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Nomi and I voted first thing this morning.

We enjoy voting before work for a few reasons. The obvious reason, of course, is that it's nice to know that we've gotten the task out of the way and don't have to rush back home in the evening to vote. But we also enjoy voting early because we just like to exercise our franchise.

As we waited on an actual line before seven o'clock this morning, I had a few thoughts. One thought was that we're very lucky to be living in a country where the government doesn't send people with cameras to photograph you and make sure you're voting the way they want you to. The other thought was that come May, Brookline will have a very important town election due to a Proposition 2 1/2 override vote being placed on the ballot. And it always saddens me to think about how few people will come out for that election compared to this one, especially given how much more impact the town election is going to have on people's taxes and quality of life.

People reading here last week know that I, as a former John Edwards supporter, was torn between voting for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the primary. For the past few days, I've been asking everyone I can for advice and suggestions. Last night, Nomi and I ran into Nancy Daly, the chair of the Brookline Board of Selectmen, at the supermarket (imagine running into your mayor at the supermarket, and having her greet you first), and I asked her who she was voting for.

And then it occurred to me. The one constituency I hadn't been polling have been other local former Edwards supporters.

So I called up a friend and fellow Town Meeting Member I've worked with who also happens to be a former Selectman. Like me, he had been an Edwards supporter, and I discussed my dilemma with him. He felt that a vote for Edwards now would be a waste, and he was amused by my idea of voting for either myself or Stephen Colbert. I asked him which candidate he was voting for now and why. He told me his choice, went into details on how he had come to that choice, and in the end, although he wasn't trying to urge me to vote his way, in the end that's what I decided to do.

So this morning, for better or for worse, I voted for Barack Obama.


I can share the reasons, but keep in mind that these were his reasons, not mine. I'm still undecided. :-)

His points were that Obama's campaign seems to have picked up more of Edwards's themes than Clinton's, that Clinton's vote on Iraq bothered him, and that he expects an Obama-McCain race to boil down to the issue of age making it easier for Obama to win.
I think an Obama-McCain race will boil down to age, too. But in the opposite way. McCain's experience is vast compared to Obama's. And I don't think age matters if McCain is healthy.

The fact is that for me, no matter who much Obama's supporters think he's a godsend, I won't vote for him. Still not sure if it will be Hillary or an Edwards protest vote, but he's just not ready and it bothers me that he thinks he is.

It's ironic to note that the Democrats seemed to be dropping out in order of experience, with old hands like Biden and Dodd followed by Edwards and leaving a first term senator and a second term senator who, from what I can tell, hasn't accomplished much in that position, either. (Yes, I know you don't judge Hillary on that alone, but as one of her constituents, it's hard not to notice that Schumer does all the heavy lifting.)

Also, it's amazing how many people I know or whose blogs I read were Edwards supporters. Clearly he had the support of a certain kind of voter that really, really gives voting deep thought.
"You have the vote of every thinking American."

"That's nice, but I need a majority." -- Adlai Stevenson
That summarizes the past week, yes.

A few years back, Richard Ravitch ran for mayor of NYC. I voted for him in the primary, as he too was the candidate for the thinking American.
The fact is that for me, no matter who much Obama's supporters think he's a godsend, I won't vote for him.

What if he ends up the nominee in the general election?
I meant today. He's the only choice I've ruled out.

I will probably vote for him in the general election, unless: a) Bloomberg runs; b) Bloomberg is serious enough that a vote for him is not wasted or likely to get GOPMan elected; c) Bloomberg the candidate acts like Bloomberg the mayor and focuses on the issues and stays honest. This combination of events seems unlikely.

(Note: I think I must be nuts in wanting a formerly Republican, decidedly wealthy man as president, especially since no one I know seems to like him. But he continues to impress me when no one else outside of Gore does.)
Well, he was a Democrat until 2001, and has now publicly eschewed the Republican party, so maybe that's some comfort?

I don't think the Dems can win with *any* 3rd party combination, not even Gore. But I could be wrong -- I frequently am.
Also, it's amazing how many people I know or whose blogs I read were Edwards supporters. Clearly he had the support of a certain kind of voter that really, really gives voting deep thought.

It occurs to me that I should thank you for that. :-)
...a second term senator who, from what I can tell, hasn't accomplished much in that position, either. (Yes, I know you don't judge Hillary on that alone, but as one of her constituents, it's hard not to notice that Schumer does all the heavy lifting.)

I have similar feelings. When she was running for re-election in 2006, I got one of those "can she count on your vote" calls, so I asked why I should. The caller asked what issue I was interested in, and when I said "All of them," she said "Let me send you some information." She did, a package of about 40 pages on various Hillary positions. The disappointment was that 90% of it was "Why you should vote for Hillary for president" (remember, this was in 2006, when she was a candidate for the Senate), and only 10% actually related to New York State and what she might do in the Senate. I really feel used. I mean, I knew in 2000 that she moved to New York and ran for Moynihan's seat not because she loved the state, but because it was an easy in for this year's election. Grumble grumble.
I did find it interesting that Edwards did not throw support behind anyone. And most Edwards supporters I know are voting for Obama or no one at all, which is why I'm confused by the polls that show Hillary is getting nearly half of Edwards' supporters. Because Hillary seems much, much further away from Edwards' ('08; not '04) positions to me. Especially on the special interest money issue.
I looked at that as Edwards assuming (and probably rightfully so) that no matter which of them gets the nomination, he's the front-runner for the VP slot. But if he endorses one and the other gets the nod, he's out.
I still don't understand why anyone thinks Edwards is a good VP choice, especially for Obama. Obama's weaknesses in the general election, especially against McCain, are his general lack of experience, his lack of foreign experience, and given the whole "war" riff, lack of military experience. Edwards contributes zero to any of that (one-term ineffectual Senator). And no one who supported Edwards this time around is voting Republican if he's not on the ticket.

