Monday, January 28, 2008

Primary (Secondary?)

You probably didn't hear, because I'd be pretty shocked if anybody who reads my blog also listens to him, but Rush Limbaugh is so fed up with his party that he's threatening not to vote Republican. Well here comes only slightly less disturbing news: I just read an editorial that might have convinced me to vote Republican.

See, the author makes the point that at least in the primary, and in a state like mine which will always go Democrat, it doesn't matter all that much which Democrat we vote for. It's really early in this process. I've been switching my loyalty like crazy over the last few weeks: at first I was an Edwards girl, maintaining my support from the last election when I met Elizabeth and she knocked my socks off and convinced me of her husbands' integrity; then I wavered over to Hillary's camp for a while, because like any woman who grew up in this country I would love to see a woman become president, and I do long wistfully for a return to the economic stability of the last Clinton presidency (not that I personally care that much about the economy for my own gain, but I don't think that the way we're going into debt is responsible and also I'm pissed that as a saver not a debt-spender, interest rate cuts hurt me), plus I was buying the rhetoric that she's got the experience and the contacts to make things actually happen in Washington; but then lately, just in the last few days, J's been convincing me to think more seriously about Obama, because he's not as politically entrenched as the Clintons and therefore, as voters from the Kingdom not of this world, we always want to go with the freshest, least encumbered person, the one who may actually really change something. His calls for unity are nice but probably naive, but I do think he's got a bit of the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" going for him (of course, Mr. Smith didn't get all that much accomplished, but he was darn inspirational). I also have to admit that reading Caroline Kennedy say that he inspires her the way she imagines her dad inspired people was kind of neat.

SO, that's been my journey, and I am still waffling. I have my different reasons for voting for each person on super Tuesday: Edwards, because I'd like him to know that people really do like him and it's just because of the historic-ness of the other two candidates that he doesn't have a shot; and Obama, because of what I said above and it would be cool for him to carry a massive state like mine; and Clinton, again because even if she's not nominated what a victory for a lady.

But then I read this editorial from yesterday's Times (remember in this blog, that's always LA Times). And the dude made a really great point: while the Democrats are all pretty much similar when it comes to policy ideas (although I do not want to be forced to buy insurance by Clinton, because that will force us into a crap overpriced policy since we don't qualify for real insurance as long as the insurance co's are in charge), the Republicans are all over the map. You can barely tell that Huckabee and Guiliani are from the same party! Now all of them pretty much make me retch, and I'd never vote for any of them in a general election when it counts. But the temptation in the primary is to fuck with the Republican Party. You realize what we independents could do? We could cast votes that tell the GOP that they no longer need to be in the pockets of fundamentalists or even rich bastards. We could really mess with their minds. It could potentially change that party's platform entirely. Especially if people like me - who, from the outside, seem to be one of those dear Evangelical voters - vote for a pro-choice, pro-gay candidate like Guiliani, or someone with a great record on campaign finance reform like McCain.

What a thought! To use my little ol' independent vote to actually make a difference. I feel like in the Democratic race I won't make much difference - I'll add my vote to millions of others that will pretty much shake out the same in the end. And by the general election, whichever Democrat we have to choose will be infinitely better than whichever Republican, so that's easy (although J has been saying he'd possibly go for McCain over Clinton, again because she's so bought into the Washington game with all her corporate contributors - and what is UP with her being on Wal-Mart's board??). I really think that any Democrat will beat any Republican, sheerly on the strength of the hatred for Bush in this country. But that poor new president will have a lot of work to do to undo Bush's legacy, and may not even be able to address his or her own issues for a while.

Anyway, I dunno, maybe this is stupid, but it's kind of exciting and idealistic, and that's when politics is actually really fun. I remember how fun it was to hate Bush in 2004 (didn't do much good, and when he won, I cried for days, but for a while I felt like I really cared). It's something serious to consider, nudging the GOP back to something...not Democratic, but not so hardnosed either. Something that would open them up to fresh voices. The editorial put it this way: "Republicans may be deciding something fundamental about the direction of their party. Democrats are just choosing among slightly different headings on the same general course."

Now I like that general course and it's definitely the one I will choose in the end. But I also like the idea of messing with the Republicans. It's just a little naughty and in the end, could actually help that party out. But then, I'd have to figure out which of those bozos to vote for...and let the waffling begin again.

P.S. here's the editorial by Ethan Rarick

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