Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro revealed as a hateful bigot. The surprises of this campaign just keep coming. I mean, Jesus Christ: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position?" "I will not be discriminated against because I'm white?" These are things that a klansman says, not a trailblazing woman's right pioneer.

Anyway, I'd been meaning to say something about my growing disgust with the primary, and my decision that I will not vote for Clinton if she gets the nomination, and this bizarre turn is as good a time as any. I voted for Obama, but came slowly to his side. I thought I would support whoever got the nomination. I never considered voting for Clinton in the primary, because she voted for the war. But so did Kerry, and I voted for him in the '04 general election. Of course, that was an "anyone but Bush" vote, but it set a precedent that would benefit Clinton, that I could vote for someone despite their vote at that one pivotal moment.

But as the primaries went on, and it became obvious that Clinton would have a hard time winning the popular vote, or the elected delegate count, I decided that, if Clinton won the nomination in an anti-democratic matter, I would vote for McCain, for the sake of the long-term health of the Democratic Party (it would be so nice if, for just one election cycle, the Democrats could get their shit together; how come we can only retake Congress when Republicans take bribes or try to bone a page). But as it was all but impossible for Clinton to take the nomination by any way other than superdelegate shenanigans, I wondered if I needed to qualify the statement at all, or if I could simply say, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton? And as her campaign got dirtier and sleazier, it became easier and easier to accept that statement, and I make it now: I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Ever. For anything.

In a way, it's an easy decision. I feel very strongly about the death penalty, and would be a single-issue voter on that issue alone, if there were actual candidates advancing my position. The problem is, when there are, they're generally long-shots (Kucinich), or empty protests (Nader), which tend to make opposition to the death penalty a fringe issue, at a time when the public is finally turning against the institution. So I've accepted the political reality that I will vote for candidates that support the death penalty, within reason. In fact, the only notable vote I made on the basis of the death penalty was my decision to vote against Bill Clinton's reelection, when I cast my very first vote, ever. Clinton signed off on the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, whom Clinton deemed fit for execution, and capable of understanding what was happening to him, a judgment belied by Rector's decision, eating his final meal, to save his pie for "later." Clinton had no qualms killing a man, in our name, to prevent himself from being "Willie Horton-ed" going into the New Hampshire primary. I could not in good conscious vote for this man.

And now his wife is running, who lobbied hard as first lady for her husband's crime bill, which expanded the death penalty. Combine that with her willingness to say and do anything to win (Bill Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich has expressed shock that she would actually suggest that her Republican rival is more qualified to be President than the current Democratic front-runner), and I can't help but think that the Democratic Party, and democracy itself, is better off with Hillary Clinton as far removed as possible. Obama is now the rightful Democratic nominee, and Clinton's dirty campaigning shows her to be as concerned with the health of the Democratic Party as Joe Lieberman is. Go away, Hillary.

Two points, in fairness to Hillary: First, Barack Obama is for the death penalty. Again, I have come to terms with the notion of voting for death penalty proponents, as long as, unlike Bill Clinton, they're not untowardly bloodthirsty about it. And second, the Democrat primary rules are fucked up, and that's not Clinton's fault. Doesn't let her off the hook for exploiting them to keep her doomed campaign alive, but still, something needs to be changed. That Democrats deploy both superdelegates and proportional representation in the primary process is beyond absurd; proportional representation heightens the democratic nature of candidate selection, while superdelegates stand against the popular will. You pick one or the other. By using both, the Democratic Party guarantees, once there's a close primary, all hell breaks loose. Which is another reason not to vote for Clinton: If she's President, no way in hell is she letting them change that process on her watch.

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