Tuesday has been designated as "Super" by the political pundits: nineteen states, including my own, will be holding primary elections on the 4th of February, three states will hold Democratic caucuses, and two states will hold Republican conventions. As a Democrat, I have to pay attention to these matters, since fully 52 percent of the pledged delegates will be chosen that day. (Then there are the superdelegates, another matter entirely; Oklahoma has eight of them, five of which at this writing have expressed no preference.)

And with John Edwards officially out of the race — the one Oklahoma superdelegate in the Edwards camp will presumably relocate — it's down to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. For the record, in a straw poll conducted by J. M. Branum, I set down my preferences in the following order: Obama, Dennis Kucinich (since withdrawn), and Clinton. Then again, "preferences" may be the wrong word: I'm not overly fond of any of this bunch, and had he stayed in the race, I probably would have voted for Kucinich, with whom I agree approximately zero percent of the time but who at least conveyed the notion that he actually believed the things he was saying; Obama isn't saying anything, really, and it's no particular secret that Hillary Clinton believes only in Hillary Clinton.

So if I'm an Obamaphile, I'm a reluctant one: better, I reason, a possibly-principled leftist than a blatantly-unprincipled one, and I never did buy into John Edwards' Popular Populism shtick. There's that "experience" canard to deal with, of course: the senator from Illinois might find himself out of his depth in the White House. I believe, though, that just about anyone is out of his depth in the White House; very few people can balance the roles of demigod and whipping boy, and most of the ones that can, I submit, have better things to do with their time than to play politics. (George W. Bush, for all his fumbling, understood both those dynamics remarkably well.)

After the primary, then what? A lot depends on the Republicans. If they nominate John McCain, my choice is easy: I vote against McCain. All those dumb Web quizzes say that McCain's positions, in sum, are closest to my own, but those positions seem to be largely dependent upon who's asking the questions. They say he was joking when he said "What's wrong with sucking up to everybody?" I'm not so sure. And if it comes down to Clinton versus McCain, I'll vote for the rank opportunist in my party in preference to the rank opportunist in their party.

But still, for now anyway, there is Obama. And he might work out well; at least he seems capable of listening. If it's Obama versus McCain, my choice is easy: I vote against McCain. If the GOP nominates Mitt Romney — well, let's wait and see.

The Vent

#567
  1 February 2008

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