So for Argument’s Sake, If You Could Vote In the Primaries …

Who would you vote for? American friends you don’t have to answer – you have the right to keep your vote to yourself … the rest of you may wish to indulge in a bit of Primary Fantasy (yes it sounds wrong … but … look, I’m working on two scripts and musing on tomorrow’s post right now … this is all I got).

I find the US Electoral process fucking confusing interesting and seeing any foreign, economic, homeland security, whatever policy decisions affect the rest of us in the world (sub prime mortgages, biometric passports, the price of oil, blaming the Iranian navy for a potential declaration of war when it couldn’t actually be attributed to them … the list goes on), it’s worth all of us paying attention to what is happening over there and overcoming our desperate desire to reform their entire electoral process initial bewilderment.

Of particular interest to me, is the issue of the woman’s vote over on the side of the Democrats candidacy. I’m sure there’s a lot of media spin involved, but are feminists and some women really voting for Clinton because she’s a woman? This is one of those conversations I would usually have with Lou over dinner – and no doubt I’m eating into your internet cafe time now Lou (for god sake’s, look up the library on Google Maps!), but I want to throw this into the comments and even if it just ends up being Lou, Steph, Lotte and myself discussing this via blog – that’s cool with me.

This is the thing, right, the four of us are all very much left leaning – how far left on the spectrum varies from issue to issue (although I suspect that on most cases I’m probably to the right of these particular women). Given that, and given the current US administration and candidates on the Republican side (and boy, quite a few of those fellas scare me, Bush is just nuts, these guys are fully sane) wouldn’t you give your vote to the person who is most likely to convince people to put the current party in administration, out of it, regardless of gender or race?

I still have to do a lot more research on both Obama and Clinton, as it stands I’m a sucker for good speech writers (Ted Sorenson was sublime, Margaret Lange was pretty damn good too) and Obama’s team, be it him or his speech writer Jon Favreau (no, not he of Swingers fame) have produced some beautiful oratory. Oratory is clearly not enough, policies should be everything (not that any promise means much in an election year). But would you be more swayed by someone who can inspire a nation to greatness or by someone who has a plan? This is not to say either candidate has only one or t’other, I’m just interested in seeing what you would vote for? If there’s something else that is a qualifier for your vote then throw it down in the comments.


18 Responses to “So for Argument’s Sake, If You Could Vote In the Primaries …”

  1. I’m fine with all 3 of them – they’re all against the war in Iraq, they all want to loosen the hold of lobbyists on the USA – so I would vote for Clinton because she’s a woman. If she becomes President in one step it makes a huge difference to how female leaders are perceived, it gives an automatic role model to girls and other women as to where they can get to (in a country that reveres the President above all others), and it irreversably changes the perceptions of what the President is, rendering their masculine semantics obsolete.

    Of course, I also think it would do the same for African-Americans in one step if Obama became President.

    I mean, I’m not naive enough to think that the prevalence of sexism / racism in the USA would go away due to the symbolism of a woman / African-American becoming President, but I do think it would help. A lot.

  2. An additional comment: I would find the American election system entrapping if I was American… in that I would actually personally be more left-wing than the Democrats are, but would feel that I had to vote for them to get the Republicans out. I would not go the extra step and then not vote for Clinton / Obama because I thought my country was too sexist / racist for them to win. Unfortunately it seems there are a fair few Democrats erring towards Edwards purely because he’s a white man and they think that subsequently he’s the best bet for ridding the Republicans. In conjunction with the above comments about the fact that I would do the opposite and make the statement of voting for a woman, I sort of think that if they don’t do it now when they have two stirling candidates that aren’t white men, then they’ll be stuck with white man Presidents forever. Luckily it looks like this won’t happen.

  3. My first thought is I’d vote for Obama because he spoke well and played Stevie Wonder, not Hillary because she’s a woman. My second thought is that, as a bit of a cynic and pragmatist, I’d find it hard to trust someone as young and relatively inexperienced as Obama. My third thought is that I don’t know sh*t about the policies of politicians in my own country and should really get more informed. You’re a good influence young Sonal.

  4. Sigh. Double sigh.

    Some comments/responses:

    1) I cannot bring myself to say “I’ll vote for Clinton because she’s a woman.” It’s not enough for me, sorry. I think Obama as Pres would do more for brown people than Clinton as Pres would do for women. I loved what Steinem wrote here, actually.

    2) The system does feel entrapping right now. It didn’t feel that way in 2000 (the first elections in which I was eligible to vote), but that was eons ago. I here what you’re saying here: Wouldn’t you give your vote to the person who is most likely to convince people to put the current party in administration, out of it, regardless of gender or race? but…

    3) Obama’s youth and inexperience don’t both me as much as Clinton’s lack of focus. In fact, I feel energized, electrified by Obama.

  5. Yikes! HEAR not HERE. Oh brother, and I call myself a teacher.

    Three glasses of wine on a Monday evening is a BAD start to the week.

  6. Cthulhu 2008 – why settle for a lesser evil?

  7. I agree with Tamasha’s sentiment about Obama being electrifying and I guess that’s what I’m driving at. As Kat knows (when I was a terrible host and wanted to stay at home to watch the end of the New Hampshire primaries rather than showing her Singapore), I personally think that Obama has the better chance to win the Presidential race over Clinton overall – if I were able to vote, I would vote for him.

