All entries for Thursday 14 February 2008
February 14, 2008
With 4 candidates left in the US election, I was trying to figure out why Hillary Clinton winds me up the wrong way. Now obviously she’s one of those people that hates videogames, something that I like very much so there’s a certain pre-disposion there, but there’s also something else.
You see, the three other candidates remaining seem like they care. They seem like they stand for something, that they want to bring change. McCain may be a Republican but he’s against the blatant warmongering of the Bush administration, has condemmned torture and seems to actually give a shit. Likewise Obama, he’s a Democratic candidate but not in the traditional mould. In fact it’s his youth that stands out for me more than his colour. It feels like he wants to move things on, improve politics in general and deal with the issues. And then Huckabee. Right-wing raving Jesus-nut Huckabee. I hate pretty much everything he stands for, but at least he’s willing to stand up for it, to say that he wants to change things and do things differently, even if what he wants to do is abhorrent, I admire the passion behind it.
But Hillary: I don’t feel like I have any idea what she’s about other than ‘winning this election’. I’ll be honest, I felt the same about Romney and Edwards, but supported Edwards as the easy Democratic victory. Hillary doesn’t offer that easy win but shares the same vapid policies.
One of the nice things about the US elections, and what makes them more interesting than our own, is they’ve resisted much of the homogenisation that’s happened between Tory and Labour in the UK. The two parties are still idealogically opposed and the effect of that is felt in practice. But Hillary’s campaign doesn’t strike me as idealogical, unless you count ‘I must win’ as an idea. The remaining candidates are, I feel, passionate about running the US, and about what is best for the world (however misguided they may be), whereas Hillary is passionate about winning. She want’s to go down in history as the first female President, she’ll leverage that to her advantage when needed but never really talks about what that will mean, if that’ll mean certain sexual equality issues will be bought to the fore or such. Obama, meanwhile, doesn’t ever give the impression of wanting to be the first black President. He just gives the impression of wanting to be President. So he can do the best job he can. Same with McCain, same with Huckabee.
It’s rare in politics to have something like this, an election where people have a real belief in the candidates and a respect for them, a real feeling that people actually want these people as President, rather than deciding they’ll vote for the lesser evil. Hillary isn’t part of that. And in any other year, with other non-entities like Gore, Bush, Kerry et al standing she’d run away with the nomination and likely the election. But this year, somehow those fringe candidates, the ones normally blasted out the running early on because they have personalities and aren’t just by-the-numbers politicians have come through and tied up the entire race. Few expected Obama to do this well. McCain was practically ruled out six months ago and Giulliani expected to sail to victory. Even a month ago no-one could have predicted Romney dropping out before Huckabee.
It almost restores my faith in humanity that, when given a choice of potential leaders, people are finally saying “fuck the politics of it, lets elect someone good”. If Hillary wins the Democrat nomination (becoming less likely by the day it seems) I could almost bring myself to support McCain.
You’ll note, of course, that in this Country we can’t do that. The parties elect leaders behind closed doors, and because of all the deal-making and power-brokering that goes on you always end up with someone middle-of-the-road that doesn’t really stand for anything as they’re a result of everyone comprimising. Then we get to vote for one of three such figures. Yay.