My guess is that those who gravitate towards writing blogs are politically similar to those who are journalists or those who have chosen to go into to into the entertainment field. (actors, screenwriters, musicians, etc.) When you choose to go into a creative field, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you are someone with a large ego—someone who thinks that their talents need to be consumed by a larger audience. By being filled with such an ego, these creative types are less likely to want to be part of a large group or subscribe to some type of religious or political dogma. When you are of the persuasion I listed in the sentence before, you are usually pretty liberal politically.
I have come to these conclusions because it not only seems to be a pretty logical step, but also because I fit the hypothesis I have offered up. Where I differ with most of my creative, outsider types is that I have not fallen in love with the candidacy of Barack Obama. Before I get into why I haven’t fully embraced him, let me discuss how I believe the majority of the blogosphere, mainstream media, and Hollywood left has given Obama a mostly free-ride during his meteoric rise.
There has been a steady clamor from the traditional and non-traditional media that Hillary Clinton has run a bad campaign. I disagree, as Barack Obama appeals almost perfectly to the 3 largest groups of Democratic primary voters. Far-left liberals, White elites, and Blacks. The first 2 groups have always had a tortured relationship with the Clinton’s, as Bill’s Presidency was marked by many moderate politcal positions. Along comes Barack Obama, a Black candidate for President who can assuage the White guilt for the first 2 groups, while nearly getting almost every tally from Black voters. Considering that these 3 groups are the most powerful blocs on the state and national level, it is not surprising that Obama has dominated the states that have caucuses.
The 2008 Democratic campaign started off perfectly for Obama, as Iowa is a caucus state which borders Illinois. It is not a state like most in the Midwest, which is economically-driven by manufacturing jobs and thus it’s economy isn’t doing that badly, as Ethanol has been a big boon for Iowa coffers. Obama also had the advantage of having John Edwards in the race, at the time, who I think took more voters away from Hillary. (I say this because the majority of populist voters have went Clinton’s way since Edwards dropped out of the race.) When Obama won so decisively in Iowa and Hillary finished 3rd, it was a sign to Black voters that if he could dominate in a lily-White state, he could win the Democratic nomination. After Iowa, Hillary’s support in the Black community went in free-fall, to the point now where Hillary is getting voting totals from Blacks like Dubya received versus Kerry in 2004.
The mainstream and non-mainstream media has spent most of the Democratic campaign being much tougher on Hillary. I understand this, as she was seen pretty invincible by the political experts and in the role of front-runner, you generally will take the most shots. Not until the race was for almost over, Ohio, did the mainstream press start to really dig into Obama’s past and expose some issues about him that will definitely be key facets of the General campaign. Before this though, the MSM pundits and blogosphere spent most of it’s time ripping the Clinton’s for running a horrible campaign.
Ever since the first time the topic of would Hillary Clinton end up being the next President, I was always of the opinion that she couldn’t win the General election. I just never thought she was likable enough and had too high of negatives. At the beginning of the race for the Democratic nomination, I was an Edwards supporter, as I felt he spoke most honestly about the issues I care about and was the candidate who I thought could most easily win the General. Considering the makeup of voters in the Democratic primary/caucus, he stood no chance against the well-funded campaigns he lost to, though. When Edwards bowed out, my super-delegate vote window reopened.
Obviously, Obama is the far superior speaker, but I have been impressed for the most part in the way Hillary has stayed within herself, rarely succumbing to the natural reaction at political rallies of raising her voice over a cheering crowd. (Better known as the Dean-scream.) Hillary is at her most likable when she smiles and offers up her cackle for a laugh, as it humanizes her and makes her seem less like the ice queen she has been portrayed as. Sure the whole beer and shot appearance she made in NW Indiana recently seemed less than genuine, but I think it was a positive for her, as for a core group of voters it made her appear less like an elitist. I know this stuff shouldn’t matter, but just like seeing Obama fail so miserably bowling, it does make an unconscious impression on undecided voters. Considering that Hillary and Obama have very few policy differences, these type of personal qualities mean a lot more than you might hope they do.
Until Saturday Night Live did their debate parody of Tim Russert and Brian Williams fawning all over Obama and being much tougher on Hillary, there was little discussion of how much of free-ride Obama had gotten during this campaign. Still, the majority of the political blogosphere made little of it and nothing like how apeshit they went when Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous went hard at Obama. The liberal left doesn’t have someone with the power of a Limbaugh or Hannity, but the closest they do have are Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, Markos Mousilitas (Daily Kos), Air America radio hosts, etc. All of them have been strongly supporting Obama since his Iowa primary victory. I can’t name one major political pundit who has publicly supported Hillary. They have used many of the same arguments against the Clinton’s that the right-wing conspiracy types did in the past. It has been really amazing to me that they have been this strident in their support and condemnation of the Clinton’s, especially since the 2 candidates policies are practically the same.
