Friday, January 4, 2008

Eye o' ah

I'm feeling motivated, and why the heck not. Here's my thoughts on that raucous caucus. Well, half of it -- I don't especially like any of the leading Republicans, so I was pretty ambivalent about their half of the night.

Obama, Clinton, Edwards — in that order

Up until about a week ago, I was in favor of Clinton, with Obama a close second. I actually came into this process most excited about Edwards, but the more I heard of him, the less impressed I was. His domestic views are laudable (if a bit populist), but he has next to nothing as far as foreign policy. We aren't some small country that can focus exclusively on its intramural problems; we are the world's dominant superpower, and our leader should reflect that.1

Between Clinton and Obama, I favored Clinton mostly because I think she's the more experienced, and probably smarter, candidate. The two are fairly similar in many of their views, except that in the traditional stick-and-carrot balance, Clinton seemed less hesitant to use the stick — which I agree with. On pure, apolitical merit, I still think Clinton is better. Of course, apolitical merit only goes so far in politics.

About a week ago, I switched my allegiance for a purely pragmatic reason: I think Obama's more electable. Say what you will about voting on that strategy, but I think it's an important consideration. I'd much rather have a great shot with Obama than an okay shot with Hilary. The caucus vindicated that more than I expected it to, since Obama's fairly significant lead was almost entirely in the independent voters — among Democrats, the three leading candidates more or less tied.2

In short, I was happy with the results.

Taking the 'M' out of 'MVP'

A few weeks ago I had discussed with some friends the possibility of a Clinton-Obama ticket — which we liked — as well as an Obama-Clinton ticket — which we liked more but thought unlikely. As I think about it now, both of those would be the wrong way to go. Clinton and Obama are similar enough that they'd compliment each other more than they'd complement each other, and that would be a waste.

What I think I'd really like to see is Obama-Edwards. The two would make a great team, with Obama able to focus more on foreign policy and broad domestic agendas, and Edwards really battling it out domestically. The guy who wants to fight for the middle class, who wants to take on the big corporations with conviction and even enmity, but who won't necessarily have the time to look at foreign policy as much — that's the perfect guy to have in as vice president. Obama's charisma and calming words would mix with Edward's fiercer posturing, and the two would play good-cop-bad-cop fantastically against those corporations.

Get off my lawn!

One last thought: The media hints at it a bit, but I think there's really not enough emphasis put on the moral victory won last night by a politically repressed demographic: young people. We've grown up listening to our elders talk all the time about how the nation's youth is apathetic and uninformed, which I think many of us would disagree with. Well, the "under 30" voter turnout last night tripled compared with the last two presidential races. That's actually not as impressive as it sounds at first; the "over 30" turnout roughly doubled, so we younguns only slightly increased our showing measured as a percentage of total caucus-goers. 3 Still, the media is starting to notice that we're not the politically retarded people we've been painted as, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Questionable quotations

"None of this worries me — Sept. 11, there were times I was worried."

Rudy Giuliani, once again unintentionally living up to the joke

"To end the political strategy that's been all about division, and instead make it about addition. To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states. Because that's how we'll win in November..."

Barack Obama, who forgot that the opposite of division is actually multiplication, and who talks about how bipartisanship is how he plans to beat the other party

[1] Those who know me hopefully realize that I don't say that to be jingoist. If anything, I say it with resignation, since I think little good ever comes from one country wielding so much power.
[2] Today on the Presidential Campaign Trail (accessed Jan 4, 2008; no longer available)
[3] Revised Estimates Show Higher Iowa Youth Turnout than Expected (accessed Jan 4, 2008)

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