Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Vote For Idealism

First of all, I don't know about the other contributors feelings on blogging about politics, but I know that I'm not going to be able to keep myself from blogging about the upcoming election on a somewhat regular basis. If you don't want to read my thoughts on politics, then I expect you'll just not read my posts.

Anyhow, today is "Super Tuesday", the day when nothing really happens, but there are really good new graph technologies on CNN. Heading into today I was really, honestly torn between voting for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. As I think I've expressed in previous posts, my feeling is that the prudent vote at this point goes to Clinton, and the idealistic vote goes to Obama. I think we know with Clinton we're going to get a president that's a solid B+ and that she won't really be better and she probably won't be worse. Obama, on the other hand, has the potential to be an A or even better, but also might go down in flames, or at least be like a C.

I have never had to think so hard about which candidate I wanted to vote for. Voting for Bill Clinton in 1996, Bill Bradley and then Gore in 2000, and Kerry in 2004 (the nomination was wrapped up by the time the New York primary rolled around) were all no brainers for me. This year I read a lot about it, I watched all the Meet The Press I could, I even read Maureen Dowd's column for the past couple weeks (which is getting harder these days. We get it Maureen, you're cynical. Very clever). I even looked fairly specifically at some of their policy platforms. At the end of the day, I really feel like the two candidates are pretty similar, in fact I believe that they are only marginally different. Requiring Americans to buy into a health care plan is not exactly a difference. It is, but you know what I mean.

It really just comes down to two things for me. First is electability, second is that prudence vs. idealism thing. If I felt like one of these two would be entirely outmatched in the general election by the Republican nominee (which is looking more and more like McCain), then I would vote for the other guy. Honestly, though, even there I see that they both have convincing arguments. Clinton is entirely prepared to go into the general election today, whereas she may lose momentum come November. I think Barack will have to build up steam by first changing is message for a more cnetrist audience, and second weathering the personal attacks that would undoubtedly begin in earnest come August, but I think he would really get the proverbial train moving later in the race.

At the end of the day, I had to make a decision. I was still not 100% convinced either way as I walked into the voting booth. My decision came down to this. I'm 29 years old, this is the last time I will vote as a "young voter" with my heart rather than with my head, and I decided to cast a vote for idealism, rather than prudence. I voted for Barack Obama.

I'm still not convinced that I made the right choice, to be perfectly honest with you, but I don't regret my vote. And I could not be more happy that my vote will actually count for something because 1)the nomination is not yet decided and 2)New York is not a winner take all state (Clinton has already been projected as the winner) so whatever proportion of the vote Obama receives will determine the number of delegates he receives.

If my guy doesn't end up winning the nomination ultimately, I will happily vote for Clinton in the general, but for today I'm still young, today I'm still an idealist, today I voted for the guy who most closely represents me and my background.

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