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Nick Antosca

Nick Antosca

Posted: January 10, 2008 06:06 PM

Primary Voters--Will You Endorse Hillary, the Cold Toad of American Politics?


A profoundly affecting moment. The junior Senator chokes back tears as she surveys the spot where the Industrial Canal levee was breached, flooding the Ninth Ward and bringing the great, strange city of New Orleans to its knees...

Oh right, that didn't happen. The tragedy that makes Hillary Clinton's eyes fill with tears is the idea that poor, easily-misled voters might be tricked by a fairy tale man into having too much hope, which would of course make them disinclined to vote for her, the Candidate of Managed Expectations.

"A man can cry," Hillary said the other day. "Lots of our leaders have cried. But a woman, it's a different kind of dynamic." No. Any candidate of either gender who cries or feigns crying in public because campaigns are really hard does not have the intestinal fortitude to be President.

Hillary's "misty dread" moment may have seemed contemptibly manipulative to me, like the wounded snifflings of a teacher's pet who didn't get the blue spelling bee ribbon, but it resonated with enough voters to help her win the state of New Hampshire. (The infantile bigots who considered it a reasonable expenditure of time and effort to write "Iron My Shirt" on some signs and take those signs to a Clinton rally probably inspired a number of women to the polls as well.)

So now, for the first time, it appears there is a dead heat in the race for the Democratic nomination--which serves to make the prospect of a Hillary win even more unpleasant. To think that Obama might lose the struggle for the nomination after having come so close, and to think that I might then have to swallow my distaste and vote for her (ultimately, better the Cold Toad than the Massachusetts Crocodile--or the once-noble P.O.W. who pissed all over his integrity by pledging allegiance to a President who slimed him) is excruciating.

Last night I was seated at dinner next to a woman who expressed indecision about whether she would cast her vote for Obama or Clinton. "I don't know," she said, as if in abdominal pain. "I like him a lot more, but she knows how these things work, and she did a good job in the Senate." Given that their policies and positions are extremely similar--yes, they are, although Clinton's reluctance to talk to leaders of unfriendly countries is alarmingly Bush-like--here are some reasons to vote for Obama.

  • Stagnation. It's time to get out of the fucking swamp. Bush, Clinton, Bush, etc. I won't presume to speak for the rest of Americans, but I am sick of these people. The old Bill was great; the new, uxorious Bill is grating. More years of Dynasty will encourage stagnation of the national conscience and make us look from abroad like a fiefdom.
  • Ability to effect change. Which one of these two candidates is fervently hated by about half of America? Hillary and her husband's battles have left too many scars. She is not the candidate best-positioned to bury hatchets. She may have done a decent job getting along with Republicans in New York, but there's no Mississippi in New York. Obama, on the other hand, is in a position to forge new alliances and erase old battle lines.
  • International reputation. In the eyes of the world, our name is blood. This would not be the case had Al Gore been elected, but it is the reality now. What do you think is more likely to change international minds--the election of a smug, uninspiring candidate who tells voters not to hope too much and who has been entrenched in positions of power since 1992, or the election of a magnetic natural orator who, with his Kenyan/Kansan background, undermines images of what entrenched power looks like and whose campaign is premised on hope and aspiration?

This November's election could be an iconic moment in American history. Or it could be more of the same. Do I think Barack Obama is the most qualified, principled, and intelligent candidate? No, I think Dennis Kucinich is. But I think Obama is the most galvanizing and the best-positioned to change history--to wrench American politics from its seemingly inescapable rut. And I certainly think he's better than Clinton, who promises to perpetuate the tedium and infighting that we've come to take for granted. She knows how these things work, indeed.