Super Tuesday ended without a clear winner being crowned in race for the Democratic presidential nomination. By all indications, it looks like it will come down to the wire.
To begin with, I want to say that I believe Clinton or Obama would be a better president than George W. Bush has been. So, I don’t want to come off overly negative on Clinton. Paul Krugman provides some sound technical reasons to prefer Clinton over Obama when it comes to health care. Krugman is also correct that a full suite of Rovean attacks will be launched at either Democratic nominee.
The rational side of me even agrees with Krugman that the nature of American politics will be partisan for years to come but, that doesn’t stop me from hoping for a different future. The president is a leader. A great president is someone who inspires us. Someone we are willing to make sacrifices because they call upon our help. America has already managed to dig a massive hole for ourselves and the world. I believe we need a leader, a president, who will inspire us for massive tasks that lie before us, not necessarily the most experienced and skilled political technocrat.
After 9/11, the United States changed, we changed. We are a country that openly tortures. We wage wars of aggression based on proven falsehoods. We have proven incapable of upholding the rule of law and sustaining our system of checks and balances on power. Even the short-term problems we face as a nation are almost overwhelming to say nothing of the long-term issues surrounding nuclear proliferation and the threats posed by climate change. In that respect, viewing a future with Hillary Clinton as president feels more like trying to go backwards in time. It conveys a message that after 6-8 years, this nation finally decided that it didn’t really like the policies of George W. Bush and decided to go back to Clinton, or the closest thing we could get. A decision I agree with, but is that all we really need to say? After all that has happened? After all we have done? Is that all that we have learned?
Lawrence Lessig gives a presentation on his choice between the two candidates. He conveys a similar point. Both candidates offer change. Clinton offers a change in the guard, away from the policies of George W. Bush. Obama offers a change in how we approach the every issue in politics. If one believes the nature of politics won’t change, that it will always be like a fight between cats and dogs, then I understand giving their support to Clinton for better handling of specific concerns. However, if we want a transformative figure in politics, someone who demonstrates that there is another way of solving our problems and resolving our differences, then I think Obama offers something that Clinton just doesn’t.
The largest mistake the cynical make is to underestimate the naive and determined.