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Standing Up and Making a Choice

obama%2Bo%2Blogo%2Bsmall.jpgWell, I've been listening to the candidates over the last year and this Tuesday is the Minnesota Caucus and that means it's time to make some hard choices. First of all I had to decide who I was going to caucus with. Four years ago I caucused with the Greens because I really didn't care for any of the candidates in the two major parties. I flirted with the idea of caucusing with the Republicans this year in support of Ron Paul. But, now that push is coming to shove, I'm going to be at the high school hanging with the Dems this year and I'm supporting Barack Obama.

Why Obama?

I've been torn, honestly, between all of the top Democratic candidates. Every online select-a-candidate quiz I took aligned me with Dennis Kucinich but I never really seriously considered throwing my support behind his campaign, even though I support his idea of a Department of Peace.

I heard John Edwards speak in Duluth 4 years ago and he really impressed me and while I like his ideals, his rhetoric has become increasingly shrill and divisive. But he dropped out this week so that solves that dilemma.

So now it comes down between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I am persuaded by Clinton's argument that she has experience enough to hit the ground running. She knows where all the levers of power are or, in a less flattering metaphor, where all the bodies are buried. The big problem with Clinton for me is the level of loathing she engenders from some people. The fact of the matter is what I call the "mom factor." My mother, who is, I think it is safe to say, a moderate Republican, would never ever ever vote for Hillary Clinton in a million years, but I can imagine she would seriously consider Barack Obama.

(Mom, I know you read my blog so feel free to weigh in and correct me if I'm wrong. Like I could stop you.)

I initially wasn't supportive of Obama's campaign. I thought it was too soon. I wanted to see him get more experience. I remember talking with people after his 2004 address to the DNC and saying that I could imagine him running in 2016 or maybe 2012. 2008 seemed too soon. But he continually impresses me with his thoughtfulness, his level-headed judgment, his ability to inspire people across lines that often divide us, and his unabashed ability to talk about his faith.

So, there it is. My personal choice. Anyone else want to share their thought processes in selecting a candidate to back?


You are right...at the present time I would never support Hiliary...but am seriously considering Obama

Woot! Score one for me intuiting my mother's thought processes. And that's not an easy thing to intuit, let me tell you.

Love the candidate quizzes. I, too, am most closely aligned with "wingnuts" in most every political race out there. However, my pragmatism almost always rules ... in some cases, it pays off (mayor). In some cases, it doesn't (Gore, Kerry).

Ok, it's very funny that I have something in common with "your mom"! I swing back and forth between the parties--I voted for Tsongas, once, and Dukakis, and Clinton (1) and I voted for Bush the first time (I liked that he didn't want to engage in empire-building--hey, he said that!). I thought about Huckabee, but I just can't see it--plus, even though I am conservative in my religious beliefs, I don't think it's always appropriate to use them as a political litmus test, plus I kinda resent my vote being taken for granted. Romney--too wishy-washy-, Guiliani seems like a jerk--too much so for the world stage;Thompson--yeah right, what was that about?; Paul (sorry) entertaining, but a nut, and although I don't like McCain's hawkish-ness, I appreciate his experience, what seems to be his decent character, and his honesty. As far as the Dems, go--I like that Kucinich could say that he saw a UFO--that is refreshing. Brett hates Edwards because he is a trial lawyer, and you know what--I can see that health care reform--which we desperately need--will not get far here if lawyers continually get in the way. I have listened to Hilary, and have tried to be fair, but in my gut, I just can't see it. I don't trust her, and she seems to be too polarizing a figure to get anything done while she's in office. And recent weeks--and Bill's shenanigans--have pretty much made me decide that she is more a product of personal ambition than of a desire to serve. I keep worrying that Obama is all charisma (Brett's opinion), but I like him, I like his attitude, and I like the fact that he seems like someone who is not completely partisan. It seems like he could accomplish a lot if he were elected. I like Mc Cain and I respect him, but in our (worthless, late) primary, I am also leaning towards voting for Obama.

Hi, Aunt Barb!



Yes, part of my decision was what has happened in recent weeks with Clinton shenanigans. Though, like you, I've tried to be fair with all of the candidates.

I couldn't ever vote for Huckabee even though I appreciate that he's willing to do something radical about taxes. I think it's a crime that I, as a mathematically functional adult with an advanced degree and a decent intellect have to go to a tax preparer to have my taxes done. That's ridiculous.

