If you're like me, you're writhing in indecision over who to vote for in the Democratic primary: Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. This question keeps you up at nights and you view February 12th, the date of the Virginia primary, with a mixture of giddy anticipation and gut-churning dread. Some may laugh, but I think they'd be surprised at how many people are like me.
The problem isn't that the candidates are so different on the issues. Take this quiz from MSNBC - out of the nineteen issues, Clinton and Obama only differed of four (though one could argue that the fault lies with MSNBC). This article in the New York Magazine is one of the best I've found highlighting the differences between Clinton and Obama. It comes down to how they view the climate of Washington, D.C.
Clinton is, for lack of a better term, a "beltway insider." She's seen the worst that D.C. has to offer in regards to partisan politics. If elected, she'll duke it out with the Republicans for four (to eight) years. We may see a return to the no-holds-barred politicking of the late 90s. On the bright side, she'll be damn good at it.
Obama is a uniter, not a divider. He has a great vision for our nation, to transcend petty politics and bring us all together under the common flag of progress. He is change. He is idealism. And he may fail. Utterly. We'd love another JFK ... but can we afford another Jimmy Carter?
But beyond the "realism vs. romance" debate, it's important to keep in mind the bigger question: Who Is More Electable? With McCain as the Republican front runner, we've got to keep an eye on more conservative Dems(1). Whether Clinton's pragmatism or Obama's promise has the best chance of derailing McCain's Straight Talk Express remains, at least for me, to be seen.
Honestly, I'll be happy if 2008 sees a Democrat, any Democrat, in the White House. If either a woman or a black man gains the Highest Office, I'll be thrilled (And who knows? - maybe we'll see a female minority president in my lifetime. *cough*Sri2020*cough*). But if the Dems can't get it together and score a win after the two-term nightmare that has been Bush Jr's presidency, I'm moving to Canada(2).
(1) If you're reading this, Dad, I'm on to you. I've found the McCain press clippings under the mattress. Don't try to deny it.
(2) No, not really. I will continue to resist the siren song of socialized medicine for a while yet, my chickadees. Never fear.