Super Tuesday

February 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm | Posted in politics | Comments Off on Super Tuesday

Months and months ago, before the Democrats had even declared their candidacies, I wished aloud that Hillary would not run.  I like her and admire her, and I think she has been a very effective senator.  However, at the time I felt she was too polarizing to run in a national election.  To wit:  my friend’s 70-something mother-in-law in Ohio wrote checks to Rick Lazio when Hillary ran against him for the Senate.  Why would a retired Ohio woman send money to a hapless, unknown candidate half-a-continent away if she didn’t quite literally hate Hillary?

However, as Hillary’s campaign picked up, I was reminded why I liked her.  She is articulate, smart, and knows her way around the government.  When her husband stumbled out of office in the shadow of Monica Lewinsky and even those who loved him and supported him were left with a bad taste in their mouths, what did Hillary do?  She didn’t divorce him (as perhaps she should have, but anyway), nor did she sneak off to oversee his library or something, but she ran for Senate.   To me, that shows courage and committment. 

At the same time, I love Obama.  I love reading about him, I love hearing his speeches.  Enroute home from Jamaica Plain yesterday, I drove through Roxbury, and standing in the median of the road were throngs African-American supporters holding signs, laughing and waving at passing cars.  As Roxbury transitioned into the South End, the supporters were still in the medians, but they too had transitioned into white senior citizens, still laughing and waiving at cars.  The juxtaposition was moving.

So as I headed in to vote at the Boston Public Library this morning, I still was undecided.  But in the end, I couldn’t not vote for Hillary.  That’s not really how I envisioned making my primary choice.  Someone on Crossfire last night (Tim and I are sort of addicted to the political pundrity shows these days) summed it up well:  women feel that if they don’t vote for Hillary, they’ll let down their mothers.  And if they don’t vote for Obama, they’ll let down their daughters.  Well, my mother (surprisingly, to me) is voting for Obama.  But that’s how I feel:  Hillary is as smart and qualified as any male candidate has ever been, and I hate to think that I’m voting for her because she is a woman.  But I kind of am.  And I know that if she wins the nomination my fears from a year ago about the antagonism she inspires in so many Americans probably will come true — see Stanley Fish’s recent Times editorial.  Nevertheless, I feel like I would have been letting down my daughter if I didn’t vote for her. 

That being said, I was kind of sad not to vote for Obama.  Gail Collins wrote an editorial in the Times last week saying that their political positions are so similar that you just have to vote with your gut.  In the end, that’s what I had to do.

As Tim and I walked out of the library, a reporter from a Dutch-language newspaper called De Morgen stopped us for an interview.  I’ll have to get my Dutch friend Ank to translate it online for me tomorrow morning to see if we made the cut.  The only time I’ve ever been interviewed for anything, and only about 200 Dutch-speaking people in Brussels will read it…

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