Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A vote for change?

But that assumes people really want change, as opposed to what looks like change. And there is a difference.


—Neil Macdonald, the CBC Washington correspondent.


Read Macdonald's entire essay here.

Macdonald has an outsider's insight into the appeal of Barack Obama. His thesis is that Obama offers the image of change more than the substance of change. There are candidates for president who would deliver real change if their programs were enacted (e.g., Kucinich, Paul [in this case it would change for the worse, e.g., a return to the gold standard], Gravel, Edwards). Obama, on the other hand, has a platform that is very similar to that of Hillary Clinton. He is a middle-of-the-road candidate on most issues.

This is not to say that the election of Obama would not be a watershed moment in U.S. history. A person of African ancestry in the White House would be, without exaggeration, amazing. One cannot underestimate the importance of such a historical precedent. And Obama would make a much better president than George W. Bush. But if one wishes to vote for a candidate who would attempt to enact significant changes in the policies of the U.S. government, Obama is not that candidate.

If Obama gets the Democratic nomination for president, I will certainly vote for him. I plan to vote for John Edwards, however, in the Democratic primary in New Jersey on February 5th. The only thing I can foresee that would cause me to change my vote is if Edwards withdraws from the race before February 5th. Even if that were to happen, I still might vote for him in order to give him a chance to control a strong block of delegates at the Democratic convention.

I don't want to vote for Hillary Clinton, although I would vote for her in the general election if she were the Democratic candidate. I understand the position of those who are voting for her because of all the misogynistic venom being directed at her. I also understand what a watershed moment it would be for the U.S. to elect a woman to the presidency. I really don't like the idea of another Clinton in the White House though. Our country should be free of dynastic power. It isn't, of course, but that doesn't mean we should simply acquiesce to the perpetuation of political dynasties.

Hillary Clinton has not been a terrible U.S. senator. She has also not been a particularly distinguished U.S. senator. She would make a much better president than George W. Bush. But we can do better than her, whether it is for the Democratic nomination in 2008 or for the first woman to serve as U.S. president.


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