January 30, 2008

I'm Voting For America's Mayor

I’m sorely tempted.

Giuliani is apparently about to exit after running a pathetically anemic campaign. If you can’t come out ahead in this field of Republican snoozers, you should really examine your political career. It’s like not getting picked to go onstage at a comedy club open mic when the other choices are a divorce lawyer, a sales guy from Radio Shack, and the voice that announces the stops for the green line on the Boston T.

But still, I’m tempted. After all, it’s been drummed into my head that Rudy is America’s Mayor. It’s hard to argue with a meme like that. Rudy’s vision for the future of America is for us to endlessly replay 9/11 in our heads. It’s dawning on people that 9/11 helped us to make a whole slew of bad decisions, and Rudy is like the political equivalent of the plot of Superbad.

You know when voters say, ‘Oh I was so afraid of terrorism, I shouldn’t have voted for that candidate.’ I can be that mistake!

But I don’t care. It worked on me. Rudy can drop out of the race, but as soon as Massachusetts gets its crap together and we have the chance to vote in a primary, I’m going to cross over to the Republican side, grasp my ballot firmly and write in the first blank space: AMERICA’S FRIKKIN MAYOR 9/11 with a big, bold check mark next to it. If I have time, I’ll scribble a tiny American flag next to it.

Call me chicken for waiting until he dropped out of the race before I voted for him, I don’t care.

I kid, but now I remember why I voted for McCain (against Bush) in the 2000 primary instead of voting for a Democrat. By the time it gets to Massachusetts, the Democratic Party primary ballot practically looks like this:

Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary Ballot
Please Check One Box
Do You Like Ponies?
  • Yes

Edwards has dropped out and not thrown his support behind either of the front runners. So, basically, he’s telling me that if I did my homework and decided he was the candidate most in line with my values, I have to go back and do my homework again because I can’t vote for him and he’s not going to tell me who he has the most faith in.

So, less choice by the time we get to Massachusetts, and little help from John Edwards in making that decisions. Thanks for your time.


Posted by James at January 30, 2008 1:47 PM
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So what, you hate ponies now?

Posted by: David grenier at January 30, 2008 2:34 PM

It's interesting. this is the first time that the mass democratic primary will mean anything since I began voting. Going back to 1988 every democratic primary either had a Mass politician which meant no one else had a chance in the state(Dukakis, Tsongas, Kerry). Or was a sitting president/vice president with no real competition (clinton/Gore). This is the first time where there might be an actual choice on the democratic side in 24 years.

I have done what you did last time a couple of times (I voted against Bush in 88 and Dole in 96) but gave up when I forgot to reregister as unenrolled and haven't gone back.

I'm not terribly excited by either of the Democratic front-runners but I'm leaning toward Hillary at this point. That said either one of them would work for me. Their last name not being Bush and not having an R next to their names and all.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at January 30, 2008 2:50 PM

To me, an actual choice means more than 2 people. But you're right - this is a choice compared to absolutely no choice.

I'm leaning toward Obama. Although Clinton is smart, highly motivated, and will be able to pull together a great team.

It's nice to not feel like I'm going to have to make a choice on electability.

Posted by: James at January 30, 2008 3:19 PM

I preferred Edwards to both of them, even though I felt he was weak on foreign policy, because I thought he would be our best bet for economy issues.

Oh well. I'm still more enthusiastic about both Clinton and Obama than I was about Gore or Kerry. Or even Original Clinton in the 1992 primary. (It was just him, Tsongas who I didn't like much either, and Jerry Brown on the Florida ballot. I voted for Brown.)

However, I'm not going to say that I'm leaning towards Obama. I'm just plain supporting him. I have always preferred him to Clinton. And Mr. Clinton, who I've always liked, is actually starting to turn me off.

What I can't decide is: do I feel more strongly about Obama vs. Clinton, or McCain vs. Romney? I think, maybe, for the first time in my life, I'm going to have to be a Republican for a few minutes on Big Fat Super Tuesday. It's going to take a lot of tequila to get rid of that unclean feeling afterwards, but I fear that the alleged unpredictability of McCain is far preferable to the extremely predictable screwing we'd get from Romney.

