Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Second Thought...

Recently, I commented whether or not it would be wise to switch parties (I still have six days!) and vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary here in Pennsylvania. At the time, it seemed like voting for Clinton would be the wise maneuver, for the primary reason of keeping the Democratic primary race open until the actual convention, thus fomenting chaos and tearing apart the Democratic base, bolstering McCain's chances in November.

That was before the "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright came along.

Now polls indicate that Hillary has a huge lead over Obama (we're talking in the 10-20 point range here). If these numbers hold true, would there be any reason to vote for her at all? Does she need a complete blow-out to stay in the race, or only a solid (say, 5 point) victory?

That leads to the next question: would my vote be better spent, then, on Obama, to keep Hillary's apparently inevitable lead down? Or should I just salve my conscience and stay Republican, and vote for John McCain (or even write in Fred!) in April? I have some serious thinking to do.



Anonymous Marty said...

I'm staying Republican. As it turns out, the Democrats don't need any help with their bizarre orgy of fratricide. McCain is already practicing acting Presidential, which one of the Democratic candidates, based on their current course, won't be able to even attempt for months.

It's weird how this stuff breaks out. I heard about Rev. Wright and of some of the things he has said, months ago. I knew, if this stuff got wider circulation, that it would make people start thinking of Obama as "black"(*) and this would have a bad effect on his candidacy. Why it has traction now when it didn't then, I don't know.

(*) You always have to explain these things nowadays. I've always argued at Mazurland that Obama had several strikes against him. One is his name. Actually, all three parts of it. It's has a lot of baggage to it. And you don't have to be a conspiracy mongering, ultra-right winger to think it will have some effect. In politics, especially among the general electorate, perceptions of identity will matter. The other thing is his race. Again, I do not argue that a black should not or will not ever be President. In fact, I think the first black President will likely be Republican. The reason for this is that a black Democrat will usually come from the 90% of Blacks who invariably support Democratic candidates, and who often are wedded to the identity politics, victim mindset, and socialist policies of the current black leadership. Obama sold himself as being "above race", and was successful enough to even appeal to some Republicans. But the Wright affair is making people see Obama as "black" in the sense of being someone who has a strong, divisive race identity. It may be unfair to him. He is not a "typical" black in his background, privilege, or upbringing. But he has, for 20 years, associated himself not with just a "crazy uncle" who says the occasional nutty thing, but a committed, fire-breathing, racist ideologue.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

Oh, Lord, don't write in Fred!...the most it'll get you is a smug yet fleeting sense of satisfaction and probably a "Pfft..." from whoever's doing the tallying.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Not a Fredhead, JD?

What if I switch parties to (D) and write in Fred? I think then the smug sense of satisfaction will be more than fleeting...

And I just don't see much sense voting for McCain at this point, de facto nominee that he is.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

No, I'm not really much of a Fredhead, but it's not so much that as the fact that a write-in for him would be an empty gesture (again, except for any personal joy you'd derive). Since things are pretty well settled on the red side, the only place one can hope to have any impact is in the Dems' primary.

Hell, that's part of the reason I switched this year: down here, it's so rare that our votes really make much difference (not that I'm necessarily complaining about the end result, mind you) that it was nice to have a dog in the fight for once. Then again, one can make a good argument against such a move, so I suppose it's all in what you like.

If you really want to be different, follow our lead from this past gubernatorial election and write in Kinky Friedman! It could be a whole new movement, complete with a catchy motto: "Kinky: He's no weirder than ronpaul!"

7:02 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Wait wait wait... so JD, you "switched" parties in the Texas primary, but was it for strategic purposes, as described on this blog, or does "a dog in the fight" indicate that you really do support the reason for your switch? 'Cause man, that would be a cryin' shame.

Also, given Hillary's huge lead over Obama here in PA, I won't be switching parties. And as for the "empty gesture" thing, pretty much ANY vote by an individual in a non-close race is, in fact, an "empty gesture". A vote for McCain would be, arguably, MORE empty, since it would garner me neither emotional NOR electoral significance, whereas a vote for Fred! would at least confer the former, if not the latter (unless I can convince about 100,000 of my closest friends in this state to do the same...)

7:42 AM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

Actually, my choice wasn't purely motivated by strategy or a strong candidate preference, although they did come into play in some sense. The way I thought of it was as follows: given that the Republican candidate (whom I personally prefer above all others, and not just because of his party affiliation) is already decided, which of the Democratic candidates would I prefer as a second choice?

I realize this rationale doesn't really further the strategic goals of the Republican party, but I'm actually not too concerned about that for three reasons. First, I think McCain is the most likely of the three to appeal to on-the-fence voters, for more reasons than would be convenient to list here, so I'm not too worried about doing damage to his chances in November. Second, I owe more allegiance to the basic philosophy of what I'd call "true conservatism" (which shares a startling amount of common ground with ronpaulism, as we've discussed previously) than to any particular party, so my vote is intended to support that idea. (Lest this seem a little hypocritical in explaining a vote for a Democratic candidate, this is still with the caveat that McCain is my top choice, and my selection is therefore relative.) Third, I wasn't willing to run the risk of my "strategic" vote unintentionally helping a candidate I see as fundamentally unqualified into the White House.

Now, sure, in your case, I agree that switching wouldn't really give you the kind of impact it did for me. In our case, it was a close call, and it was exciting to be part of an election in which the nation was watching (hence the "having a dog in the fight" comment). In yours, since it does seem to be a done deal on both sides, I'd go with what you prefer (even if it is a purely symbolic Fred! write-in).

9:28 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Okay, now I'm even more thoroughly confused, although I think you're playing coy. Did you... did you vote for Ron Paul? Or, given the "switching parties" talk, did you vote big-L Libertarian? I'd say the former is worse, but not by a huge margin. But you've got me worried now...

1:35 PM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

Oh, heavens, no...I certainly didn't drink the ronpaul Kool-Aid. Besides, with McCain being my preferred Republican candidate, such a move would've been counterproductive. Likewise, I didn't go Libertarian, either. Although some of their ideas are appealing to me, I haven't yet found one of their candidates I can wholeheartedly support. (Plus, had that been true, I certainly wouldn't have been teasing you about a Fred! write-in being a hollow gesture!)

2:47 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Well, you're still being coy. Who'd ya vote for? Nader? Please say Nader, so I can open my mouth and scream and point like in the invasion of the body snatchers.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

You wound me, sir...there's no way in hell I'd vote for Nader. Blech. I honestly would've written in Kinky Friedman (for whom, by the way, I did vote in our last gubernatorial race) first.

I'll just say I voted (and caucused, even!) for one of the two major Democratic candidates and leave the rest to your imagination.

On a brighter note, happy Easter!

10:40 AM  

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