Where to vote and why I’m voting. First, here’s the how to: a link to your poling place where you go to vote. Do it early and prepare some zingers for the exit polling people. Tell them that you are most motived by both the war AND the economy, because they’re the same issue. See if that tiny bit of complex thought registers in the media.
Here’s a primer on Virginia’s primary from the Daily Press.
Below, you’ll find my thinking about the two races (with a surprise ending, stay tuned).
Although I am diametrically opposed to the Republican platform, I’ve tried my best to pay attention to their machinations. McCain has it locked up, they say. Personally, I’m having trouble seeing how that happened. At age 72, he’s really not very inspiring anymore – barely able to belt out a slogan, much less a stump speech. His days of pushing a reform agenda to the forefront of the Republican party, really seem behind him. I mean, considering all of the backsliding he has done under Bush, who is John McCain anymore? Under his presidency, I think we’d see many of the same faces in his cabinet as we have currently (Iran-Contra insiders and their ilk). McCain no longer projects a strong vision, following his misdirected party, rather than fighting for his principles from within. So, a vote for McCain, is a vote for more of the same, in my opinion.
Now, I understand if people have been voting for McCain this time around because it’s finally his turn and maybe the right wing feels guilty for not having given him a chance while he was young enough to survive a term as president. It’s sort of a tribute send-off in a general election that Republicans know they deserve to lose. So, letting McCain take the hit makes sense, because he’s the ghost of Republican past; what could have been. Why waste Romney on a losing election when his perfect tan still has as decent shelf life? Now, I don’t know how all of them got the memo on this strategy, but it seems like they’ve made the best play, while using this primary season to rearrange the identity of their party. I’m afraid, that McCain’s landslide represents the perspective that everything is going hunky-dory and so, why not vote for the most familiar guy who’s proven he can carry water for party ideologues.
Back in 1992, I worked on the Clinton campaign in Fairfax County and wore a campaign shirt that said, “Clinton: The Cure for the Blues.” Ever since then, I’ve been slowly backing away from Bill, feeling sorry for Hillary, and wondering if the Democratic party would ever find its spine. Now, I’m glad that Hillary Clinton has transcended the debacle of her public domestic snafu, and took her place in the political history of the US as a leader, independent of her two term president husband. And I’m not one who would begrudge her the presidency because of her relationship to Bill. Nonetheless, Hillary is not the future of the Democratic party. She is too far removed from her own ideals (in bed with big pharma and insurance companies, etc), and her public beatings at the hands of the right wing mark a low point in American politics. Let’s not go there again (as we most certainly would see if she headed up the Dem’s ticket).
When Obama/Clinton showed up in Richmond this weekend, Barack had taken the momentum from Hillary with three Saturday primaries and I found myself ready to post an Obama yard sign out front. I didn’t attend the event. Obama-mania has been a feeling that I’ve felt coming on since Edwards’ campaign failed to get off the ground. I dunno how to put my finger on it, but Obama seems to have a big picture about politics that I don’t think you’ll find in the other candidates. He can and does see disputes from both sides, uses his arguments to straddle the “two Americas” that Edwards talks about, and seems most equipped to repair the damage done by the two Bush terms (and maybe Bill’s mistakes with wellfare reform, etc). Hillary Clinton was too much a part of too many past messes for me to feel excited about her.
The media likes to say that Clinton is “polarizing”, but if that’s true, then Obama is too. Obama/Clinton’s positions on most issues are about the same. So, what’s the difference? It’s almost as if the media just learned this word. Clinton isn’t polarizing. She just inspires negativity (although, I don’t share the common knee jerk reaction about her). Obama is more of a diffuser and a motivator. Not only are these better leadership qualities, they will deliver a bigger margin of victory in the general election. And isn’t that what this whole primary business is about? Putting together a winning ticket?
No. It’s about ideas. Vote your hopes, not your fears, right? That’s what the Nader campaigns of the past always said. The 1000 plus people who attended the Nader speaking event at the Byrd on Sunday would probably attest that he’s got more ideas for changing America for the better than both Democratic candidates put together. But, who’s gonna work with him at this point? As much as I like the guy, I’d rather him focus on informing the grassroots where people can trickle-up their awareness to BOTH parties. In other words, “Ralph, please try a new strategy for the 2008 election.”
Speaking of ideas, here’s one that may be a little half-baked and over-simplified, but I believe it all the same:
RICHMOND NEEDS BARACK OBAMA.
Why? The City of Richmond, a Democratic party stronghold, is divided on racial lines, lives in two (if not more) separate universes, and we desperately need to pull together and find common cause. A black democrat for president can be a catalyst for collaboration – not a panacea – but I believe Barack Obama’s campaign for president can make a difference in the racial dynamic of Richmond. Imagine if Richmonders were all saying “Yes, we can” instead of looking sideways at each other.
Call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Now that the results are in and Obama has won Virginia with 65% of the votes (more than Clinton, McCain, and Huckabee combined!): I am going to compile some of my favorite local analysis right here: