THE BLOG
02/05/2008 04:41 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

On Choosing Clinton or Obama

Read more Super Tuesday coverage on HuffPost

It is election day and I am, improbably, still on the fence. This is really not good. I know. As my Republican family would wearily tell you, it is also quite uncharacteristic. For most of my life I have had fierce opinions about politics, had no trouble declaring my unequivocal love for a candidate or coming to blows on their behalf.

OK, John Kerry was an exception. His memorably stupid stunt to pass himself off as some kind of hunter and his infuriatingly passive response to the Swift Boat attacks did give me pause in the voting booth. And I have never forgiven him for not insisting on a recount in Ohio. For this we got four more years of George Bush.

But this primary day is different. This morning I feel like a high school girl whose date got the stomach flu the night before the prom. You see, my guy was John Edwards. And like most of his supporters I didn't want anyone else, could not see myself cozying up to any other date. So now I am faced with a quandary: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

Like most Americans today, I have never felt my vote more important. Never in my life did I expect to have such a glorious choice: between a smart pragmatic woman with an impressive life story and a desire to do good, and a smart visionary black man with an impressive life story and a belief he can make us heal. As Hillary said with obvious delight at the last Democratic debate, comparing the two of them to their white-bread Republican rivals, "Look at us, we are not more of the same. And we will change this country!"

She is right, of course. And that's what makes it so hard.

On policy they really aren't that different. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. Hillary's healthcare plan is far better, more comprehensive and thought-out. Barack's better on ethics reform, going after lobbyists, and cleaning up Washington. Both are committed to getting us out of Iraq. But this is where Hillary could lose me: I still can't get over her vote to authorize the war, over her equally hawkish vote on Iran.

So why can't I decide? Part of my dilemma is I am caught between generations, the past and the future. Hillary could be my wise older sister, Barack my idealistic younger brother. Like me, my mother-in-law has waited her entire life for a woman president. When I asked her over lunch two weeks ago who she was voting for, she put down her turkey burger and looked at me like I was Mitt Romney. "Why, Hillary of course. Aren't you?"

Then there is my 15-year-old daughter, who adores her grandmother but like millions of young people tilt toward hope and possibility, the excitement of change. "I think you should vote for Obama," she said to me this morning, as I was driving her to school.

In the end it will be partly my head, but mostly my heart, that decides when I enter the voting booth.

A few nights ago I dropped by the Obama campaign office in Pasadena, a shabby narrow storefront next to a hair salon and a Container store. The space and and everything in it -- desks, computers, printers, tables, old sofas, cases of bottled water -- had been donated, I was told. The first thing I noticed was the diversity in the room: college students, working people, middle-aged artists, Latino, black, white. One of the volunteers I talked to, a sunny 24-year-old graduate of Duke University named Matt, typified the Obama craze. I don't think he stopped grinning the whole ten minutes we were talking. He told me he fell in love with Obama during his legendary convention speech in 2004.

That night about two dozen volunteers were working the phones, speaking in Spanish, Armenian, and Chinese, trying to nail down supporters. A big piece of butcher paper tacked on the wall had January 26th scrawled on it and the number 220,000! with an exclamation point after it.

This was the number of calls volunteers made in California that day on behalf of Obama. They had surpassed their goal by 100,000.

Maybe hope is not such a fuzzy thing.

Read more Super Tuesday coverage on HuffPost