Posted by: Julie at January 30, 2008 3:48 PM

Obama/Edwards is still a possibility. I really doubt you'd see Clinton/Edwards.

Hell, after 8 years of Bush, a lot of us are thinking that choosing a random citizen to become president would be an improvement.

But I wonder about the people who have turned on this president. The guy was clearly a loser to begin with. SNL even called it with their skit about the 2000 election with the country falling apart after 2 weeks or so. Are they looking for someone to tell them the same nutty stories so they can believe them all over again? I don't think people learn from their mistakes; I think they blame someone else and move on to make the same mistake with someone else.

Posted by: James at January 30, 2008 3:59 PM

If you registered as an independent you can cast a vote in the Republican primary for anyone but Romney just to spite him for the way he has trashed our state at every opportunity.

Posted by: Mike at January 30, 2008 4:06 PM

I remember. Everything was on fire, and crazed ostriches were running around everywhere. You might call it mayhem. I'd call it a barbecue.

Sadly, things did not turn out as well as SNL predicted. I don't know how many more years of this we can take.

Posted by: Julie at January 30, 2008 4:14 PM

I am leaning slightly toward Obama. Of course, the pundits have told me Hillary has a double digit lead here in CA. That should ensure her victory. I'll go out and vote, but how many others will see it as a foregone conclusion.

I liked Edwards last time, but he hasn't come out with anything new on the whole "Two Americas" thing. Going back to a failed slogan to me is the sign of bad decision making.

Posted by: briwei at January 30, 2008 4:38 PM

This is interesting. Either I'm going to get off my ass and really try to figure out who will be a better president (because honestly, I'm sucked in by Obama's charisma and repulsed by Billary's lack thereof and I need to get past that), or I'll vote in the Republican primary again because dear god we can't have Romney as our president please I'm begging you don't do this to us again don't make the worst possible Republican choice the actual president.

Posted by: Maggie at January 30, 2008 5:14 PM

Bri -- I think some people might call that "consistency." That's his thang. Isn't it just a teeny bit refreshing that he doesn't change his whole message based on the advice of the marketing department??

Posted by: Maggie at January 30, 2008 5:16 PM

Edwards probably thought people would be in a more receptive mood about those "two Americas" by now. Alas, people just get offended when you tell them they're being screwed.

Posted by: Julie at January 30, 2008 5:23 PM

Yeah, I was thinking that maybe he actually believes it. 'Cause I kind of agreed.

Posted by: James at January 30, 2008 5:29 PM

(I understand that Bri was criticizing his delivery, not the underlying idea)

Posted by: James at January 30, 2008 5:30 PM

Thanks, James. That is what I'm saying. If you believe in something, but people don't buy into it the way you are telling them, you need to tell it a different way. The fact that he wasn't able to realize THAT gave me pause.

Posted by: briwei at January 30, 2008 6:40 PM

I'm probably more interested in this race than I ever have been.

Given Hillary or Obama, I think I actually lean toward Obama. Maggie I'm with you on this - His charisma definitely plays a part, but I also think he puts forth a better vision for us. I'll admit I need to look deeper, particularly in foreign policy. I think Bill Clinton is a lout and Hillary will be too polarizing. There is never a middle ground with her - people either love or hate her, and that is just plain bad.

Given McCain or Romney, I'll take McCain. Romney outright scares me. I mean, my skin crawls when I see him on TV...I keep thinking about Damien from The Omen 3(?). I don't need any other reason than that, though I will say what attracts me to McCain is also in the superficial stage; I think he's more willing to break ranks with his party to compromise, and he knows first hand what it means to suffer in uniform.

Yeah, lots of homework to do still...not much time to do it, but if I had to decide right now, I'd be more inclined to make sure Romney doesn't get the nom.

