I have been trading e-mails with a few friends recently who question my support of Barack Obama (not questioning in a bad way, just exploring why I am supporting him as opposed to Clinton, McCain or someone else). Here at Wheeeeeres' Luke, we try to remain above the whimsical passions of election season, and endorse a candidate based only on solid foundational principles, not the mere fact that we like him because we picked him first (that's right fuckers, it was December of 2007, when Hillary was still picking furniture for the Oval Office ). But I guess it is possible that we are just as susceptible as the population at large to getting caught up in the excitement of one candidate -- and the loathing of another -- that we start jumping to the conclusion as a way of answering the question. In other words, does my (or our) support of the Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular stem from little more than the fact that I (and we) support the Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular? I don't think so, but it's good to make sure sometimes.
Democrats over Republicans. This should be pretty easy. There are some bad apples in the Democratic party as there are in the Republican party, but, as a rule, I think that a Democrat as president is more likely to appoint progressive judges (and not just to the Supreme Court, but to the Circuit Courts of Appeal, which people always overlook), I think a Democrat as president is more likely to fund social programs that reflect a more progressive agenda (maybe not progressive enough for all of us, see the Defense of Marriage Act and Bill Clinton's complete sell out of the gay community in 1996, but more progressive than a Republican president), and I think that a Democrat as president is more likely to work aggressively to find a way to get us out of Iraq than McCain would. Yep, that was pretty easy.
Obama vs. Hillary. As to why I prefer Obama specifically, I still think this should be a pretty easy call. First, he is not, and has never been, someone who panders to each tiny little micropopulation the way Hillary does. The gas tax nonsense is just one more example in a long line of politically-inspired rather than progressively-inspired ideas that she has championed. Hillary does not talk about fuel efficient cars when she is in Detroit, and she does not talk about gay rights when she is visiting a church in Georgia (side note: if you have time, the whole video, about 30 minutes, is worth it). Barack does. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that Hillary wants to be President as an end in and of itself, and that he wants to be President to change the country. I have no idea if he can do it, but I am quite certain she cannot. Hillary's staunch ("defiant," according to the media outlets that like her) refusal to quit the race in the face of the overwhelming numbers lined up against her seems to further this conclusion: she is in this for herself, not her party or her country.
McCain v. Obama. The issue that everyone comes back to here is experience, but I think it is way, way overrated. What "experience" does Obama need that McCain has? It's not like Barack is going to accidentally nuke France (although . . ), and then just go "my bad, my bad . . . it's my first day." He has demonstrated an excellent command of key foreign policy issues, and he talks in measured tones about our interests around the world rather than spouting off idiotic and tautological platitudes like "they hate us for our freedom." Puke. McCain is a seasoned veteran of military issues, sure, but he himself has acknowledged that he doesn't understand our economy that well. Does that mean that McCain isn't qualified to be President? No, it just means he will have advisers on that issue and an array of others. Just like Obama would. America is too big to suggest that one person needs to have command of all of the issues in order to be president. The presidency, more and more, is about a platform of issues and ideas, and the president is a figurehead and spokesperson for those issues and ideas. Obama is as qualified as McCain (if not more so) to be that spokesperson, and the Democrats' issues and ideas are the ones that resonate so much more with me than Republican ones.
Ok, I guess the entire point of this post was to convince myself how right I am (we are) to support Obama and how wrong everyone else is. I suppose I could have kept that to myself.