Friday, February 01, 2008

Thoughts on the Democratic Debate

I hesitate to even write this.

The 2-person Democratic debate at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles was strange. I really missed John Edwards and there was a constant awkward feeling of anxiety as I watched Clinton and Obama, wondering when one of them was going to have a blow up.

It was quite civil. As they pointed out, there really isn't a lot to distinguish them at this point. So what does it boil down to? How do we decide who to support? Is it based on personality? Is it just a hunch about the one we believe will govern better? And for those of us who are never satisfied with a candidate's liberal credentials, do we support the one we believe will be more liberal once in office?

Frankly, I'm shocked at my own conclusion. I'm actually leaning towards Hillary Clinton. There was a time not so long ago when I would have refused to vote for her if she were the nominee. Perhaps I have come to the accurate realization that we need anyone we can get who isn't like Bush. I suppose that's compromise.

But, I was impressed with her in the debate, and it's not the first time. Sure, she doesn't represent "change" in the sense of a Washington outsider, but neither does Obama -- and honestly, if either of them really believe in change, they can try to bring about that change regardless of their Washington connections. And on that note I say good friggin' luck, because we still have a stubborn congress to wrassle, not to mention the lobbyists and special interest groups who absolutely will continue to exert influence.

I had to ask myself some difficult questions last night. All things being equal, which candidate would I prefer to see making history? A black man or a white woman? I couldn't answer -- it was literally a toss-up. I listened to them speak, and while I thought Hillary came across as somewhat more forceful and self-confident, that's not necessarily enough to sway my opinion. Besides, when Obama is on a roll, and he was several times during the debate, he can be just as impressive.

I decided to look at this from a slightly different perspective. When I strip away the element of skin color, all things being equal, would I rather have a man or a woman in the White House?

Ah. That made a huge difference and that is why I am strongly leaning to HRC. I honestly believe the best hope for any real change in the next administration is to break away from the patriarchal institution which has afflicted the highest office in the land since the first president. And that thought actually gets me far more excited than the possibility of us electing the first (half)-African-American and maintaining the patriarchy.

This is merely a snapshot of my feelings at the moment and of course are subject to change between now and election day. And I will eagerly vote for either one when the nominating process is complete.

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