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Archive for August, 2008

Confessions of a Swing State Voter

Posted by pocochina on August 28, 2008

I’m a registered voter in Pennsylvania – by any measure, one of the 18 states that matters.  (Because it’s totally NOT WRONG when a candidate says some states don’t matter!  Unless that candidate is, like, a total bitch, then it’s wrong.  Obviously.)  And an undecided voter, at that! There will be billions of dollars spent over the next six months to figure out what I am thinking.  All that money, for my uncomplicated little lady brain!  So, assuming the PTBs can read Earthling, I’m setting out some thoughts.  SAVING YOU MONEY, FELLAS.  BUY YOURSELF A NICE ISSUE AD.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

Confession 1:  I skipped the Historic Convention.  Mostly I had no TV and slow internet, so it wasn’t really an option, but even if it had been, I’d probably still have been watching my West Wing DVDs and pondering the merits of writing in Jed Bartlett in November.  (Also how Allison Janney should leave LA immediately to come and be my best friend.  Ahem.)

I hear the speeches were good.  I hear it was a love-fest.

I noticed that CNN took every opportunity to humiliate Senator Clinton.  I noticed that the DNC was unwilling to treat her as it treats every other candidate.  I noticed that nobody bothered to contest the caucus results, which by all reasonable measure were deeply skewed, and quite possibly outright forged.

Confession 2:  Despite my ongoing annoyance at the politics of selective, fully voluntary vapidity Hope and Change(TM) I am intrigued by the Vice Presidential choices.  I am using the VP choices on the tickets to help me make my decision, not because of the VP candidates themselves but because of what the selection tells me about the nominees.  In short, fellas, I have my crotchety old lady eyeball on you.

Biden

I am relatively convinced, based on a very scientific hunch, that the selection of Biden was genuinely meant to be an olive branch to Clinton voters, but, because of the rampant CDS at Camp Obama (seriously, people, boil yer water or something, that shit will fuck you up) it ended up being a total slap in the face.   Even setting aside the public statement that they never considered her as a serious contender, it was a total misfire.  The Obama team, if they are attempting to appeal to the enormous chunk of Senator Clinton’s  voters who are not voting for him or who are unsure about him, totally blew it.

I’m guessing they eliminated Senator Clinton right away.  Whether this was personal hubris (couldn’t associate with That Bitch), fear of admitting that they were engaging in old-school character assassination when claiming to belong to a “new kind” of politics, or just blinkin’ stupidity (hey, it happens).  So they tried to do the Next Best Thing – somebody like Senator Clinton who wasn’t Senator Clinton.

Honey, there’s only one Hillary Rodham Clinton.  But when they went for a copy, they weren’t going based off of what Senator Clinton is actually like, or what so many voters liked about her.  To them, the defining characteristcs were – white, Washington, pro-war, old.  So they went out and found someone who fit those characteristics.  Except Clinton isn’t a Washington insider in the way that Biden is a Washington insider – a common risk factor for CDS is the belief that the HillBillies had no business running the party, let alone  the country; Biden has held  the same seat for decades.  Biden’s reputation of strength on foreign policy comes from having been a Bush cheerleadere for he last few years; Senator Clinton is a frankly cool-headed foreign policy moderate who was lied to.  Even by the embarrasingly generous standards of NARAL, Biden is not consistently pro-choice, while Clinton has lead the legislative fight for reproductive justice.  Joe Biden is no Hillary Clinton.  But by using the “Hillary Clinton” they and the media have cooked up, and not the Hillary Clinton that eighteen million Democrats voted for, as their model, they have shown once again that they just do not understand what our half of the party wants.

Palin

I’m going to come out and say it.  McCain made a good move here.  No, Palin is not enough to convince me to vote for McCain, not even a little.  But she does several things for him.

