Earnest Pettie, comedy writer
Finding a Presidential candidate to support post-John Edwards has been quite a snooze-inducing experience. I understand and appreciate that these are astounding days in which we’re living. We soon will be witnessing either a black person or a woman mounting a credible campaign to be our President. That would have been unthinkable a generation ago. It would have seemed implausible even ten years ago. These are history-making days we’re living in, and I should be proud to be able to take part in this election. I am excited; I just wish I liked either of the major Democratic candidates.
This year, the nation’s Democrats are being asked to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their state’s primaries. So far, the Democratic electorate has been pretty equally split between the two. As an independent voter, registered in Oklahoma (I’m registering in California in plenty of time for the general election), the choice between the two has not been mine to make. I just have been watching with dismay as Clinton and Obama duke it out for a spot I’d wanted for John Edwards, beating myself up trying to figure out which candidate I’d prefer to vote for. I’ve chewed it over for weeks now, and I’ve surprised myself by arriving at the conclusion that I’d prefer Hillary.
Hillary? I lambasted her for years for her complicity in Bill Clinton’s cover-up of his affairs. It wasn’t just the lies I disliked. I actually would have been fine with them had they not occurred in court. I believe everyone deserves a fair day in court, and I thought Hillary’s participation in the Clinton cover-up was unforgivable. Time, however, heals wounds. At this point, that is ancient history. In the here and now, Hillary Clinton is a candidate for President, running a fierce race against Barack Obama, and I think there’s a case to be made for her.
Rather the case for Hillary is the case against Barack Obama. Barack Obama is running on the platform “Change You Can Believe In.” I don’t believe in change as a platform. First, change is a vague, pandering noun that plays on the weakness of the electorate, who may not know what they want, just that they want something else. Change promises something else without ever stating what that something else is. It gives hope without ever having to deliver. Barack has pledged to change the tone in Washington. Doesn’t every candidate promise that? In fact, even our current President promised it. He pledged to be “a uniter, not a divider.” The truth is that the President effect that kind of change with the swipe of a pen on an Executive Order. In fact, politics in Washington is bigger than a President, or a Senator, or any part of the government. That’s the beauty of our system. I don’t believe in change; I believe in the strength of our system of government to solve our nation’s problems. Best, then, to elect someone familiar with that system, able to exploit it for the good of the country. That candidate would be Hillary Clinton, someone who has experience, if indirect, in the executive branch, someone who has excelled in the Senate.
Barack Obama wants you to show support for your dreams by voting for him. Washington can change and be better, the nation can change and be better, and you can change and be better. That’s an exciting message that clearly has engaged a lot of voters. If it were as easy as that, I’d throw my support behind him in a minute. Hillary Clinton, however, has already shown the willingness to work for that change, toiling in the face of public humiliation, and that has got to be worth a vote.