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On Endorsing…

[ 35 ] October 31, 2007 |

I’m not ready to endorse any candidate for the Democratic nomination. I was leaning heavily towards Obama (I went to an Obama rally in Lexington last month, and it was fantastic), but his moves on Social Security and his campaign more generally hasn’t impressed me. I’m now re-thinking John Edwards; he has until now struck me as a candidate who perpetually punches under his weight, and I don’t like the idea of having to nominate another southern white man, but this southern white man also happens to be the most progressive legitimate candidate in the race, so it’s hard for me to discount him.

And then there’s Hilary. This is the thing about Hilary; I firmly believe that she would win a knife fight staged between the Democratic contenders, and that’s no small consideration. I also believe that she hates Republicans more than any of the Democratic candidates. I think the Republicans know this, which is why they fear her more than any other Democrat. At the same time, she’s clearly the most conservative major Democratic candidate. I should say that I don’t take all that seriously arguments that she can’t win in the general election; in general I think that the appeal of candidates in the general isn’t as predictable as we’d like to think, and specifically I think that Hilary’s strengths will be just as important (and perhaps more important) in November 2008 as her liabilities.

But for now I’m undecided.

Comments (35)

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  1. ligedog says:

    I do have to say that if, and to me its sometimes a big if, she wants to Hilary will be able to get things done in a way that no other Democratic candidate would. Hillary has a machine behind her, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. I read the whole Caro LBJ biography a couple of years ago and I thought wouldn’t it be great if you had someone like that as the democratic candidate. I think Hillary might be as close as we’ll get (though, to be honest, I’m a little bit of an Obama mark myself).

  2. beckya57 says:

    One of us is channeling the other. You summed up my dilemma on this subject perfectly.

  3. sglover says:

    I’ve got an easy answer for why Hillary Clinton will never get my vote: Dynasties are unacceptable.

  4. geoduck says:

    Iowa just moved up the caucus to Jan 3rd, which I think will help Edwards, but I’m not sure to what extent.
    I’m mostly for Obama right now. But I agree with your analysis about his campaign and social security.

  5. DocAmazing says:

    I’m actually somewhat enthusiastic about Edwards, and not wholly put off by Obama, which for a guy like me is saying a lot.
    Hillary is still Nelson Rockefeller in a dress, but whatever.

  6. Erik says:

    sglover–I guess, but dynasties have always been a part of American politics. Are you opposed to the Kennedys? This is after all the second father-son team to be president and there was also a grandfater-grandson pair. Dynasties dominating particular states are extremely common–how many centuries have the Freylinghausen’s been leaders in New Jersey?
    I’m not sure that the dynasty issue alone should be enough to disqualify someone. Seems rather silly to me.

  7. djw says:

    For some godforsaken reason I was watching the debate tonight and Obama sounded OK on social security. Hopefully he’s smartening up.
    On another note, I really really hate Tim Russert. Also, Dennis Kucinich said he’d bring back respect for International Law just a few minutes after announcing he’d cancel NAFTA, and Richardson appears to have Clinton’s back.

  8. I’ll vote for any of the three in the general, with considerably more excitement than I had for John Kerry in 2004, but Clinton (if I’m going to call the others by their last names, I’m doing it with her, too–she’s the only Clinton in the race) is definitely sitting third in my primary rankings.
    But I have little fear of her as the candidate in 2008. I think that this election will be, as 2006 largely was, a party election, not a person election, and the public in general looks around at the shitpile the Republicans have made and says “time for someone else.” The top of the ticket isn’t going to be all that important come 2008.

  9. ligedog says:

    If Hillary gets elected she has a much better chance of actually enacting policy. Unlike her husband she has an experienced team of people who understand how Washington works. Her opponents, with the possible exceptions of Dodd, Biden and Richardson do not. I think Hilary has the potential to do great things. Will she? That’s harder to tell.

  10. DJA says:

    If Hillary gets elected she has a much better chance of actually enacting policy. Unlike her husband she has an experienced team of people who understand how Washington works. Her opponents, with the possible exceptions of Dodd, Biden and Richardson do not.
    You say this like it’s a good thing.
    How Washington Works is deeply, deeply fucked up. Voting for someone who will not only perpetuate that, but elevate How Washington Works CW to canonical levels, that is… that is… that is like actually voting for Bob Shrum. For pope.
    Anyone but Hillary. Seriously.

  11. Don Quijote says:

    I also believe that she hates Republicans more than any of the Democratic candidates.
    And that she believes that vengeance is a meal best served cold.
    It’s her sole saving virtue.
    Also, Dennis Kucinich said he’d bring back respect for International Law just a few minutes after announcing he’d cancel NAFTA,
    Is there an exit clause to NAFTA? and how is using it not respecting international law?
    And do remember that he never voted for the clusterf*ck in Iraq, how many other candidates who were in office at the time can say the same?

