Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What difference does it make?

Look, if I have to choose between a Democrat and a Republican for president, of course I'll choose the Democrat. There's no question that a Clinton or Obama or Edwards would be better than a McCain or Romney or Huckabee, however incrementally. But it's really, really hard for me to get caught up in caring whether it's that Clinton or Obama or Edwards. They are virtually indistinguishable to me, and I am amazed that each candidate's supporters can muster the enthusiasm to rally behind their supposed differences.

It's no secret that I say that all the Democrats are too conservative for me, but I should probably unpack that a little. Most of the Democrats are, on most social issues, acceptable. But on the hot button topics, they are all equally insufficient. Which of those three candidates supports marriage equality for lesbians and gay men again? Oh yes, that's right, none of them.

On foreign policy they are also near-clones. None of them is against war, though they're all against this particular war -- the quibbling is simply over who was against it first and how long to keep it up. And while it's admirable that I don't see any of them championing a new invasion during their term, they all maintain the "support the troops" and "strengthen America's defenses" pro-military rhetoric.

And on economic issues, there's no question that the differences between the candidates virtually disappear. It's not a question of who supports universal healthcare, it's a question of which capitalist, market-based boon for the private sector you want to use. It's not a question of who is taking money from industry, it's a question of which industry is going to get the most in return once the president takes office. Who wants to put decisions in the hand of those affected by them? Who wants to put the minimum wage above the poverty line? Not a Democrat, that's for sure, and certainly not one of the frontrunners.

So why should I care if Clinton or Obama or Edwards wins the candidacy? Democrat is Democrat is Democrat.


  1. I'm pretty unabashedly a progressive/dem-left type, so I don't know how much this is worth to you, but here's why I'm pretty enthusiastically with edwards over the other two, despite his many flaws: He's the only one talking a game of fighting the established power elite. Clinton already is part of the established power elite, and obama keeps pushing a message of reconciliation.

    Like Dale over at Amor Mundi put it today: If the choices are cynical triangulation among incumbents or naive collaboration with incumbents and a fighter against incumbents, choose the fighter... unless you are yourself a beneficiary of incumbency.

  2. Yeah, but Edwards is part of the established power elite, too, unless I imagined his 6-year Senate term and $30 million in personal wealth. I've been as baffled by Dale's enthusiasm over Edwards as anyone else's.