except for religion or military duties.

Because my roots are deep in conservative Utah Mormon territory, many of my readers identify as Republicans. You guys can stop reading this post now if you want. I am going to lay out the hows and whys of what I plan to voice at the caucus today.

I think all of us democrats suspected that it would come down to a Obama v. Clinton race. While I admired Richardson and Edwards I just couldn't see them reaching the buzz level of the biggies. They were mostly ignored by the media and didn't get very much face time in the debates. So, here are my (greatly abbreviated) thoughts on Obama and Clinton.

My gut feeling all along has been to lean away from Clinton. Why? This business of Presidential dynasties has got to stop. We are not a banana republic. In the last debate she was asked about that and she said in this country we are all judged by our own merits and that is what she was running on, not those of her husband. Whatever. That is like asking a jury to strike a remark from the record. Doesn't mean they never heard it. That said, I still wanted to give her a shot based on what she had to say. I do think that she has something to offer in the way of experience. I feel that the policies she puts forward are well thought out and take into account what she has learned over the years. Take healthcare for example. She failed spectacularly when she put forward her plan as first lady but she tweaked and learned and moved forward with a revised plan. I also agree with her thoughts on the economy and immigration. In the last debate where the candidates were allowed to speak w/out time limits her carefully thought out ideas moved beyond sound bites into plans I could really get behind. That said, I am having trouble with her inability to own up to her votes to give W carte blanche on the war. And she also wasted a bunch of time in video game legislation when, to my eye, the walls were falling down all around in regards to all the big issues.

And Obama?
Well, the reality is that he and Clinton are not so different in policy. It's all in the minutia. His plans seem more like "elect me" soundbites rather than Clinton's more thought out road maps. Does that matter? I don't know. We all know that when presidents, senators, representatives, etc, get elected things never go as they promise in elections. It's not usually due to lies during the campaign. It is simply that the system is divided, complicated and fraught with lobbyists that it seems impossible to make any forward progress. He is less experienced that Clinton but I believe that he is smart enough to learn on the fly. (please, please, please, let us have a smart president on this next go around - I just can't deal with this "aw shucks" good, ol country boy shtick anymore.) But when he speaks - Oh when he speaks! He makes me want to be a better citizen. He makes me want to help others. Over the last 7 years I have wondered what happened to the country I love. Why have we become mean? To those who are different, to those who need help? To those who are living in different cultures? I know, we were attacked but our response has been black and white and this world and our country are painted in every shade of grey and the rainbow. When Obama speaks I believe that we can be better. I believe that we can lift up those who are struggling and reach out to the world with a broader mindset. I believe that we can attempt diplomacy before bombs.

So what does it mean to me? Clinton has experience and carefully thought out plans but she also comes with baggage and she is a divisive character in U.S. politics. Can she really help stitch this country back together and repair the damage done to our position on the international stage? And Obama, he is smart as a whip but I am not sure he is ready for what lies ahead if he is elected. In the end I have decided to vote for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton lacks the ability to inspire and unite. With the baggage she will bring to the White House I don't think she will be able to help us return to the country I miss. Barack Obama may not be as experienced as Clinton but I believe his learning curve will be short. In the face of all the problems in the world and at home, the power to inspire seems more important than the minute details of policy. If he inspires a move toward unity in our fractured blue/red country and inspires a renewed respect from the other countries of the world then we can all begin to work together as we move into future.

I want to BELIEVE again.

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what can you do for your country."

"My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

President John F. Kennedy


dolphinlady said...

I supported Obama at the caucus in Toledo (Prescott precinct). The Hillster has lots of baggage and can't take criticism (aka silly pimp remark). The Republicans will come out in full force against her. Scary.

Obama is inspiring, intelligent, and can work with people. When he speaks, he says "we" and Hillary says "I". JFK said "we" alot too. I too want to believe in America again.

I think might be the missing Michelle on my paperwork for Prescott. I got volunteered for my precinct but it was a fun experience. I hope it was for you too.

Michelle said...

There was some confusion about my precinct. I thought I was supposed to be in Prescott too but when I got there and looked at the maps I ended up on the edge between drew's prairie and veness. Ended up in veness when it was all said and done.