I appreciate McCain's strong voice against torture, but I disagree with his overall view of the war in Iraq.

Romney... heh... Romney... hahahaha.

I'm really torn, myself. I was going to go with John Edwards because he was strident. Frankly, I think the broad trends of the last 30+ years have been very much contrary to the interests of the great majority of Americans, and it's high time someone was strident about the situation. The fact that it was Edwards seemed a little perverse, but I was fully prepared to reward him for talking the talk.

Bill Clinton was not the end-all be-all as far as I was concerned, so I'm not particularly excited at the prospect of a Clinton restoration. I find Hillary Clinton's triangulated, down-the-middle, DLC-esque approach distasteful--and look where that got her on Iraq. On the other hand, Paul Krugman keeps reminding me that Obama soft-pedals health care, a key issue for me. Moreover, he tries to act as if a "post-partisan" politics is possible and desirable--I tend to think that what's really needed is a more energetic partisan response from the left, after 25 years of barely-opposed right wing partisanship.

Another thing that bothered me about Hilary is that I could tell that she was pandering to various groups. At this point in my life, I don't care if a politician agrees with my every opinion or not--I just want him/her to be honest. And yeah, "Big E"--what I saw about Obama's health care plan was less than exciting, but Hilary's was not enough, either. After our sojourn in Connersville, also known as "the land that insurance (and for some,even Medicaid) forgot," Brett has gone from "we don't want national health" to--"hey, we really need national health, so these people have SOMETHING. " It would have to have some needs-testing (or means-testing--I forget the word for it), and people should have the option to pay outside the system if they want to (Bill Gates can pay cash for his gall bladder and not have to wait in line, for ex.) And we would have to have tort reform. Indiana has a decent system which allows people to sue, but which caps awards (and does some other things to keep malpractice costs "liveable"--if you call 30+k per yr (no payouts and no settlements) liveable. ) ANYWAY--when I look at the various healthcare plans being presented out there, all I see is what we have now--high deductibles, not much coverage, high costs, and no drug benefits..... I don't see how that will help most people. No system is perfect, but we need a more radical change than I think anyone is proposing right now.
(off soap box)

Just curious, Leah: what do you and Brett think of Ron Paul's stance on health care?

I come from liberal Democrat roots, but I'm seriously considering caucusing for Ron Paul -- mostly because he has by far the best foreign policy stance of any of the candidates( http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/war-and-foreign-policy ), but also because my history-loving, civics-class-advocate self appreciates his old-school commitment to the Constitution of the United States and his emphasis on personal responsibility.

Of viable presidential options, though, I'd have to go with Obama. He's smart and thoughtful, and it would be nice to have four years of unifying, inspiring rhetoric for a change.

[Hey Lars -- I tried to use HTML tags for this post, but they got mangled when I Previewed. Why?]

I pay more attention to the person than the party, and it's nice for me to see other people do that, too. How could a person have a hard time deciding between Ralph Nader and George Bush? Well, it happens.

Weekend America had this Candidate Blind Taste Test this weekend in which the candidate's positions were portrayed with aliases and without party identification. It's a good thing to read or listen to. I was very smug that I could identify all of the candidates very quickly, but I'm normally smug that way.

Someone, in relation to this post, asked if I was "100%" behind Obama and I told them that programatically I was about 80% behind Obama, but I thought from a attitude, leadership, and personality perspective he was the best choice for the country right now.

Actually, Charlotte, I looked at the link and thought his ideas made a lot of sense. I know Brett is in favor of collective bargaining when it comes to Big Pharma. And he is right when he points out that the govt will probably screw up a national health system.....After the election, he should use the attention he got with his campaign to push his health care ideas--sheesh, he's a dr--in TX! He knows more than a bunch of lawyers do abt it!

And Lawrence...I was gonna suggest you use Turbo Tax...I do taxes on it and it's pretty simple...and maybe cheaper than an acct...but I don't remember if it does state taxes, and I DO remember the scary MN tax form you posted abt....!

Just wanted to post that, in the Indiana primary, I did end up voting for Obama. Brett, on the other hand, voted for Hilary! He went to see a rally at one of the hospitals he works in, asked Chelsea a question abt health care and was impressed with her answer. He is also trying to figure out how we can swing a Prius. He's starting to worry that he'll eventually be a latte-swigging, IMac using, tofu-eating, Ed-Begley-Jr wanna be.

Oh, he does like tofu, too.

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