    That’s the perspective I get from outside anyway although it sounds like there’s a different drumbeat within the US itself – I don’t know if that’s a product of international media spin or not. He appears to be a breath of fresh air, there is something different about his rhetoric (and let’s face it, that’s all we can call it until anyone is actually in Government) compared to last election when all we ever heard about was a divided nation. Haterade for the masses and such. Regardless of race or gender, I think he has the charisma that can inspire a lot of folks who have been jaded about politics for the last 8 years … it’s exciting to watch, especially when my own voting record has been for whomever is going to do the least amount of damage to the issues I believe in.

    Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind and Clinton will pull something amazing out of the bag over the next few days to tell me that she will be a great leader. I feel like i’m betraying the sisterhood a little … and then again, I think I would be betraying them even more by going for someone just because of their gender …

    Oh and JP – Uh … what? I don’t get it …

  8. P.S. Tamasha – don’t worry about typos on this blog ever … I’m meant to be a writer – surely by now you will have noticed my tendencies to mangle the English language (the only language in which I am conversant) with my bad grammar 🙂

  9. I feel like i’m betraying the sisterhood a little … and then again, I think I would be betraying them even more by going for someone just because of their gender …

    Thank you for adding that second bit.

    Dumbass: Tamasha, you must be torn between Clinton and Obama, right?
    Tamasha: Um, not really.
    Dumbass: But now you have a person of color AND a woman to vote for. It’s too bad they’re not rolled in to one. Then you could vote for both of them.
    Tamasha: Actually, if there was a white man who held more of my beliefs, I’d vote for him over those two.
    Dumbass: But don’t you want to show support for your people?

    Um, yeah. By punching you in the face.

  10. My perspective is that I know sweet fuck-all about the intricacies of their policies, and thus see the three Democratic contenders as equal across all the issues, and so it comes down to deciding on factors that seem superficial but are actually important to me at a social level (gender, race). I wouldn’t vote for Hillary JUST because she is a woman if, for example, I didn’t think she’d be a great leader. And I personally don’t think it’s betraying anything to come down to factors like that when we have a whole human history of people getting into positions of leadership by virtue of being white men. In a way, what I would be doing is voting to break the cycle. The fact is that for either Clinton or Obama to get where they have DESPITE their gender / race, I assume they’re both pretty fucking good.

    Just in case you guys were getting generalist with the dumbass labels there 😉

  11. Oh the Dumbass stories we could tell … might have to start a series of those soon …

    I get what you’re saying Lou, I’m not sure I agree, but I get where you’re coming from 🙂

  12. Technically, I should be voting for Kucinich, but I mean… really?

    The differences between Clinton (I wish the American press would stop calling her Hillary when they call everyone else by their last names) and Obama are becoming clearer as the primaries progress.

    Clinton is frustrating me because she seems obsessed with the past: Obama hasn’t done enough about this and that, Obama voted to put more money in to Iraq, etc. Well, yeah, who wouldn’t? With our soldiers already there, we can’t drain the money out now. If she hadn’t voted for the war in the first place… Ugh. I could go on.

    Obama is fighting a cleaner fight, and his lack of a record is more enticing to me. So yeah. Ya’ll know where I stand. 🙂

    What a nice, civilized discussion.

  13. @ sonal
    Sorry, obscure H.P Lovecraft reference.

    In an ideal world, I’d vote for Kucinich. Obama’s more of a realistic choice, and my gut tells me Americans won’t vote for Hilary in a matchup against McCain.

    Obama’s policies are more centre-right than they look. The teachers’ union in particular doesn’t like him, as he supports merit-based pay.

    Andrew Sullivan has a good quote in his article The Atlantic:

    “Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.”

  14. Ok, I went and googled and wiki-ed all that and I still don’t understand the reference … I may hold that against you for some time …

    But to the case in hand … Kucinich? Really? Why?

    I disagree with Sullivan’s assumption of what he thinks a “young Pakistani Muslim” (which by inference he links to extremism – oh there’s a bitch slap coming his way) is going to take away from seeing a brownz as President. He misses the issue entirely about the demonisation of the US by putting it’s reference points in terms of colour (and I think it’s pretty arrogant of him and belittles the problem). Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell were (and are) frequently in the international media spotlight as Secretaries of State – how does Sullivan figure that into his hypothesis?

  15. Kucinich just seems genuine, and holds to his principles. He never voted for the Iraq war, or voted to authorise funding for it (unlike Obama, Clinton and Edwards). He’s a vegan peace activist who actually has sensible, progressive health and trade policies. I just like him 🙂

    good point re: Sullivan’s analysis. Obama’s race won’t make any difference if he continues the current line of U.S. foreign policy.

  16. Fair enough for liking the fella 🙂 … I think I’m too hardened a cynic to ever think in idealised situations when it comes to politics any more … good on you!

  17. OT – Romney’s back! He won Michigan by a decent enough margin to look like a competitor. Honestly, Democrats should be crossing their fingers and hoping either Romney or Giuliani wins the GOP nomination. They’re easy-beats for Clinton or Obama, unlike Huckabee or McCain.

  18. There’s a Vegan peace-activist up for nomination??

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