  12. BSD says:

    The best part of her responses last night were that EVERY ONE included a jab at the entire republican party. More than any of the rest (though Edwards has an idea, and Obama is learning it with every b->s replacement), she is fully aware that the Monsters are in charge across the aisle.

  13. in general I think that the appeal of candidates in the general isn’t as predictable as we’d like to think, and specifically I think that Hilary’s strengths will be just as important (and perhaps more important) in November 2008 as her liabilities.
    I really wish someone could convince me of this. Seriously. It would make me feel a lot better.

  14. Uncle Kvetch says:

    the most progressive legitimate candidate in the race
    I beg your pardon?

  15. ligedog says:

    It is a good thing! I’m not saying she will do good things I’m saying she has a lot more potential to do good things. Whether you like it or not the system is what it is in Washington and to get anything accomplished you have to work with it. That’s the real downside to good intentioned outsiders.

  16. lemuel pitkin says:

    “Endorse”? This silliness has got to stop. A blog is not an advocacy group or elected official or even a newspaper editorial board, it doesn’t represent anyone. It does not make endorsements.
    You may not know yet who you’re voting for, you may not know who you’re supporting. But you ain’t endorsing anybody.
    I think it was Andrew Sullivan who started this ridiculous practice, which is argument enough against it. Altho he at least had the excuse of not being able to vote.

  17. jonnybutter says:

    I’m now re-thinking John Edwards; he has until now struck me as a candidate who perpetually punches under his weight, and I don’t like the idea of having to nominate another southern white man, but this southern white man also happens to be the most progressive legitimate candidate in the race, so it’s hard for me to discount him.
    Why is discounting him the default position? The ‘punches’ comment is rather vague, but I sort of know what you mean. I don’t agree (he is a much different candidate this time), but I can at least see what you mean. But not voting for the most progressive candidate in the race who also polls very well for the general because you don’t like the ‘idea’ of nominating another southern white man is simply stupid. Sorry. No other word for it. That sort of thing is what makes Republicans laugh with delight at Dems, and deservedly so.
    I think the Republicans know [that she hates them more than the others], which is why they fear her more than any other Democrat.
    Just completely wrong, both analysis and conclusion. They would love to run against her. Several Republicans have ‘endorsed’ her, for god’s sake! They fear Edwards most, and probably Obama second-most. Republicans fear a candidate who says what a majority of people are thinking: the System in Washington is rigged. They fear a truly ambitious Democrat who will push for serious health care reform, campaign finance reform and other things which are very hard to reverse once they are enacted. Edwards scares Republicans, and some Dems, too. The idea that the GOP – the GOP!!! – is shaking in its boots because HRC hates them is just preposterous.

  18. MILS says:

    DJW,
    why do you hate Tim Russert?

  19. jp says:

    I don’t understand this “Republicans fear Hillary” mentality. Hillary Clinton is every Republican’s wet dream! There is no other Democratic candidate that will fuel both Republican turnout and Republican donations like Hillary will. She is the only chance Republicans have of retaining the White House, however small that chance might be. But, more importantly, a Hillary candidacy will give Republicans all the ammunition they need in the fight to take back the House and the Senate in 2008 or 2010.

  20. bdub says:

    no love for the Dodd?

  21. Rob says:

    jp,
    I should clarify; they’re not necessarily terrified of Hilary the candidate, but they do (at least most that I’ve talked to) seem utterly terrified of Hilary the President, in spite of the fact that she’s the most conservative candidate.
    As for Dodd, he’s great and all, but his candidacy isn’t going anywhere. I suppose that the same could be said for John Edwards, but you have to draw a line somewhere…

  22. calling all toasters says:

    I’m just glad you’re off Obama. He’s the Dem least likely to win in the general and he doesn’t have enough of a track record to know what we’d be getting. The whole Obamamania thing was just puzzling to me.

  23. jonnybutter says:

    As for Dodd, he’s great and all, but his candidacy isn’t going anywhere. I suppose that the same could be said for John Edwards, but you have to draw a line somewhere…
    No. See you in IA.

  24. djw says:

    I’m pissed at Dodd for carrying water for Tim Russert on the drivers license non-issue.

  25. jp says:

    Rob,
    That makes much more sense. When you say Republicans, you mean people that tend to vote Republican. When I say Republicans, I mean people that tend to make the people that tend to vote Republican vote Republican. The Karl Roves, etc.
    And that’s why a Hillary candidacy terrifies me. Hillary Clinton is the quarterback in every play in the Republican playbook. (Ugh, I used a sports metaphor, shoot me.) Remove her and the Republicans have nothing for the next 8 years unless they rebuild. And, boy, could we use a rebuilt Republican party!
    She is the Republican fear candidate. For whatever reason, even after 8 years of lies and deceit, fear (even the completely irrational kind; or maybe especially the irrational kind!) is still the best weapon the Republicans have. How it still works is beyond me, but it does!
    The big question, I guess, is should you not vote for someone, even if you believe in them, because of the repercussions that vote may have? I would say, generally, no, unless there is a viable alternative. Edwards and Obama are both viable alternatives.

