I have been on the fence for some time now as to which candidate I would support in the upcoming primary. My preferred candidate, John Edwards, left the race before Super Tuesday. Those who were left didn’t impress me much.
So I kept reading, kept studying. I listened to the opinions of those I trust, asked myself what “features” I want in a candidate, and was bombarded with blogs voicing one opinion or the other.
As time has gone by, I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated by the sexism and misogyny directed at our first viable female Presidential candidate. While I didn’t agree with many of her positions, and certainly was angry about several of her Senate votes – notably the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment – I was just as disappointed by Barack Obama.
Actually, I’ve been more disappointed by Obama. Hillary only had to convince me she wasn’t as bad as I thought. Obama convinced me almost from the very beginning of his Presidential campaign, but – over the past 16 months or so – his lack of concrete policy details, and his supporters’ eagerness to revile Hillary Clinton in sexist and misogynistic language as well as accuse her of nearly every evil, short of actually calling her the Anti-Christ, turned me away and kept me away.
In the beginning, I was thrilled by his candidacy. I read The Audacity of Hope. I paid attention to what he was saying, and I tried to see exactly where he stood on issues that concern me.
And that might have been the problem. My paying attention, that is. Because the more Barack Obama spoke, the less inclined to vote for him I became. He has some great soundbites, slogans, and ear-worms, but very little to offer, other than the now-ubiquitous Hope and Change.
Hope and Change alone aren’t going to restore America’s image around the world. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to end the war in Iraq. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to insure the uninsured or make healthcare costs more affordable. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to reduce emissions and slow global warming. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to provide desperately-needed jobs. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to protect human rights. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to stop foreclosures. Hope and Change alone aren’t going to strengthen the dollar, reduce the trade deficit, or pay off America’s trillion-dollar debts.
I want a detailed plan that tells me how a candidate is going to deal with the very serious problems facing America. I don’t have to agree with the nitty-gritty so much as I want to see what a candidate considers important, and I want to see what their goals are, and what steps they want to take to accomplish them.
I want to know that a great deal of what I consider important – as a mother, as a woman, as a Pennsylvanian, as a citizen of the US – is also important to my candidate.
Here we are a week before the Pennsylvania primary, and I’m not going to flip a coin or write in John Edwards. Both of which I’d considered, right up until Obama told a bunch of rich donors that we in small-town America are bitter and cling to our “guns, religion, and antipathy” due to the failures of our government.
[Hell, yes, I was insulted, and my choices became one fewer: Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. Certainly my vote isn’t going to the guy who said frustration with our government leads small-town people to guns, God, and hatred. Perhaps said frustration doesn’t lead to said clinging in larger, more urban settings? Except, of course, that wouldn’t explain the amount of violence, megachurches, and gang warfare one finds in the average American city.]
But in the last two hours, my decision became clear.
In particular, the portion of the speech in which she talks about what she will do in her first 100 days as President: [all emphasis mine]
But the question before us is deeper than how the next president will restore our government and our Constitution. The question is how the next president will employ our government. I am here and I am running for president because I have seen the promise of America and I do understand the promise of the presidency and on day one I will bring my hard won experience, whatever strength and knowledge I posses to fulfill that promise. I will start by trying to live up to the model described by Teddy Roosevelt – “All that in me lies to do will be done to make my work a success.” And I plan to hit the ground running starting on day one and throughout my first 100 days.
During that time I will call on congress to send to my desk the bills the president vetoed, from supporting stem cell research to expanding Children’s Health Care and I will sign them, allowing scientists to better explore the promise of new cures for disease- diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and so much else. And we will provide health insurance for millions more of our children as a down payment on achieving health care for all Americans with no exceptions.
My administration will call together meeting of mortgage lenders, banks, community organizations and regulators to negotiate an immediate freeze on foreclosures, because so many Americans are hurting and the projection is that more than 2 million families will be foreclosed on this year. I will call for a timeout on new trade agreements and review all existing trade agreements and I will call on Canada and Mexico to work with me to renegotiate NAFTA.
My budget to congress will restore fiscal sanity while cutting taxes for middle class families to the tune of 100 billion dollars a year, ending tax breaks for oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, Wall Street and others to the tune of 55 billion dollars a year.
I will work with Congress to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill.
My administration convene a summit within 100 days to negotiate a new climate change treaty to replace Kyoto and one that includes China, India and other rapidly developing and very big green house gas emitting nations. I will work with the Congress to submit a comprehensive energy bill that will move us toward ending our dependence on foreign oil and increasing the percentage of renewable fuels we use to produce electricity.
I will overturn the global gag rule to allow nongovernmental organizations to practice free speech and use other funding sources to provide women with access to the full range of reproductive health care around the world.
I will call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and demand that the Pentagon draw up plans to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq responsibly and carefully starting within 60 days of my inauguration. I will reach out to the rest of the world and ask distinguished Americans of both parties to be emissaries on our behalf traveling across the globe telling both governments and people that the united states is willing once again to work with you to try to find common ground on our problems from global warming to global terrorism to global epidemics.
I will sign executive orders ending the war on science, ordering the closure of Guantanamo, reversing many of the anti-labor provisions that President Bush adopted and looking very clearly at what we have to do to rebuild a strong and prosperous middle class in our country.
In short, starting from day one, the Bush-Cheney era will be over in name and in practice. We are fortunate in our country that we get to overturn our government peacefully and thoroughly. The question is the path we select at such an important juncture. I know this campaign has gone on a long time, but elections do end and when the campaigns conclude and the banners are town down and the speeches are finally finished, all that’s left is the choice we have made.
Come election day, I will be casting my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.