Thursday, March 20, 2008

Isn't That What You Women Want?

I had a conversation a few weeks back (and forgive me if I've already told this story...I've been hit on the head) with a coworker from Nigeria, which obviously makes him black. Okay, not entirely obviously, since I'm sure there are white people in Nigeria, but he isn't one of them.

So my Nigerian Coworker says to me, "Well, Evelyn? Are you supporting Mrs. Clinton?" and I said no, I was leaning more towards Obama. Then he said, "I don't understand you women. You all say you want a woman in the White House, but then you don't support her."

I asked him who he was supporting, and he said Mrs. Clinton. So I got to say, "I don't understand you black people. You say you want a black man in the White House, but then you don't support him."

Clearly it's not as simple as that. I do feel a little like a gender traitor by not supporting Hillary, but a lot of that visceral guilt is at least offset by the fact that at least I'm not lining up behind yet another white guy. Although I did originally like Kucinich, it wasn't because I believed that his commie views had a chance in hell of inspiring the electorate to shuck off the last eight years of creepy reactionary totalitarianism; instead, I supported him with the same hopeless affection I'd feel for my son in a pick-up game against Michael Jordan. "Come on, Dennis! You can score at least once before you get crushed!"

But now, in the race between Hillary and Obama, I'm supporting Obama. Partly because I think he's a straightforward guy with sound ideas and a willingness to see more than one perspective, and partly because I just have Clinton fatigue. I think Hillary would probably make a fine president, and I'll completely support her if she's nominated, but I'm just tired of the Clintons.

I know more about the Clintons, both professionally and personally, than I do about members of my own family. I know the fairytale story of Hillary's misguided beginnings as a Goldwater Girl before her political epiphany. I know the story of the Clinton's troubled marriage, their unstoppable political ascendancy, their endless scandals, perceived scandals, and non-scandals. Since yesterday, I now know about Hillary's secret association with a right-wing religious group that combines bible study with shadowy political manipulations (And how secret can it be if I know about it? I'm not exactly roaming the halls of the Capitol building swapping dirt with the power elite).

The national media has spent the last 16 years studying and dissecting the Clinton family, teasing out personal facts about their lives that might titillate conservative radio hosts and sell a few papers. Want to know how many days a year the Clintons sleep in the same bed? How about the history of Hillary's hair? Bill's flings? It's all there, in respectable media outlets like the New York Times as well as the tabloids. Since 1992, so many whispered allegations and conspiracy theories have emerged that it's become somewhat of a family joke in our house. But even assuming that 75% of what's written about the Clintons is either political spin or outright lies, I'm tired of hearing about it. I'd like to have a fresh start, someone new in the White House who at least has a chance of passing some progressive legislation.

I have no doubt that were Hillary Clinton elected President, the Republican party would start a four year long campaign of smear tactics, stonewalling, false accusations of wrongdoing, and various other acts of political mayhem that would paralyze the government and keep Bush's insane policies untouched for another term. And boy-howdy, can we not afford that.

Whether she would be a skillful President is a moot point. She has virtually no chance of being an effective one. She'll never be able to create bipartisan cooperation on any issues. She is the poster child for partisan gridlock. If Hillary Clinton were to propose legislation that said that hacking up puppies with a machete was bad, I have no doubt that the Republican Party machine would be able to produce 15 experts in puppy-hacking that would repudiate her, while implying that she actually has a sordid secret association with an underground Satanic puppy-murdering group that wants to increase your taxes and abort your grandchildren.

We don't have time for that foolishness. We need someone in the White House that can actually get something quickly moving to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, heal our battered economy, restore the Constitution and regain our respect in the rest of the world.

That's the second best thing Obama brings to the table. He's not Hillary Clinton.

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