Posted by: Bull at January 31, 2008 1:55 AM

It's highly unlikely that Edwards would take the #2 spot on the ticket again. It's also unlikely that Clinton would take the #2 spot on an Obama ticket. I like the idea of a Clinton/Obama ticket. With that you get her experience and his hopefulness and commitment to meaningful change. If Obama gets the nomination, he will have to leverage an experienced democrat as his #2, probably someone from a western state (I'm guessing here). Wonder who'd bite.

My biggest fear with Obama is that we'd end up with another Carter: someone who the people liked but who can't get the entrenched players to work with him for the changes he rode in on.

Posted by: Kitten Herder at January 31, 2008 5:25 AM

A month or two ago I read an article (unfortunately I think I was waiting for K to get her hair cut and I have no idea what I was reading, probably Newsweek) about who each candidate would likely choose as a running mate. Choosing an opposing candidate wasn't a choice for any of them, according to this author. It was based on balancing their ticket. The only specific bit of information I remember is that Hillary Clinton wouldn't choose Obama because she would already have the Black vote.

I think the fear that Obama would be another Carter is valid, although again, he has more charisma, and I do think that plays a part. I understand that Bush has charisma, I fail to see it, and I never saw Clinton's charisma either, but compare them with Bush the senior and other candidates with no charisma, and you can see that it's important. A person with charisma knows how to sway other people to his/her point of view.

Posted by: Maggie at January 31, 2008 9:27 AM

Lest you forget what it's all about:


Frners takin' our good strawberry-pickin' jobs!

Thank you,

--The Republicans

Posted by: Patti M. at January 31, 2008 1:52 PM

You forgot torture and Jesus.

Posted by: James at January 31, 2008 2:29 PM

And fear. Be afraid.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 31, 2008 3:15 PM

I just have this vague fear that Obama isn't really up to speed. Every once in a while he says something that makes me pause and think "does he really mean that"? I worry that we're voting for the most charismatic and that's really not what I want. We (well somebody) voted for Bush because he "seemed like a nice guy who I'd like to have a beer with", that worked out well didn't it? I don't agree with you Bull, people either loved or hated Bill Clinton and he's been the only decent president of my 40 year lifetime (actually Nixon wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't a crook).

You guys have it all wrong on the republican side by the way. If you want a democrat in the White House vote FOR Romney (I know take a deep breath). He has no chance in the general election but McCain could sneak in there.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 1, 2008 8:19 AM

9/11 worked well for Rudy

Bill Richardson for VP (i'd be voting for him if he had staying in it).

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 1, 2008 8:22 AM

I was waiting to see which candidate picked Bill Richardson to be their VP, and that person would get my vote. Well, that hasn't happened yet.

After reading that Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Kennedy (D-MA) have endorsed Barak Obama, and Senator Frank (D-MA) has endorsed Hillary Clinton, I was even more conflicted. I respect all three of these senators, and was hoping to rely on their endorsements for guidance. Then I realized I had to do a little reading on the Clinton and Obama sites last night to find out for myself what the differences are.

I found striking similarities on vehicle fuel efficiency, smart grid, and health care coverage.

A discussion of one issue I found on the Obama site that I did not find on the Clinton site was faith (see Reconciling Faith and Politics, http://www.barackobama.com/issues/faith/).

I don't like this, and it makes me uneasy. If you're religious, that's nice for you, and you don't have to be "in my face" about it. I am not religious, and having religion be so prominent in the discussion of politics disturbs me.

We've suffered through 8 years of compassionate conservatism and faith-based initiatives, and I'm sick of it. This creeping religiosity serves to polarize people and punish some (for example, gay marriage, gay adoption, inability of gay couples to file joint federal taxes, abortion on demand, and using my tax dollars to fund a child's relgious education through school vouchers). America is not a theocracy, and we we need to take religion out of the conversation with respect to how we lead this country right now before we continue down that slipppery slope.

