January 30, 2008

And Edwards is out, too

NYT: Edwards Drops Out of Race for President

If I could still plausibly claim to be a citizen of the Republic of California, then I would have a serious dilemma on my hands. Clinton's policies are slightly more left-of-center (not to mention concrete) than Obama's, but I'm worried about what twenty-seven years of continuous governments by two families (the Clintons and the Bushes) will do to our democracy. (Think about it: assuming Clinton is elected and re-elected, a large percentage of eligible voters will have never lived under a president who was not named either Clinton or Bush. Already the youngest voters in this year's election were born in 1989 and 1990, after George HW Bush took office, and the oldest twentysomethings can't remember life under Reagan.) On the other hand, Obama's calls for `hope' and `change' are at best meaningless and at worst Democratic pandering to conservatives taken to the highest possible level. (As Glen Greenwald put it, `in almost every significant case, what "bipartisanship" means in Washington is that enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree'.) People are pissed off at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi for doing precisely what Obama is saying he'll do if elected, and yet Reid's vice is Obama's virtue. This doesn't make any sense.

Really, California Democrats are, IMHO, faced with a choice between two very mediocre candidates. Fortunately, as Indiana does not hold its primary until more than three months (May 6) after Super Tuesday, the nomination will have long since been secured de facto by the time I get to vote.


Unknown said...

I've never understood why it would be a problem that we could have 28 years of Bush/Clinton presidencies. Everyone talks about this like it's obviously a bad thing, but it's not obvious to me. Sure, perhaps it's symptomatic of a defect in how we elect our presidents (in fact, I know it is), but that's not an argument against the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Yes, she's where she is today in part because she's a former first lady, but that's totally irrelevant (or should be) when you're staring at a ballot asking you to choose either Clinton or Obama. The intricacies of how Clinton's name got to be on that ballot don't matter. The question is only which possible outcome do you prefer given these alternatives.

You also tend to hear a lot of loose talk about political dynasties and such. That's fine if you're simply talking about particular high-powered families that contribute many individuals into the political sphere (like the Kennedys and Bushes... the Clintons don't really qualify, in my opinion... at least not yet). These dynasties are intrinsically interesting, I feel, but the use of the word "dynasty" is sloppy and loaded. No one would argue that Hillary Clinton has a claim of right on either the presidency or the Democratic nomination in accordance with the ancient law of dynastic succession. No, it's just that her visibility and fame, which she gained in part through association with Bill Clinton, have given her certain advantages in our electoral system. Is that bad? Maybe, but again, it's not an argument against her candidacy.

I would be glad to change the electoral system in some way to reduce or eliminate this so-called dynastic advantage. But that's something I can do in a voting booth on Tuesday. I will vote for Obama because I prefer him to Clinton, specifically because I think he has a better chance of winning in November. I won't spare even a fraction of a second on how Clinton's marriage to a former president may have helped her to reach this point, because it's not remotely important to the decision that I'm going to make.

Unknown said...

Third paragraph, second sentence should be amended to read "But that's not something..."