Voting, Etc.

I voted for Obama last Tuesday in New York's Democratic primary despite the fact that I distrust his rhetoric of bipartisanship & especially his habit of framing the debate on economic issues in right-wing terms. For example, accepting as given that there is a "social security crisis." I also think his health care plan, lacking mandates, is inferior to Clinton's. (I'm in pretty much the same boat with Battlepanda on this cluster of issues.) But overriding my distrust of Obama's rhetoric is my visceral reaction to the establishment of American political dynasties. I'm perfectly happy to have Hillary Clinton as my senator, but I don't want her to be president. I just think it's a bad idea. I even "like" her personally, insofar as one can like of dislike someone one has never met. But when I add Clinton's vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq and her general DLC/corporatist orientation, I did not have to hesitate long before pulling the lever for Obama. (And, yes, we still pull a lever in my rural NY county -- it's about time we modernized the voting system, but the state government is so corrupt neither party seems capable of meaningful reforms.) I am hoping that Obama, once elected, will learn to rumble with the Republicans & will begin to work toward a more progressive form of politics. Perhaps it is a vain hope -- I've grown pretty cynical in recent years -- but it seems that such a scenario is more likely with Obama than with Clinton. Those are the calculations I'm making, at any rate. I certainly don't feel any surge of enthusiasm for Obama personally, as so many apparently do; I do, however, feel a desperate need to remove the radical right from executive power & I think, in addition to what I've already noted, Obama is more "electable" than Clinton.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

4 thoughts on “Voting, Etc.”

  1. I’m supporting Obama, but how he builds a campaign around turning the single word “change” into a mantra really grates on me. “Change” not in the context of anything is just an empty vessel that people project whatever they want into.

  2. We tend to discover our own opinions and I agree there’s little wood in Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue where I see a New Versailles, 100s of aircraft per day arrive to kiss and solicit…. Political Dynasties? Jefferson warned the capital should be physically moved each generation. The Guardian posted an acerbic piece about how we’ve come to accept a political class.

  3. I prefer Obama’s mandateless healthcare plan to Clinton’s unless subsidies are generous for those who would find it difficult to afford. I recently read a piece about the ‘universal’ healthcare mess in MA, partially involving the mandates of that plan. Of course I’d rather see single payer universal healthcare, modeled on Medicare or perhaps just Medicare extended to everyone. The problem, of course, is what to do about the insurance companies. The only thing I can suggest is that a Medicare-type plan would compete with the for-profit insurance companies. If it was a good public plan, then the insurance companies would either have to reduce rates or increase benefits in order to compete.

    As for the call for ‘change,’ I’m also hoping that progressive change will be possible. There’s such a mess to clean up after Bush that I’m really not sure there will be money or energy enough to do more than cosmetic change in the next few years. But maybe I’ll be surprised.

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