I have a lot of friends (and at least one family member) supporting Barack Obama for President. That’s their right, and if the Illinois Senator becomes the Democratic nominee I’ll be happy to support him against either of the Republican candidates.
I went through a period of indecision, but everything became clearer when I realized that my choice was actually pretty simple. The choice we all face is simple and yet profound. Our responsibility is to vote for the person who will make the best President. Period.
- We can’t vote on the basis of who’s more electable. To do so is to allow our political adversaries to make our decision for us.
- We can’t be swayed by the chance to be “a part of history.” Any Presidential election makes history, and everyone who votes is part of that history. (I’ll write later about “identity voting,” which I think is simply prejudice dressed in political correctness.)
- It doesn’t matter which candidate is perceived as more likable. Millions of people thought they liked George Bush more than Al Gore or John Kerry: how’s that working out?
- Without attention to where it’s heading, why it’s important, and how it’s to be accomplished, “change” is an empty promise.
- Substance is more important than style. Rhetoric is valuable only when employed to communicate a meaningful message. The best speaker isn’t always the best President.
- Even the ability to run a good campaign seems to be a poor predictor of success in office. Bush ran a better campaign than Gore or Kerry, but has been a disaster in office.
Most of the people I know who are supporting Obama seem to be doing so for one of the reasons I’ve just listed; I seldom hear anyone suggest that he’s more qualified or that his positions on issues are superior to Clinton’s.
I’ll readily concede that Republicans and independents hate Clinton more than Obama and that he seems sincere and likable, promises “change,” makes great speeches, and has run a fabulous campaign. None of that matters, because on the basis of her experience and the substance of her proposals, Hillary Clinton offers a greater likelihood of success as President.
That means that she deserves–and gets–my vote.