True to my word
, I am looking into Barack Obama as a potential candidate for my vote. Tom, Di and I went to see him speak on Wednesday in San Francisco, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which incidentally, was the same place I saw Pearl Jam perform. It was eerily similar to the concert, with Obama Groupies, full security, long lines… very different than when I saw Hillary Clinton speak in Oakland. We got there really early and we were able to get right in the front row (literally… i.e. leaning on the railing that was in front of the stage!), only a mere 6 feet from Senator Obama. I even got to shake his hand. Although he did not entirely win me over, he did say many things I liked. Here is a rundown:
- He mentioned changes in US action regarding Darfur
- He mentioned changes in digital privacy, including privacy on the internet
- He attacked Hillary without ever saying her name (but obvious to all)
- He talked about change in all the usual areas… Iraq, Taxes, they same stuff Hillary says too
The only difference between what the two candidates are talking about is that Hillary is actually specifying how she is going to accomplish her goals, not just mentioning change, waiting for applause, and moving onto the next point. [EDIT 11/17/07] *Obama does have lots of detailed info pertaining his platform on his website, much more than Hillary. It seems only in speech that Obama does not share particulars. [END EDIT] If Hillary is labeled as “too-much of a politician”, Obama should be labeled “not-enough of a politician”. Hillary speaks eloquently and precisely, leaving the door shut to criticism though often avoiding hard-questions. Obama seems to have no rehearsed answers, but leaves the door open for attacks and contradictions. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I like better about Obama, such as his refusal to take campaign money from lobbyists, and his down-to-earth, seemingly honest demeanor, but I don’t think it is enough to win me over.
Both candidates would make a good president but overall, my vote for Hillary is increasingly likely based on one reason: Skeletons. A very effective Republican political strategy when faced with a new Democratic president, designed to derail the new presidents momentum, is to dig up as much dirt as possible in the beginning of the term to prevent the President from acting on their campaign promises. This happened with Bill Clinton and Whitewater (and later Lewinsky), Carter and the Banking Irregularities, JFK and his women… And it will happen to the next President. The difference between Obama and Hillary on this point is that Hillary already has her “Skeletons” out of the closet, her secrets and private life already over-exposed to the media between 1992 and 2000, under a relentless Right. Any further attacks on her past will make her look more like a victim while making Republicans look like bullies. If she wins, the only hope Republicans have in keeping their policies lies in the House. When Hillary becomes President, and the House turns blue (I hope), there will be nothing to stop major change and reform in tax policy, health care, military action, education, citizen privacy and all the other areas currently butchered by the current Administration.
Nothing is final until I cast my vote though…