Also, we've seen Edwards as a VP candidate...and he's not good at it. He didn't carry his home state, and he was mediocre in the debate against Chaney.

If I were Obama, I'd be looking at Richardson, Powell, maybe Clark for VP. Hillary I don't have specifics for, but she can also do considerably better than Edwards.
I didn't say he's a good choice, or that anyone would pick him. All I said was that he probably didn't throw his support to anyone specifically, in order to keep his options open just in case one of them picks him.
I know, that's what I figured, but I'm not sure either of them would pick him. Maybe Hillary, but Obama's best choice is Clark (who has definitely been nosing around). I also think Richardson would make a good veep choice for Hillary.
The problem is that Edwards needs to not be an unsuccessful veep two times in a row. Because he'll be plunked into the Biden category of "just keeps running" and people won't pay attention to him in '12.

OTOH, I look at the things Edwards is most interested in and the work he's been doing over the past 4 years (you know, the stuff that made him much more interesting to me this time around) and I think he'd be a better vp than president. Not because I think he'd be a bad president, but because being a veep has a lot fewer crises rising up all the time, but still has the support and public space to be a "projects" guy. He has more freedom to really work on a few key issues, rather than having to worry about the whole enchilada.
In all the blogs I've been reading, the huge amount of vitriol from Barack supporters has really turned me off. I am particularly distressed by all the threats to pack up their marbles and go home (i.e., not vote or vote for McCain) if Obama is not the nominee. What scares me the most is how many of them are from otherwise intelligent-seeming people. (The really vicious, tunnel-visioned ones I think are posing Republicans ...)

So here's my plea: Honest people can disagree about who would make the best nominee. I, too, have not yet decided which is the better candidate (my primary didn't count ... MI.) But I do know this: if you want to recover from the disaster that has been Reagan 2 ...er I mean Bush 2, you must vote in the general election for the Democratic nominee. Period. Anything else bodes ill for us and our country.


Of course, here I suspect I am singing to the choir, but still ...
You're confusing thoughtful, rational discourse with an all-out, no-holds-barred political campaign. The goal of the former is to come to an informed, workable decision. The goal of the latter is to win, at all costs. In a primary, if you can threaten other members of your own party, it's more likely that they'll acquiesce to your demands, simply to keep you from voting for the other party. It's not childish; it's tactical.
No, I don't think I am. For two reasons. First, the posts I'm referring to are not just politically vicious, but both crude and vitriolic. Secondly, there's a whole subgroup of posts that are identical in all but poster name. The format uses CAPITALS for any word they WANT you to NOTICE, and after a while, you recognize the pattern of capitals in the message with one glance.

Rove et al have used this tactic before. It's where the whole thing about the Clinton's stealing furniture and dishes from the White House when they left (untrue) got started. I suspect it is also where "Clinton started the email campaign linking Obama with a radical Muslim father and madrassas (both untrue, the charge and the origin) came from.

So I think those are just pretend Dems. The other messages are just crude -- but not particularly effective, at least to this thoughtful person. They all attack the person, not the issues, not the policies. Thoughtful folks, even when quite baldly angry at a candidate, make it about deeds and plans, not personalities.

You are correct, however, that tactics during the primary are different than tactics in the general; and has historically been particularly true of Dems. They are a scrappy bunch.
I too came down on the Obama side of the fence, but it was very much a last-minute decision. I was waffling until yesterday evening, and had a brief instance of waffling this morning, but that was my choice.
I am torn too, and running out of time. Clinton seems to be marginally better on space -- though Obama's clarification narrowed the gap, and gets points for caring enough to elaborate, he's still planning to delay Constellation 5 years to fund his education plan. Obama is better on the ACLU scorecard, but not by much. I was planning to vote for first Dodd, then Richardson, both of whom have said they won't endorse before Super Tuesday. Both of them joined Dodd's telecom amnesty filibuster. They both voted for PATRIOT act reauthorization (though Obama was one who tried to make it better). They both support Net Neutrality. They're about the same on gay rights. Argh! I want to vote on issues, not personalities, but they're making it difficult.
Can't chose, heading over to vote now.

I too voted Obama. I was torn. On the one hand, Clinton *does* have more experience playing the DC politics game, but on the other hand, I want those games to stop, and I don't want someone who is going to play with lobbies, and softening resolves. After voting I found Lawrence Lessig's take on it (http://lessig.org/blog/2008/02/20_minutes_or_so_on_why_i_am_4.html), which reaffirmed some of what I'd already been thinking.

December 2016

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