These liberal media figures have claimed that the Clinton’s have run a dirty campaign against Obama. This is where I strongly disagree. Considering how close the race has been and what is at stake, I think the tone has been mild. This is where the political correctness of the Left really hurts the Democratic party. When Bill Clinton mentioned after the South Carolina primary that Jesse Jackson had won it in the past, it was a legitimate point. The reason Obama won the state was because of Black voters. Sure Obama has won the majority of states, but I think there is a legitimate argument to be made that his victories have come in states like South Carolina where the Dems have little chance of winning. Considering that John McCain has appealed greatly to moderate voters in the past, states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida will be even more important than usual.
Obama’s detached style is cool to the hipsters, but for people in the Industrial Midwest, who have seen there standard of living plummet, it has a hard time registering. Despite her claims to the contrary, it is hard to see how Hillary will really try to fix the problems of free-trade agreements considering that it was her husband’s administration who were their biggest champions in the Democratic party. Even with this fact on his side, populist voters have shunned Obama for the most part as he just doesn’t offer up much in the way of concrete plans on the subject. If you like it or not, these type voters will determine who become President. They have went strongly for Hillary, in almost every key swing state. I believe this has happened because despite the NAFTA-like agreements the Clinton administration pushed through, 1992-2000 was a lot better time for the middle-class than what they have experienced over the last 8 years.
The biggest joke to me has been the concept that Bill Clinton has hurt Hillary’s campaign. Let’s first establish that major reason she is a Senator and the only reason she was the Democratic front-runner for this election was because she was married to Bill. I’ve always thought of the Clinton’s with this analogy. Have you ever had a party and when you were considering who to invite you were on the fence in inviting a couple because let’s say the guy was the life of the party, but if you wanted him there, you had to take his not so fun wife as well. This is how I’ve always looked at the Clinton’s. I always respected Hillary’s intellect, but not until the past couple of months did I see much human warmth. Bill Clinton has gotten Hillary to this point, as his charm and charisma opened doors that I doubt she could have went through by herself.
Hillary’s main message has been that she is most ready to takeover the job. I thnk it is completely legitimate. She does have a better idea of what the job entails than anyone running and she has the benefit of Bill being there as her Co-President. This is the biggest reason I have been swayed towards her. Considering the absolute disaster that the past 8 years have been, our country doesn’t have the time for on the job training. While I don’t agree with all of the Clinton’s policies, I am confident in their track record and have a good idea of what Hillary’s cabinet would look like.
While the concept of what Barack Obama would bring to the White House is exciting, I have a lot more questions with him. The idea that he would bring less partisanship to Washington is empty from my point of view, as his political record is more liberal than Hillary and he has done little in connecting with Republican politicians. This does not seem like a good recipe for bringing people together, especially when you add that many of these Senators see him as someone who has risen to stardom without having earned his political tenure. I don’t think that should be a prerequisite, but I do think it will hamper him from the beginning in pushing through any real major policy changes.
It does seem like Obama will end up getting the nomination, but the race is close enough that Hillary has had every right to push the process through until all the states get a chance to vote. Unless McCain pulls back some from his Hawkish stance on Iraq, I just don’t see the Democrat losing this election. Now if McCain did offer some type of plan which included a sensible exit strategy, I think he could be tough to beat, especially in these swing states where Obama has not connected with Hispanics, older voters and single moms.
I’ve been waiting for Obama to sell me on why I should want to support him, but as stirring as some of the rhetoric he offers up, I just can’t get past the feeling that his coronation might be 4 to 8 years too early. I’m sure I will still vote for him, as McCain’s war politics and keeping the Bush tax cuts permanent I believe will keep us going on the disastrous path we have been going towards this whole decade. I just think that in the place our country finds itself, Hillary Clinton provides a better bet to put us back on the right track. I guess this declaration will keep me from hainging out at Hollywood parties or get a gig writing for the Huffington Post, but I have to follow what my head tells me is right. I have a lot of elitist traits and have no problem being called on them, but I guess my childhood growing up the son of a
poor millworker (oops, that is John Edwards stump speech) poor factory worker has left me with a populist spirit.