Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OK, Make That Hillary Clinton For President

Today both John Edwards and Rudolph Giuliani dropped out of the race for the White House. Senator Edwards was the only candidate I really felt good about -- one I would vote for because I believe he'd make an excellent President, just not that he'd be less of a disaster than the opposing candidate. Mayor Giuliani was the only Republican in the race that wasn't totally unpalatable to me. He's the only one I'd even consider given my pro-choice position, my belief in equal rights for all Americans, even gay and lesbian Americans, and my support for restrictions on handgun ownership. There are a lot of Giuliani's positions that I'm uncomfortable with but from the Republican field he was the best available.

Of the choices remaining I have no doubt that Senator Hillary Clinton would make the best President. She is a two term U.S. Senator with what I consider an excellent voting record on the issues important to me. If I go by issues and not personality or campaign style there is no question that she has the qualifications and experience to be President. I don't believe the same can be said for Senator Obama.

One key issue to me is support for the State of Israel. I believe anyone who doesn't understand Israel's importance to the United States as a strategic ally in the Middle East doesn't have much of a clue about foreign policy. Since entering the Senate Hillary Clinton has been a steadfast supporter of Israel. She admitted early in her first term that it wasn't always so and many on the right will never forgive her for a certain meeting and photo op with Suha Arafat when she was First Lady. Senator Clinton claimed after entering the Senate that studying the issues in the Middle East forced her to alter her position. Whether that change was heartfelt or a political necessity for a Senator from New York I simply can't say. I can say that her voting record, her speeches since then, and her actions show that she understands the importance of Israel now. Once again, I am not sure I can say the same of Barack Obama. There isn't much of a record there.

Perhaps in four or eight years I'll be convinced that Senator Obama is ready for the Presidency. Perhaps then I will look at his record and extol his virtues. I can't do that yet and in a dangerous world we need an experienced leader. Senator Hillary Clinton is the best remaining candidate with the credentials to be that leader.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

John Edwards For President

While the pollsters and pundits were pronouncing John Edwards' campaign for President dead after his third place finish in New Hampshire, Democrats in Nevada were showing their own independent streak. The latest polls from Nevada show Senator Edwards in a statistical dead heat with Senators Clinton and Obama. The Nevada caucuses are followed by the South Carolina primary. Senator Edwards was born in South Carolina and won the state primary in 2004. It's certainly possible that a win in Nevada would revitalize his campaign sufficiently to make him very competitive there.

I'm urging everyone to ignore the pollsters and pundits, the same people who predicted a big Obama win in New Hampshire that never happened. These are the same people who also left John McCain for dead months ago in the Republican race. He doesn't seem dead now, does he? 47 states have yet to vote in the race for the Democratic nomination. The people of those states will decide who the nominee will be, not a bunch of TV talking heads.

Having said all that I'm asking every Democratic voter to reconsider John Edwards for President. Here's why:
  1. Electability: While I personally think Senator Clinton has done a fine job representing New York in the U.S. Senate I seriously question whether she can win a national election, pollsters and pundits to the contrary not withstanding. Hillary Clinton is a divisive and polarizing figure. Most everyone has already made up their mind about her and she has huge negatives. I find it very difficult to believe she will attract the independent and moderate Republican voters she would need to win in November. Senator Obama has things in his past that the Republicans will use to swiftboat him. By contrast Senator Edwards has a record of being able to successfully defend against attacks from the Republicans and to attract unlikely voters. I lived in North Carolina, a truly conservative red state, when he defeated incumbent Senator Lauch Faircloth, a protege of then senior North Carolina Seantor Jesse Helms. Edwards came from 30 points down in the polls to win that race.

  2. The Economy: As a recession looks more and more likely, as oil companies and other huge corporations continue to make record profits, as the housing crisis fueled by predatory lending practices deepens, and as middle class Americans increasingly worry about their economic future, I think more and more people will realize that Senator Edwards economic message makes good sense. We need a leader who is not co-opted by large corporate interests.

  3. Health Care: Senator Edwards is correct when he says that mandatory coverage is a necessary ingredient of a successful national health care program. Insurance companies make their profits by spreading their risk among a large pool of insured. There is no larger pool than everyone. A mandatory program spreads out the risk as far as is possible and will be less costly than a program that simply doesn't insure everyone. Making health care available isn't enough.

  4. Foreign Affairs: Senator Edwards has shown himself to be both knowledgeable and sufficiently experienced to understand and deal with the challenges we are facing in the world, particularly in the Middle East. Senator Edwards also has a long record of supporting Israel, our most important ally in the region. While Senator Clinton also has a good record vis a vis Israel since entering the U.S. Senate I feel that Senator Edwards' support has been unwavering and heartfelt.

  5. Learning From and Admitting Mistakes: Senator Edwards voted to authorize the war in Iraq. He has been willing to admit that was a major mistake in hindsight. Senator Edwards ego isn't so huge that he can't admit a mistake and learn from it.
I could go on but those are areas where Senator Edwards is clearly different than the other two serious contenders for the Democratic nomination. I urge everyone to study Senator Edwards' record and join me in supporting his candidacy.

Technorati Tags: