WHY I SUPPORT HILLARY
Well, I just sent Hillary Clinton the most money I've ever donated to a political campaign. I supported John Edwards until he withdrew from the race. Since then, I've been debating internally which way to swing, towards Hillary or Obama.
I think it's fair to say that since I supported Edwards, it's obvious I'm not influenced by identity politics. While thrilled by the historic possibilities of electing the first black or woman to the presidency, I based my support purely on issues, and Edwards' well-conceived populist policies were more appealing to me than the stances of the other candidates. In point of fact, on all the "candidate matches" available on the 'Net that I engaged in, I agreed more with Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd on the issues (John Edwards was third), but based on what I perceived as their relative electability, I chose Edwards.
Now that choice is not available to me. So I've struggled to find an alternative. I've not caught or even "gotten" Obamamania -- he's a fine orator, but when I listen to him I don't get the goosebumps that are characteristic when I spot the "next big thing" for me -- goosebumps I got when I first heard Harry Chapin or Melissa Manchester sing, the goosebumps I got in 1977 when we moved to Arkansas and I met Bill Clinton, or in 1988 when I first got to know Al Gore. And as a communications professional, words matter to me, superior speechifying can electrify me. When Obama speaks, I admire but don't feel my spirit soar. And I'm troubled by his seeming to run to the right of Hillary on healthcare and national security. Yes, he spoke out against the Iraq war when he had no skin in the game, but since then his voting record and Hilllary's on the war are almost identical -- he SAYS he was against Kyl-Lieberman, but then ... he DIDN'T VOTE.
As for Hillary, it's often been assumed by people who know me that I'd be an advocate for her because I'm widely known as a partisan Democrat in this prodigiously Republican Dallas business environment AND I'm an executive WOMAN. But nothing could have been farther from the truth. As I repeat ad nauseum, I'm quite a bit to the left of Hillary on policy issues. (For instance, I was firmly, and volubly, against the invasion of Iraq.) But I have been proud, as a woman, of how she's dominated the debates, demonstrating her total command of the issues.
But I've been leaning towards Hillary lately because I simply don't know enough about what Obama would actually DO as president. This nonsense about unity sounds good to so many, but after the hyper-partisanship Republicans have demonstrated for the past dozen years or more since Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" Republican revolution, I say we could use a great deal more DEMOCRATIC unity and partisanship, not less. When people speak of bipartisanship, I cringe in the knowledge that what that actually means is Democratic capitulation.
Much has been written in the press and broadcast in the electronic media about Bill Clinton's supposed racial innuendoes. Much less has been mentioned about Obama's ungraciousness to Hillary. (Even my boss, a Massachusetts Democrat, has remarked on the dismissive "You're likeable enough, Hillary" comment and Obama's turning his back on Hillary at the State of the Union address.) And I've been completely turned off by the media's almost uniformly anti-Clinton bias and hit squads, for whom nothing is out of bounds. Hillary is "pimping out" daughter Chelsea for the campaign, when every single candidate throughout modern history has engaged his children in his drive for elective office?
That did it for me. I'm finally offended seriously enough to act as a woman. And no, I'm not what is considered Hillary's base. I'm a college-educated, upper-middle-class working woman.
I'm weary of the declarations that since she continued a marriage with an unfaithful husband she must have some kind of unholy ambitions that only that alliance can fulfill. I am a born-and-raised evangelical Christian, too, and we're taught that marriage is sacred, that forgiveness is not only possible but an imperative. I have many Christian women friends who have done exactly what Hillary did, forgave and continued to love not only for the sake of the family unit (which itself is a virtue) but for the sake of true, spiritual love. My own marriage is a similar partnership -- two strong, intelligent people who complement each other, who share ideals and goals and children ... and passion. I have no doubt that this is the basis of the Clinton marriage as well. Forgiveness is essential to an enduring marriage, and I challenge anyone to produce an example of a long-term marriage that has not required that.
So yes, I've finally succumbed to outrage about the gender card. It is unthinkable to bring up Obama's race (as it should be), but it is entirely the norm to demonize the woman. I don't relish the ugliness we'll confront when she is the nominee and gasp! the POTUS -- an ugliness that will be fostered by the Maureen Dowds, the Eugene Robinsons, the David Shusters and the Frank Riches. And these are supposed LIBERALS ... albeit the same liberals who trashed Al Gore in 2000.
Were Hillary's policies less acceptable to me, I wouldn't choose to risk it. But I'm human enough to admit that as a woman who has fought the glass ceiling for decades and confronts gender discrimination every day, I'm more than ready for Hillary to stick it to the pundits and talk show hosts who regularly call her "Her Thighness" and comment on every detail of her appearance (when they'd never think to mention John McCain's pervasive age spots), her speech patterns ("like fingernails on a chalkboard"), and her family relationships (how much have you heard about McCain's divorce in the MSM?).
So there it is. My mind and my heart have coalesced behind the Hillary campaign. And my money has followed suit.