Hillary, Barack, Iraq, and 2008's Prospects

- - posted in politics

Those of you who’ve known me or have been reading my writing for a while will already know quite well my opinion of Hillary Clinton as a senator and as a presidential candidate. Now that Barack Obama has, essentially, thrown himself into the fray, I think some further discussion needs to happen.

First and foremost, this country seriously lags behind not in minority rights, but in minority status. Whereas minorities in this country have less and less every decade that holds them back, the fact of the matter is that the distribution of income and status in this country is neither uniform across race nor across genders. This is definitely the right time for more women and more people of all colours to get into politics. While I think it’s fantastic that an increasing number of women are getting into politics (kudos and propers go out to Nancy Pelosi, our first female speaker of the house), I think there’s cause for some caution in the 2008 elections coming up. Just as it would be wrong to vote for someone in a presidential election only because they were a man, it is equally wrong to vote for a woman only based on her gender. I feel like, with things the way they are and with Hillary Clinton running, there’s a good probability she will get swept up by the gender vote.

This is a problem for me, because while I do think that Mrs. Clinton is very intelligent and certainly qualified for the Presidency, I disagree with so many of her policy decisions, stated opinions, and political allies that I could not bring myself to vote for her in ‘08. I think there are a tremendous amount of others in this country that, while perhaps not for the same reasons, do feel the same way. I disapprove of her record on the Iraq war, for one. Only just now is she saying that troops need to be redeployed away from Baghdad, and she voted in 2002 to approve the war to begin with. She has also ardently opposed any set timeline for troop removal. As if that weren’t enough, she is buddies with Joe Lieberman and Tipper Gore, and supports their calls for censorship of video games—policies that I cannot abide.

It is definitely my opinion that, barring a serious coup from Obama or Edwards, Hillary will get the Democratic nomination, possibly by a wide margin. I don’t think that she would perform well in a national election, though, and that’s really the problem here.

Let’s talk about Obama for a minute. Let’s make this clear right off the bat: I like Obama. His continued, consistent opposition to the war in Iraq, work on improving Pell Grants (even though that bill got pigeonholed), and his immigration reform notions (which I found to be slightly more sensible than many alternatives) have all been pretty good. As a junior senator, though, the big question on everybody’s minds is, is he experienced enough to be president? That I’m not so sure about. Even though I do think he’d have a pretty good chance of being elected, I’m not 100% sure yet whether or not he’d make a good president at this point. He’s a junior senator here in Illinois, and he’s only been in that national office for less than two years now. He did also serve in the Illinois state senate, but is that really enough? I believe it’s possible, but I can’t really know for sure.

We’ve still got a ways until it all throws down. For right now, let’s focus on not letting this decaying republic fall apart. Until then, space cadets!