Thursday, April 24, 2008


The other day when I was listening to Air America (or, actually, Madison's local version -- The Mic 92.1) I heard a staggering statistic: apparently more than a quarter of Hillary Clinton supporters say that if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, they will not vote for him. The number of Obama supporters that allegedly will not vote for Clinton is a bit smaller. But still, the fact remains that a huge percentage of people are so stubbornly committed to their candidate of choice that they would apparently rather see another four years of Republican rule than concede defeat. What the hell is the matter with these people??

Do Hillary Clinton supporters really think that John McCain would be a better choice for president than Barack Obama (and vice-versa)? If that's true then they are completely deluded. Because McCain is the darling of the media, he has wrongfully been painted as some type of maverick, Independent when the reality is that in the past year his Senate votes supported the Bush Administration nearly 90% of the time. The same is true for his voting record since he took office. On most of the key issues that Democrats care about he is consistently conservative. He supports the repeal of Roe v. Wade (he was given a 0% rating by NARAL -- National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League), he has a strong anti-union voting record (he has a score of only 15% by the AFL-CIO), he has voted to continue the Patriot Act, to repeal habeas corpus for Guantanamo Bay detainees, he has no type of universal health care plan, he opposes restrictions on assault weapons, he supports NAFTA and all types of free-trade agreements that essentially support
shipping American jobs overseas, he does not support the Kyoto Protocol and thinks we should re-invest oil profits in nuclear power, his solution to public education problems is more charter schools, homeschooling and school vouchers, he thinks that we need more of the death penalty and more prisons and believes in prosecuting youth as adults, he thinks the solution for keeping jobs in America is to further cut corporate income taxes yet he voted against repealing a tax subsidy for corporations that move jobs overseas, he voted against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, he was given a rating of 0% by the ACLU (ZERO PERCENT!), 33% by the Human Rights Campaign, and 7% by the NAACP, he voted against outlawing job discrimination based on sexual orientation and finally he believes that the Ten Commandments would bring "virtue to our schools." Not to mention there are many other things generally wrong with him (like that he doesn't seem to really understand that Al-Qaeda is Sunni and not Shiite).

Do I need to say more to convince people that John McCain is not a friend to the Democrats??! Look, I voted for Barack Obama in the Wisconsin primary. It was a really difficult decision, as I have been a huge Hillary Clinton fan for years and years. (In fact, if only I had a scanner available I would post a picture of me gleefully standing outside her Senate office on my senior AP Government trip to D.C.!) However, I found myself feeling disgusted by some of her campaign strategies, such as the 3 AM phone call ad which I felt essentially said, "If you vote for Obama, terrorists will kill you." Some people think that Obama's lack of negativity shows weakness on his part, and maybe he should fight back sometimes and that
the "I'm a lover, not a fighter" thing won't do us any good in the general election. But for some reason I am really turned off by negativity, and so in the end it was Obama's positive energy that brought me to his side. That and the years he spent working as a community organizer. As someone with a degree in social work, I got really excited by that. But despite my current support of Obama, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I will vote for her. If it ends up that she gets the nomination through some type of back room deal with the super delegates, I may have to hold my breath as I mark her name on my ballot, but I will still do it. Why? Because I am not interested in another four years of the Bush legacy.

So even if you are an Independent that has gone Democrat this year because you like Obama or you like Clinton, let me remind you that these two candidates are much more alike than they are different. If you are willing to support Obama's policies, then remember that Clinton's policies are not so different from his. McCain's on the other hand are a world away. If you are a Democrat and think you would be better off voting Republican than voting for the Democrat that you didn't support: SHAME ON YOU. You will be responsible for the Democrats losing what should have been a guaranteed victory in November. And when you discover that the next four years are just as bad as the past eight, you will have no right to complain.

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