Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hillary Or Obama For President?

Until recently, I was leaning, as a matter of course, in favor of Hillary for the next President of the United States. It's not because she's a woman, although the idea of a woman finally being elected to lead the country fills me with excitement and a delightful sense of feminist glee. I've been a supporter of hers because she's a smart, progressive feminist who has significant political experience and because I believe she could repair some of the damage that Bush has done to the country, both on the domestic and foreign policy fronts, during his past two terms in office. With Hillary, I feel like I know generally what to expect from her, and I'm confident it will be 1,000 times better than Bush - which, granted, is not saying much because anything short of a right-wing war-monger (wait, that sounds familiar) would be a vast improvement on the current political situation.

I say that I've been leaning towards her "as a matter of course," because, to be honest, until recently I had not been paying all that much attention to how the election process was progressing on a detailed level. I caught a few debates, noted with mild satisfaction that Hillary was leading in many of the polls, was aware that Obama was sparking more and more positive attention, and was comforted by the complete absence of any viable Republican candidate. I was mildly satisfied and a little curious about what the future would hold if we finally elected a woman. But, I was not excited. I was not focused. I had not looked closely at Obama.

Last night, I saw Hillary's speech after her win in New Hampshire and I was underwhelmed. Maybe she was exhausted, but for whatever reason, she failed to inspire me with either words or passion. Her eyes were so lacking in intensity, she almost looked drugged. She smiled and pumped her arms a few times, but overall, looking at her body language, she was singularly uninspiring. I don't remember anything about what she said other than that she was "grateful" and that in New Hampshire she had "found her voice."

That brought me to a screeching halt. I'm all about women finding their voices, but I expect someone in Hillary's position, with her significant political experience and campaigning for the presidency, to have long since found her voice. I want her strong, clear, and filled with purpose. I don't want her "finding her voice" in the 11th hour like some poor little babe that's been lost in the woods. What does this say about the voice she's had up until now in the White House and in the Senate? And, if this is part of her whole strategy to appear more human by allowing herself to tear up and become relatable as a woman, I think it's another example of how that strategy is misguided. Either she has passion, or she doesn't. Either she is honest and forthright with her beliefs and convictions or she's not. Either she's a fighter, or she's not. Personally, although I found her quite believable and likable during the "tearing up" moment, I don't need to see her cry. I need to see her fighting spirit.

This morning on NPR, I heard Barack Obama speaking about the results in New Hampshire. In addition to being inspiring in terms of his political vision, commitment to positive change, and his ideas for the future, Obama is a candidate who has shown his fighting spirit over and over again, and he has no trouble expressing his voice. Obama has less experience than Hillary, he also has less political baggage and undoubtedly less people he owes something to in Washington. Hillary is more of a known card, Obama is more of a wild card. He has the potential to be an incredible leader that could do truly amazing things for this country, both domestically and in the world arena. He's articulate, smart, passionate, and he appears to have integrity. He also appears to be mobilizing voters and recapturing the imagination of many people who started tuning out around the time everyone started talking about cigars and dress stains and then fled politics altogether in despair and started planning their retirement in Canada, when Bush was elected to a second term.

Obama has unquestionably captured my interest, and I don't think I'm leaning towards Hillary at the moment. I'm more in the middle between the two of them. For a change, quite curious and a little excited about how all of this is going to turn out.


sammy b. said...

I think she might be playing up this whole "babe in the woods" thing because, for some reason, showing more vulnerability seems to have appealed to New Hampshire voters, particularly women. Go figure.

I agree that so far there doesn't appear to be a viable Republican, but give it a few more weeks. I think Giuliani might surprise some people.

Buttercup said...

Giuliani?! I believe he's going to spend the next few weeks hiding out in FL. Plus, he picked up the phone for a call from his wife DURING a press conference. A completely pathetic attempt to look like a famiy man, I guess. It appears that all efforts to look more human and vulnerable backfire when staged to such an extent.

Please Sammy B, for the love of all that is holy, don't tell me you're going to vote for a Republican!

Starshine said...

I watched Hillary's speech last night, too. At first when I heard her talk about finding her own voice, I though the same thing as you...shouldn't she have found it, like a long time ago? But then I tried to hear what she was saying in context:

“I want especially to thank New Hampshire, over the last week I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice.”

I think it was an attempt to thank the people of New Hampshire for sharing their views with her. And as a candidate who wants to represent the citizens of America, she found her own voice in the voice of the people. In other words, her voice and the voice of the people are one, since she wants to represent Americans and not just her own agenda.

Even so, I can see your point. It will be interesting to see who wins the democratic nomination. Whether it is Hillary or Obama, it is an exciting time in American history to see a woman and a black man as front runners for the democratic nomination.

As far as republican candidates go, Mike Huckabee has been inspiring me. I'm actually looking forward to see who surfaces as the front runner in both parties. I'm staying open and will definitely consider the issues when I vote. It is always a privilege to elect my political leader, but I feel a much more serious responsibility to vote in this election than ever before. It really matters.

Sammy b. said...

Don't panic yet, Buttercup. Whether I vote republican or democrat in the general election depends on how the primaries turn out. I'm voting in the republican primary this year because I feel strongly that Rudy is the best candidate in his primary. If he doesn't get the nomination, however, my vote is up for grabs from either party.

As for the phone call thing, I don't really know what happened because I only read second hand accounts of it. But Buttercup, please, cross him off your list based on the issues, not because one campaign maneuver out of a million came across badly.

Holly said...

I've found myself asking the same question--Obama or Hillary? Repeatedly, the question came into my mind. However, I did more research on the candidates and I came to an answer--Neither. That's right, neither! I don't like or agree with what they have to say and just because the media is in love with them, doesn't mean I have to be. I picked former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel. I love his progressive ideas, but of course, he's third party, he's the next Ralph Nader. But can we change the assumed idea that voting third party is throwing away a vote?

I hope so.

No Nonsense Girl said...

I pray for a democrat president :) That's all that matters IMO. ;-)

wordnerd said...

BC...where are you? we miss you!!!

Starshine said...

Yes, BC...we miss you!!! :)