February 5th, 2008


To the Polls

Today I go to vote in the first Democratic Primary I've ever voted in.

Not because I was some "Republican" and suddenly changed. 22 years ago I became eligible to vote. I had to choose a party, because one can't vote in the primaries for any party to which one doesn't belong, I had to choose one. Back then, I was more in the middle. So I looked at the state of the world, or at least the part I had influence over, and decided the party I most wanted to have a say in controlling was the Republicans, becuase they were the one most likely to diverge from what I wanted them to do.

I failed.

This year, looking at the issues (will we recover a nation ruled by law, restrain our foreign policy, repair our infrastructure, address the growing inequity between rich and poor, start to repair our broken healthcare system, restore some checks and balances in our gov't), I decided there was no one in the Republican roster who would even pretend to care about those issues, and there were a couple of the Democratic candidates who did.

Neither of them are still in the fight today. Chris Dodd did what he could to raise the issues in Iowa, and went back to fighting the fight in the halls of the Senate. Edwards, for reasons understandable, but not completely clear, bowed out before Super Tuesday.

So I have two candidates to choose from (I could vote for Edwards, he's still on the ballot, but that delegate would have free choice to vote for whomever they choose, and that sort of advisory vote seems mostly wasted to me).

I'm voting for Obama. It's not that I think him a paragon. It's not that I think Clinton a villian.

It's that, for what I think the country needs, he's the best candidate. He's not going to overturn the things I want fixed, and make them right in the blink of an eye. He's not, though he casts himself as one, an outsider. He's in the "centrist" chunk of the Democratic Party (which is cast as "Leftist" mostly because the political action in the country [as opposed to the sensibilities of the people] has drifted to the right).

But I'm not a radical. I don't think I can get all I want in a single election. I do think that, for reasons not completely clear, he's the candidate who has the greatest sense, and promise, for a breath of fresh air. He was against the war from the start; that matters a lot. He was publically willing to buck the trend.

That doesn't mean I hate Clinton. I can say (without really surprising anyone) that I'll vote for whomever the Democrats run against the Republicans; because any idea that the present Republican Party can be trusted near the levers of power has to be seen as silly.

I prefer someone who will honestly tell me they intend to pay for what they buy (I've never understood why tax and spend was bad, and spend and borrow was good). From Reagan to the present, they've had the bully pulpit for 20 of the past 28 years. They screwed the pooch, shafted the poor, allowed business to steal from the people (directly, and then indirectly.... the Savings and Loans went under, people lost their money, and then the People had to bail them out, the Mortgage Mess is much the same... it's seeds lie in the same set of deregulations).

They got control of the House, and then went on a rampage. A child's temper tantrum wherein ancient affairs were used to hound the president, and the Special Prosecutor was allowed to change his brief; again, and again, and again.

When they got control of both branches, all that oversight went out the window. The same sorts of things in the President's past... not important. The President "wagging the dog" with "Terror Alerts" not important.

A president who signed bills with his fingers publically crossed? Not a problem.

A president who admits to breaking the law, and says he intends to keep doing it? Not a problem.

A president who tells his aids, and former aids to ignore subpoenas? Not a problem,

A president who has attorneys general who think torture is dependant on who is being tortured, and the "information we might get? Not a problem.

Have the Democrats been complicit? Yes. They have not pressed the questions, they have not pushed to see if the White House is, yet, willing to make the blatant assertion, in plain public, that the Law Does Not Apply.

But they haven't been going about saying that challenges to the asssertions that the president is above the law are undermining the nation. They've not called those who want to enforce the law traitors in all but name (when Reps, and Senators say that looking into such questions is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, that's what they are saying).

I know that can't be fixed overnight, much as I might like someone to overturn the tables of the money changers.

But we have to start somewhere. I think Obama is the best hope in the field at the moment.

I think Clinton is second best.

I think any of the republicans is more of the same, and a closer approach to the system being broken past repair.

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