All of this, coupled with what my husband has articulated about experience, or lack thereof, and the charisma vote, makes me lean towards Clinton. Yes, I find her voice grating at times, but I don't need my president to be my friend, I need my president to do the job.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 1, 2008 8:46 AM

Their differences over health care is what steered me towards Obama in the first place. Other things (like Clinton's statement that she won't meet with certain world leaders until she's been in office for a year - I see her point, but it still strikes me as wrong) strengthened that preference.

Now, after last night's debate, I'm a lot less concerned about the differences between them, mainly because I can see that they are both aware of, and have thought seriously about, and sort of agree with me, on the issues that are important to me. In any case I trust either of them to do a good job.

It was very strange last night, listening to two intelligent opponents at the same time. I'm not sure I've ever experienced that before.

Posted by: Julie at February 1, 2008 9:53 AM

I'm still a little conflicted, and when I have a chance I'm going to check out the religion page you point to, Patti, thank you.

I'm very worried about electability. Clinton has the name, and let's face it, many people vote brand.

I had read a book called Don't Think of an Elephant, Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, by George Lakoff (I'm not checking, but I believe that's the title and I have the spelling right), and it struck me as very intelligent. The things that frustrate us -- the idiotic sound bites that Republicans use, like "flip flop," and carefully crafted over time. They make sure that these quick phrases conjure up a whole range of values in people's minds. Progressives don't have or do that -- they just talk...talk...talk. Most people don't have the attention span to listen to that, and I personally also believe that when somebody says something in a short and clever way, the cleverness gets attributed to the idea, not the way it's phrased. So a cleverly phrased idea seems more clever than an idea that's actually more intelligent.

I think Obama is a better speaker than Clinton. Last night I would hear her say something and I'd think, "well maybe Obama is learning from that," I know that's a horrible thing to think about somebody and then vote for them, but OTOH, I have to trust that he will have intelligent advisors for his policy.

I think what we need is a diplomat rather than a cowboy, and obviously either would be a better diplomat than our current pres who is neither but who thinks he's a cowboy, but I think Obama would be a better diplomat and uniter.

That's my thinking right now, please help me if you've got something that will expand my thinking.

Posted by: Maggie at February 1, 2008 10:02 AM

Okay, that should be "flip flop," ARE carefully crafted over time.

And Patti, I don't agree with you about religion. I'm glad I went to that page, because his religious background had been vaguely bothering me but I hadn't looked into it. I think he's saying EXACTLY the right thing. What I hear is this:
1. Progressives ignore issues of faith, allowing the conservatives to have a monopoly on the discussion, and rather than talking about shared values and moral obligation, they use faith to divide;
2. Progressives need to address the values we have in common and our moral obligations.

Obama needs to take back issues of faith for progressives, to appeal to people of faith. How can the religious right argue with moral obligation? Not well. I mean, they can argue, because they're some of the most irresponsible, un-Christianlike people on earth, and I hope that Obama's message will unite people with the same moral underpinnings -- faithful and atheistic alike.

I think he's on the right track. You can't ignore these people. I don't get a scary vibe from what he says, and he knows what he's talking about. I think he's the right person to move this country away from the bible.

Posted by: Maggie at February 1, 2008 10:14 AM

Not sure I can help really. I would be fine with either.

I can't stand listening to Hillary speak. She comes across as a harpy to me. That being said her speaking skills are pretty low on my list of priorities. After all I've had to listen to someone who thinks subliminable is a work for 8 effing years.

I think Hillary's experience is more pertinent, especially regarding foreign policy. She brings Bill with her there too, which can't hurt.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 1, 2008 10:16 AM

The level at which we're discussing differences says to me that either candidate would be fine, as these are practically nit picks.

This really makes me wish I was unenrolled so I could vote to swing the MA primary vote by voting on the Republican side.

I am definitely going to unenroll after this primary.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 1, 2008 10:24 AM

After writing all that, I thought, "I wonder who George Lakoff is endorsing, if anyone?"

