What the hell was I thinking?? I started falling for Obama because he won Iowa, not really because of anything else. I really don't even find him all that charismatic. And now, after listening to Obama's near-war mongering foreign policy stance to Pakistan during the New Hampshire debates on Saturday night, I think I won't be voting for him after all. I will be voting Democrat during the primary though, and it will most likely be for John Edwards. He was my first choice from the beginning anyway. Governor Richardson from New Mexico talks a good game but his connections to defense contractors make me think he's like a wolf in sheep's clothing, like George W. Bush wearing tie-dye or something.
I realize now that what I thought all along about Obama would most likely come true: that he would be no better than a newfangled Clintonite, whose idea of 'change' is to use charisma and wide-appealing rhetoric, but to have a policy platform a socially moderate, fiscally and politically conservative Republican. Ick.
I guess on some level many people think that because Obama's Black, he will be 'different', politically or otherwise. That he will be honest. That his charisma and abililty to inspire people will mean he will listen to the people who elected him and do potentially unpopular things (unpopular to the 'status quo' powerbrokers, the old Clintonites, the big corporate powers, etc.). But I think most of all, Obama is an ambitious man. A great quality, a winning quality, in a politician, especially one who's running for President against the partner (I refuse to call Hillary Bill's wife, it kind of belittles her role in his administration) of a man who's been hailed as one of the greatest American Presidents of all time. Obama's got a tough fight ahead of him, and he's got the right combination of image, ideals, fundraising and organizing skills, and rhetoric to win that fight.
But what's at the core of his desire to win? Is it truly the desire to want to make change? Does making change mean invading or bombing a sovereign nation that 'harbors terrorists', or even assassinating its head of state (things that he's alluded to in his debate speeches). Who would be next after Pakistan--Iran? Or maybe Cuba? How can he be so against the war in Iraq but so willing to go to war against Pakistan? Will he always feel that his too-African-sounding name means that he has to prove how tough on terrorists and rogue people of color he can be to win the American people's support?
I just can't do it. I can't vote for another Presidential candidate who so blatantly says he stands for one thing but then in his policy proposals does just the opposite.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson contrasts Obama and Edwards a bit in this article. The Nation offers another good piece on race and the Obama candidacy. Ever-reliable Jan in San Fran breaks down the real politics and zeitgeist that's fueling the Obama-mania brilliantly.
Don't believe the hype, folks. Vote John Edwards.