Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Real Call for Change

Hillary Clinton cannot win this election. No matter how capable and intelligent she is, and I believe her to be well qualified in both those areas, Clinton is far too polarizing a figure. She attracts as much negative reaction as positive. A recent CNN and Time poll demonstrates not only this fact, but that Obama stands a much better chance of defeating McCain.

Although hardly a scientific survey, my mother, my study of one, sees a much deeper shade of scarlet than Republican Red. You can't get much lower than Hillary for her: untrustworthy, deceitful, con-artist, huckster, and rapid destoryer of health plans are terms that merely begin to scratch the surface of how she feels. This is what approximately half of this country thinks about the senator. She raises hackles beyond reason; she polarizes simply by existing. There's nothing that she can do to change this.

My mother's reaction to Obama? "I don't know if he has the military experience." Hardly the visceral reaction she has for Clinton.

One factor that's gotten some but still surprisingly press is the Bill factor. His presence alone is a huge handicap and not just because he shot his mouth off recently. Not only will the possibility of him returning to the White House, even as first husband, galvanize Republicans to rally around McCain, but it will also lead indepedent moderates and undecided voters to vote Republican simply because they don't like him or because they don't think a former president should return to the White House in any capacity.

Although the delegate counts are roughly equal, I'd say the choice here is instinctual. The mere reason that Obama and even McCain has faired so well is that they are seen as change. If the American public wanted politics as usual, Clinton or Romney would have easily won. Obama is also winning in a lot of different states; his appeal is clearly far broader than Clinton's, winning more states and the important bellweather state of Missouri, which could have easily gone to, and probably should have gone, to Clinton. Ohio is the next bellweather test for Obama. If he can pull off a victory there, it will position him well for the nomination.

The biggest mistake that can be made is a fractuous display in caucus over the nomination. If the nomination ends up looking anything like Florida in 2000, it won't matter who gets the nomination; the party will be too divided to sweep anyone to victory.

I am somewhat heartened by the impending nomination of McCain, mostly for what that represents than for the man himself. I see McCain's wins as a refutation of the extreme socially conservative sector that the Republican Party has so closely courted the past eight plus years. I also see this as hope that our country is tired of divisive politics and policies. Huckabee's success in the South, unfortunately, does demonstrate the reality that the claws of religious fundamentalism are still attempting to retain their chokehold on the Republican party. But, I think most people are tired of that. I think that most Americans, like myself, see James Dobson's rant against John McCain as a ringing endorsement.

So, if I'm right, and I hope I am, then this is especially why Clinton is the wrong choice. Whether she is or not, she appears divisive; she doesn't have the voice of reconciliation (although she is often lauded for her cross-partisan work). People want change; they want a new voice; they want reasoned and considered leadership that works for the citizens of this country and not the corporations. People want our country restored to its former greatness; they want us to be participants in the world, to see our global citizenship restored. People want hope. And I do believe in the audacity of hope.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Red Letter Evangelists May be Blue Party Voters

Tony Campolo interview on the February 4, 2008 showing of The Colbert Report.

Campolo is a representative of a subgroup of evangelical Christians who believe that the Religious Right has gotten it wrong. Campolo, and those he describes as Red Letter Christians are interested in relieving the suffering of the poor and support gay marriage on the basis that Jesus would want civil equality for all people and would not want any person oppressed. They may theologically still believe that homosexuality is a sin, but don't see that as appropriate reasoning for denying people civil equality.

Make no mistake that Campolo considers homosexuality a sin, a problem. Based on sermons he has delivered, he believes that true gay Christians must remain celebate. That point of theology aside (and, yes, it's a pretty significant difference in theology), he at least promotes the idea that gay people should be accepted as any other member and shames the church for failing in its mission and ostracizing instead of embracing anyone desiring to be loved by God. He also clearly makes the point that sexual orientation is not likely to change and that no simple answers exist as to why people are gay. Even though I strongly disagree with his strict reading of the Bible, I am glad to know that there are evangelicals out there who advocate for social justice and getting back to the love of Christ.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Presidential Predictions

We will be no closer after tomorrow to seeing a clear Democratic nominee unless Hill fails to caputre Cali.

Obama will do very well in the South, taking most if not all southern states. Obama has Illinois.

Hillary will do best in California, New England states and the Southwest.

I think we'll see a 50-50 split in the middle states.

McCain will emerge as the clear Republican nominee after tomorrow night. Romney gets Utah and Mass only and subsequently goes down in flames - yea!

Romney will be greatly undermined by Huckabee pulling numbers from him in the South. Romney is a first-class Yankee and we don't like Yankees in these parts.