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My Endorsement

I don’t like Hillary Clinton.

I don’t like Hillary Clinton, but I feel bad about not liking Hillary Clinton, and the reasons why are as follows:

First, I feel like I’m letting Bill down. Seriously, as soon as I realized that I just don’t like Hillary Clinton, I felt bad for Bill. This is, obviously, ridiculous. Fondness for an old president is no reason for choosing a new president. And, moreover: He let me down!

I also feel bad because her likeability has been a campaign issue. Nobody expects male candidates to be pleasant. Requiring that Clinton be likeable is like requiring that she have a sweet, girlish giggle and a nice rack—which would be absurd.

But my lack of liking for Clinton goes beyond the fact that if I was at a party at her house, I would much rather be drinking a beer and, say, watching a cowboy-movie marathon on AMC in the den with Bill than discussing single-payer insurance over chardonnay with Hillary in the living room. I don’t like her because I don’t trust her, for one thing. I think it’s a bit much to call her “Bush-Cheney lite”, but history does suggest that she has ruthless, secretive tendencies that are somewhat reminiscent of the current administration. I find that I am unwilling to endure a national campaign—not to mention at least four years—in which the first two Clinton administrations are rehashed by her many enemies. What she calls “experience”, I call “baggage”, and I get weary just thinking about it. On the whole, I find Hillary Clinton tremendously uninspiring. If she’s the Democratic candidate, I’ll vote for her (I’d vote for a ham sandwich if it was the Democratic candidate), but I won’t be excited about it.

I am, however, excited about Barack Obama. Like, honestly, unironically, seriously excited. And I’m not just excited because, as an Obama supporter, I might one day have the opportunity to chant, “We will, we will Barack you.” It’s not just because Barack Obama carries a picture of me in his wallet. It’s not even because I get to wear this awesome T-shirt.

Mama Loves Obama

I’m excited about Barack Obama because Barack Obama is exciting. I think Barbara Ehrenreich captures the pro-Obama mood pretty well in this post. The Bush years have been so tragically, unremittingly awful that I need something new. As a country, we don’t just need good policies: We need a little inspiration. Clinton can argue that “Speeches don’t put food on the table”, but I’m not sure that she’s right. I think that liberal wonkishness alone might not be enough to deliver the kind of real change we need. In yesterday’s New York Times, Representative David R. Obey, who has endorsed Obama, said, “You can’t make much headway on substance until you have somebody who can break through the rancorous atmosphere, build new alliances and cut through old barriers.” I’m not at all convinced that Clinton can do that, and I believe that Obama can. I don’t need a president who’s likeable, but I sure would like to have one who’s exciting.


February 18, 2008 | Permalink


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