  • Evangelicals are creaming themselves – she’s a woman who carry a pregnancy knowing the child would have Down’s syndrome.  The socially arch-conservative half of the party not only feels reassured that McCain has them in mind, but they also have a messenger.  McCain doesn’t have to talk to them any more to get out the Republican base – Palin will be his messenger to them, while he continues to cultivate his McMaverick reputation.  Anything that re-invigorates the anti-abortion base is bad news for liberals, but a self-described “feminist for life” is particularly exciting for them because it shows how they really LOVE WOMEN SO MUCH WHICH IS WHY THEY HAVE TO PROTECT US FROM CORE FREEDOMS.  Obama has already painted himself into a corner with his endless lip service to anti-choicers.  He can’t go back on it now, or “OBAMA LIES TO CHRISTIANS” will be the headline on every centrist and right-wing news show in the country.  But as anti-abortion activists get louder, and the pro-choice base keeps being silenced by the idiots in our own party, Obama will move further to the right, continuing to alienate pro-choice women.  It doesn’t mean we’ll vote for McCain, it just means more of us will stay home, or vote third party.
  • This also lends credence to the idiot contention  that the Right lubs the wimminz more than the Left, because they don’t condescend to grant us equal rights and shit.  The vicious misogyny that has been directed at Senator Clinton has simply been re-directed at Gov. Palin.  Except that the Republicans will not stand by for vicious attacks on one of their own the way some Democrats choose to do – and the Obama campaign reacts  worse to nothing than true criticism.  It won’t matter that Republicans are actively out to damage women’s lives – don’t get me wrong, they are.
  • The Obama campaign has already taken the bait, calling Palin inexperienced.  I bet the McCain campaign loves this – every time someone says “inexperienced,” how many voters think of Obama’s incomplete term in the Senate?  McCain need only point out which ticket has the experienced top half to use the magic words “affirmative action.” To a Democratic party which has been unwilling to bluntly explain and defend this important aspect of the American workplace and academy, this is dangerous.
  • Fauxgressives have jumped all over Palin’s scandal – which may very well turn out to be what she’s claimed, that her former brother-in-law was a domestic abuser. In which case, Democrats will be in the uncomfortable position of claiming their one ethics issue against Gov. Palin was unbased in truth, or in defending taxpayer support of a wife-beater.
  • Biden, who suffers from moderate foot-in-mouth disease on a good day, will now have to criticize and debate a young mother in an interracial relationship with a sick young child.  I’ll just sit here and rack my brain thinking about what could possibly go wrong.

Palin, quite obviously, is similar to Biden in that McCain folks thought they were giving at least some Clinton supporters what they wanted – what they see in her is “working mom” so they went out and found a working mom.  The differences between Palin and Clinton are legion, of course, but the most important one is that Senator Clinton supports the right to self-determination of all women; Governor Palin quite obviously does not.  However, I do think that this choice will appeal to some Clinton voters.  McCain has made a very public bid for our votes, while Obama’s supporters have made it clear that we’re more than welcome to FOAD.  And, well, all they’ve offered to women is the Roe stick.  Threats are about self-interest, and women who aren’t worried about an unwanted pregnancy may very well decide that Roe means less to them than seeing a woman in the executive branch.  And yes, they have every right to do so.  I don’t think this is going to get McCain many active Clinton supporters, but I do think that it will garner some support among moderate, mostly apathetic women who weren’t involved in (or were disenfranchised by) the nomination process.  Those 18 million votes aren’t the only votes Senator Clinton would have gotten in the general election, and lots more votes have gone up for grabs.

Confession 3:  I am very seriously considering a write-on or third party vote – two options which have never before been on my radar.  i strongly suspect I am not the only one.

I have very little money.  I am a graduate student; every cent I’ve made in the last twelve months has been work study, or on loan from the government.  This means I can’t show my displeasure by yanking my donations, or hollering to a newspaper.  The only candidate I’ve ever given to is Senator Clinton.  I gave $25 to NARAL once, but that will never happen again.  I care deeply about politics, about this country and the world it lives in, and my only input is my vote.

I’m told that everything else is Much More Important, that my concerns should take a backseat to Everything Ever, and that I should just shut the fuck up, because any dissent is hurting Obama.

Has anyone else noticed that the Obama campaign is far more afraid of true criticism than it is of lies and rumors?  It is a fact that Obama benefited mightily from a sexist media, and participated in the gender trashing himself.  It is a fact that he is insufficiently committed to reproductive justice, universal health care, any number of other issues.  It is a fact that he narrowly eked out the Democratic nomination, that he took advantage of terrible inconsistencies in voting, and a very real possibility that there was outright fraud at caucuses.  It is a fact that he betrayed his base on FISA.  But in a world where everyone gets a voice, the way to avoid true criticism is to not deserve it.

The selfishness of me, the selfishness of me.  Can I live with myself if I, single-handedly, Elected John McCain and Thus, Ended Civilization As We Know It?  Can I live with myself if I reward the bad behavior of Obama?

Principles, as defined by the misogynist, fauxgressive center-left, are the altar on which my integrity – my bodily integrity; my self-respect – may be sacrificed by Those Who Matter, as if it is something so small it never actually even happened, when it is all that I have.  And yet, I’m told, they are a luxury, a privilege I do not deserve.

Principles are not a privilege.  They are not a luxury.  Principle is a birthright, as surely as footsteps on the highway, as breath itself.  I am not sure what my principles will lead me to do in two months.  But they are mine.  They are not beholden to the Democratic Party, or to Barack Obama.

Confession 4:  I am in this for me.  I have absolutely given up on the idea that anyone in the race will serve the best interests of the American people, and particularly, my best interests.   If I’ve learned anything from the past few months, it’s that nobody gives a damn about what’s best for me, or the issues I care about.  Except me.

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