Political Leanings

If you want to make friends in the blogosphere (or anywhere, really), conventional wisdom holds that you refrain from discussion of the two conversation killers: religion and politics. I write a lot about weight loss and various things happening in my life, but I can’t ignore the excitement I feel after watching the New Hampshire primaries last night.

In some kind of Comcast cable fiasco, the Republican debates kept freezing up and blacking out, so I missed huge chunks of the Republican discussion. What I remember is that I still love McCain. I voted for him above W. in the 1999 primaries, but I worry that he’s just too darned old and “establishment” to garner any kind of support in a general election. But he’s steadfast and he’s trustworthy and he doesn’t bow down to opinion poles. I like that.

Until last night, I’ve stayed far, far away from the primaries because it’s just so stinking early to begin the election cycle. Admittedly, I don’t know a thing more about Huckabee or Romney or Thompson than what I learned in the debate last night (other than Huckabee’s from Arkansas and Romney’s a Mormon and I’ve seen Thompson on TV, none of which matters to me one way or the other). I’m familiar enough with Giuliani, and I like him very much, but I’m also aware that his personal life is problematic for a general election.

But can I just echo the sentiment that the Republicans are nothing if not B O R I N G? I come from a conservative family and a traditionally conservative state (though Florida has–recall the 2000 election fiasco–become a swing state in recent years). If the most exciting, most electable candidate, the one leading the polls in New Hampshire, is McCain, go ahead and bury me alive. I like McCain. Voted for him in 1999. But there’s no way he exudes even a fraction of the energy that was so evident during the Democratic debate.

The one Republican primary candidate that I had researched was Ron Paul. There’s a huge grassroots effort here in Florida and Ron Paul signs are plastered everywhere around town. I like that he stands outside the typical Republican platform, and he is a strict Constitutionalist, but frankly–he seems a little off his rocker. I mean seriously… can we really switch to the gold standard of currency at this point? Can we really stay off of foreign soil without risking our own freedoms? And my gawd, is he whiny! So as exciting as the Ron Paul grassroots movement may be, I just can’t hop on that bus.

But the Democratic debate… my Lord, it was the most exciting, energizing debate I’ve watched in ages. I love the primaries. By the time R and D general election candidates are selected, it’s just Democrats versus Republicans and the platforms don’t change. But these primary elections really do allow for an exchange of ideas, and we saw that clearly during the Democratic debate.

Disclaimer: I’m listening to Hillary’s Living History on CD in my car, so I feel somewhat sympathetic to her when I see her cornered. It’s a shame that “experience” now equals “establishment” and “status quo.” But what everyone is calling Hillary’s low point last night–when she got pissed at Edwards and defended her record of change–was, I think, actually a high point. I want to see Hillary mad, and real, and human. Admittedly, I’m fascinated by her life and curious about her as a person.

Edwards did very well with his “it’s deep within me” and “middle class” messages. I think his zeal is energizing. But I’m very suspicious of his treatment of Hillary and strategic alignment with Obama. It was difficult to watch, because it’s so clearly a strategy and I mistrust the motives. Overall, I don’t think Edwards will win the Democratic nomination, but he was important in last night’s debate in protecting Obama and taking the shots at Hillary. I wonder how Obama would have fared without Edwards.

And Obama, I like him. There’s something about his message of hope and leadership that makes him seem almost like a hero, somebody who can rescue us from some of our pressing problems. I like his stance on Pakistan, and he has never come across as weak or soft on dealing with the threat of terrorism. I love to listen to him speak, because his answers always seem to transcend the questions themselves and refocus outward toward Americans, voters, rather than Washington, but not in the typical lip-service fashion. And there’s something ironically both pleasing and uncomfortable about the idea of a Barack Hussein Obama as President. Strange twist, no?

Bill Richardson, like Edwards, seemed important only in his positioning alongside a major candidate. He made Clinton legitimate again, defended experience, and balanced out the energy and zeal Edwards brought to the stage. The truth is, however, that Richardson is already out of the race. Sorry dude, but it’s not going to happen.

All I can say after watching the debates last night is that I’m excited about the Democratic platform. Although I don’t vote in Democratic primaries, there are three really interesting candidates, two of which I can envision in a general election (Senators Clinton and Obama). The Republicans, however, are a fizzling disappointment in general. No excitement, no firsts (except for the whole Mormon thing). How I wish Condi were running (though even she lacks luster)!

So I’ll stay interested throughout the primaries, and then, once the two general election candidates are chosen, I’ll promptly back out and ignore the pointless squabbling and name-calling until election day. But for now, I’m ready to sign up for a voter registration drive or something!

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3 Responses

  1. I applaud your bravery to write about your political views… I can’t say that I agree with all of it, but appreciate your opinion. I haven’t gotten to involved at this point because there are just to many people to research… I typically wait until the two are chosen by the parties… but I must say that I am very strictly interested in my party’s choice only…

    Have you heard that Huckabee might have had WLS? Wouldn’t that be cool to have in the White House?

  2. I have heard that Huckabee may have had WLS but no one seems able to confirm it. Of course, if I were not praying to have it, I don’t think I’d really care.

    I’m really non-political, but it is ironic that you posted this piece as just yesterday I was sighing in my head about the fact that at 41, I really need to by paying a bit of attention to some of these debates. I always vote and I always vote for who I like best, but it is not always an informed decision. I did like W until the last year or so and now I have to wonder if he has any idea what the hell he is doing, but then again, I don’t totally hate him either. I think he has done fairly well given all that has happened since 9-11. Yes, he has f’d up, but none of them are perfect and I do have to observe that those out there to hurt us have not really succeeded since 9-11 with us taking a defensive stance. The right thing to do? I dunno.

    God, shut me up! I just need to be watching some debates.

  3. Hi! I stumbled on your blog through OH, and I LOVE your style, humor, and honesty. I’m blogging about my experiences too…about to have WLS this coming TUES and I’m loving your writing.

    Thanks for putting yourself out there. I will check back frequently!

    Lacy

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