For what it's worth, I'm voting for Barack Obama in the California primary on Feb. 5.
For me, the clincher is the war (read: occupation; read: foreign policy fiasco). In case you've been lulled lately into MSM complacency about it, allow me to remind you: We're still throwing serious money and invaluable lives and limbs down that hellhole, with no inkling of a strategy for winning or exit. Why, pray tell, are we still dug in there, folks? The worldwide cost to our credibility is enormous, and the backlash and blowback will return to haunt us for many years to come. We need a candidate who speaks the truth about Iraq, rather than one who needs to triangulate around it.
If the general election comes down to McCain vs. Obama, then the campaign becomes a national referendum on the war. The GOP will have to defend it at every turn. Does the U.S. public really want to stay in Iraq for the next 100 years, as McCain grimly proposes?
If the general election comes down to McCain vs. Clinton, then the question becomes, which of those two candidates has the biggest balls, which of them can out-tough the other? On that score, on the machismo meter, Clinton will seem to be a poor man's version of McCain (my gendered language is deliberate). Even if Clinton wins, I don't foresee her pulling out of Iraq anytime soon. She will not risk the inevitable right-wing charge: Who lost Iraq? Who walked away from all that oil? Who abandoned those military bases?
Philip Roth has said that Hillary Clinton, if she becomes the nominee, stands a good chance of losing all 50 states.
Philip Roth may be right.
In my view, misogyny runs deeper than racism in this country (case in point: the 15th Amendment was passed 50 years before the 19th amendment -- that is, giving African-American men the vote was, evidently, more compelling and less threatening than enfranchising women).
I'd love to be proven wrong about that. I hate to accede to sexism. On the other hand, I don't want the Democrats to blow it.
Obama appeals somehow to both progressives and independents. He also won't rile up and galvanize the anti-Clinton crowd. He'll continue to attract the grassroots and netroots energy of the youth brigade.
The prevailing argument in favor of Hillary is that she has the experience and the moxie to take on the vast rightwing neo-con military-industrial complex. She can stand up to the boys. She's strong. The bastards won't be able to steamroll her. Problem is, she won't be taking on the military-industrial complex. Instead, she'll try to prove that she can work with them. When it comes to Iraq, she won't want to be seen as a girly peacenik.
If this bloody, costly, senseless war horrifies you, the choice should be pretty clear: Obama. To some, that will seem to be an intemperate endorsement. My sense, however, is that as the campaign and the war drag on (a "surge" is no longer but a "surge" after 18 months), even cooler heads will draw a similar judgment.