A Weekend at the Races
Shifting from the essentially trivial to the profoundly important, after much hemming and hawing, a fair amount of reading around, and continued tracking of the primary trail, I'm officially casting my lot with South Carolina victor Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President. I don't think Hillary Clinton is the Machiavellian demoness that she's sometimes (read: often) made out to be, but I have been extremely unimpressed with her rhetoric and her mystifying decision to afford her husband such a prominent (and increasingly aggressive) role in her own campaign. Beyond the distastefulness of their behavior this week, I just don't like the omens of insecurity, recklessness, and swift reflexes toward antagonism that these choices embody. (I'm also talking about that cynical and retroactive "Let's count those Michigan delegates after all" announcement that she made last week.)
What these behaviors say to me is, she's panicked about whether she's going to be elected, and therefore highly provoked... while, for all of Hillary's "Day One" allusions to preparedness and pragmatism, Barack is the one who (to me) speaks, debates, and operates as though he's thinking about holding the office as much as obtaining it. I appreciated that Guardian article that ModFab linked to as yet another index of why neither Hillary nor Barack wins the Flawless Liberal Award, and his voting record should be scrutinized as thoroughly as hers or anybody else's. But as much as I still believe that Hillary is for change and Barack is experienced, and as hard as I'm working to avoid succumbing to mass-media pitches, I trust more in his longer view than in hers, and my old doubts about the Clintons as tacticians and as judges of character have resurfaced. Hearing Frank Rich spell out with galvanizing force and precision what a lot of us have worried about for weeks or months was also a big kickstart in finally getting me to commit.
What I think about John Edwards holding on is still less clear to me. Frankly, I don't understand the protocols of a Democratic Nominating Convention without a pre-given anointee well enough to grasp the mechanics of "leverage" or "king-making" that Edwards might be affording himself if he can actually recruit enough delegates in the remaining primaries to be any kind of a force. But meanwhile, I'm so convinced that, given the choice, Edwards voters would flock to Obama over Clinton that I kind of wish he'd bow out while he can still accomplish something big for the rival he clearly prefers. A thought that considerably exceeds my own credibility or wisdom, but if I'm not going to speak off the cuff here, where am I going to do it?