  26. lemuel pitkin says:

    Also, can we stop with Edwards, Dodd, Obama, Kucinich …. and Hillary? The fact that her campaign does it too doesn’t make it any less sexist. (Well, ok, maybe a little less, but still.)
    And if you are going to use her first name, at least spell it right. Two ‘l’s, people.

  27. DJA says:

    Whether you like it or not the system is what it is in Washington and to get anything accomplished you have to work with it.
    Or, you know, fight to change it. We don’t, actually, have to accept How Washington Works as canonical law, even when it’s not to your advantage. The GOP didn’t.

  28. Uncle Kvetch says:

    jp’s got it right–the Repubs are praying for Hillary to be the nominee. And beyond them, the chattering classes would like nothing more than to relive the halcyon days of the late ’90s, when they could devote endless hours to sniffing Bill Clinton’s underpants in the guise of “punditry.”
    Once Hillary is the nominee, the agenda is in place. The election is 70% about Hillary (castrating roboto-bitch or smug liberal nanny-stater? or maybe BOTH?), and 30% about her husband and his superheroic penis. And that’s it. Be prepared.
    Fast forward to June ’08: The Republican candidate comes out in favor of stuffing stray puppies into trash compactors, as a means of demonstrating America’s resolve in the face of the Islamofascist menace. Chris Matthews devotes that evening’s program to the crucial issue of whether a woman, with a vagina and everything, can really have what it takes to make the tough decisions America faces on the issue of puppy-compacting.
    “Some women, perhaps, but certainly not one with cooties,” Andrew Sullivan was quoted as saying.

  29. aimai says:

    Uncle Kvetch nails it. Depressing, isn’t it? But don’t forget they are ready willing and able to do *exactly the same thing* to every democratic candidate. There is literally no one they can’t fit into their “wussified femalified islamofreakified” script. No one.
    aimai

  30. merciless says:

    aimai is right. I used to be against Hillary because of the inevitable bloodbath, but now I don’t think it matters. The republicans would love to run against her, sure, just as the msm would love to have her to bash around for a good long time. But it doesn’t matter which dem gets the nomination; the swift-boating attack dogs will pounce, and it will be ugly.

  31. Uncle Kvetch says:

    With all due respect to the ever-fabulous aimai, and to merciless–nope, sorry, no.
    Yes, any D candidate next year will be pummeled by the Beltway Kidz. Pretty-boy Edwards with his fancy house and his jacuzzi lawsuits; Obama the Halfrican with his madrassa indoctrination, etc etc etc ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
    Nonetheless, I still maintain that we’re talking about a whole ‘nother order of magnitude when it comes to Hillary.* Like her husband, she has this uncanny ability to focus all the rage and resentment and just plain looniness of the Batshit Brigade like a laser–directly onto herself.
    Anyone still holding a shred of hope for an election year with at least a modicum of intelligent discussion of the issues (a group in which I don’t include myself, btw) has to see that HRC is doom.
    *You make a good point about the “Hillary” issue, lemuel, but I use the first name advisedly: when I say the entire campaign will be about Hillary, I mean it will be about “Hillary,” not about “Senator Clinton.” Such is our discourse.

  32. aimai says:

    uncle kvetch,
    I know you are right, I’m just fighting to keep my spirits up. I will say one last thing on this (not last thing on this, of course, for other people just for me) I think that there are plenty of people who won’t vote for Senator Clinton but I also think a lot of *them* simply won’t turn out to vote. God I hope so, anyway. Because I think all the dems will regardless. So who are we talking about, here? If its the 28 percenters they are never turning out to vote for any dem no matter what. And if its the rest of the country I think there is a huge amount of “let this be someone else’s mess, I don’t even want to be involved” among people who voted for bush before and who aren’t going to now.
    aimai

  33. Dr Zen says:

    It has to be Edwards. I can’t believe this is even debatable for someone who thinks they are “progressive”. Clinton is a centre-rightist and Obama, meh.

  34. jonnybutter says:

    It has to be Edwards. I can’t believe this is even debatable for someone who thinks they are “progressive”.
    Weird, isn’t it? The GOP gets the lion’s share of the blame for the damage it’s caused this country and the world, but the opposition party here is almost half-responsible as well. This attitude towards Edwards, who sets the tone for the whole Dem primary campaign and is, fortuitously, both the least equivocal and most electable, really tells the tale (‘But we like only bands with cello players‘.). The US has a fatuous, silly opposition party, which is why it has been no match for determined reactionaries.

  35. this southern white man also happens to be the most progressive legitimate candidate in the race

    Does that mean you regard Dennis Kuchinich as not ‘legitimate’? I think he’s the ‘most progressive’ of the Dems by far… so much so that some consider him unelectable.

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