I found this article he wrote for the Huffington Post:


I say Obama. Really... Obama. Hillary has experience, but it sounds like "I've learned from my mistakes" experience -- how much did she actually accomplish, and why didn't she accomplish more? Can Obama accomplish more? I honestly don't know, but I think he can because he's more charismatic. I don't like listening to her speak either -- nobody does! That's not a good quality, because many people listen to how people say things as much as what they're saying. A person with charisma can push things through much more easily than a person without charisma, and she just doesn't have charisma.

Obama held her chair for her. He spoke personally to her. She did more pointing and waving at the audience. She had weird expressions on her face while he was talking, where I felt a normal person would have been laughing or smiling naturally. She doesn't put across a genuine vibe. His opening statement was natural and human, hers was smarter but was obviously crafted.

They ARE small differences, I agree. And I'd obviously much rather have EITHER of them than either of the two Republican jerks. They're both terrifying. But Obama gives me real hope that he can bring people together in a way that recently has seemed very important to me.

Posted by: Maggie at February 1, 2008 10:33 AM

Not that you can believe anything Ann Coulter says, but have any of you seen this:


Posted by: James at February 1, 2008 11:39 AM

I noticed last night that Obama paused to collect his thoughts far more often than Clinton did. This could mean that Clinton was better-prepared than he was, or it could mean that he's more willing to re-evaluate something on the fly.

Or it might mean nothing. I know I've said a million times that I'm not comfortable with Clinton's glibness. On the other hand, last night's performance suggested that it might be more than rote memory after all. She seemed truly ready for any question. That could come in handy during negotiations.

I'm still concerned about her polarizing effect, though. On the other hand, Bill was supposedly also a "polarizing" figure, yet he could probably win another election today (even if I have been annoyed by his tone lately).

BTW, I cracked up the other day when Romney compared McCain to Nixon. You gotta be kidding me. Between Bush and Romney, calling someone "Nixon" is practically a compliment. And that's saying something.

Posted by: Julie at February 1, 2008 11:44 AM

Yes, Coulter's a dope most of the time, but I agree with her that Clinton (both Clintons, in fact) are somewhat conservative (and pro-business, I might add). In a less conservative-crazed world, they'd only be considered moderates.

I can live with a moderate. That's fine. It's not what I'd prefer, but it's not bad.

McCain is something of a wildcard in that there's really no way to know what he'd do as president. Neither Coulter nor anyone can be sure how conservative he really would be as president, when he no longer has to suck up to people.

Only he, if anyone, knows for sure what he's really thinking. Normally, I would find this frightening. But I truly don't think he cares about most of the religious-right causes. That's something. I also truly don't think he's going to give a rat's ass about returning favors to any uberconservatives who might help him get elected.

Also, for the last 12 years he's been willing to talk and listen to virtually anyone. Sure, that's trolling for votes. But when you think of how obviously snotty choosy the other Republicans have been about who they're willing to be seen in public with, McCain's slutty campaigning behavior is refreshing.

I agree that Romney would probably be easier to beat, except for one thing. A friend of mine recently pointed out that he looks like the generic-looking kind of guy who always gets cast as the president in silly comedy movies. I know that appearance is a ludicrous reason to vote for someone, but I think the last two elections speak for themselves in terms of ludicrous voting.

Posted by: Julie at February 1, 2008 12:04 PM

Julie, you're really not too far off on Romney. About a week ago, a story ran on NPR from the caucus in Florida. One guy actually said he liked Romney because he looked presidential..

Please, Mr. Florida Guy, if that's how you weigh the options, I'm begging you--stay home on Election Day.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 1, 2008 1:32 PM

Important differences like issues aside, which I'm still looking into, I've formed one overall impression after watching the candidates speak for a few months: Obama wants to be President while Hillary feels she deserves to be President.

I'm not sure why Hillary projects a sense of entitlement to me. I don't think it has anything to do with her being a woman. I have no problem voting for female, black, or rainbow-colored candidates.

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2008 1:41 PM

I think you're right, Mike. I know there are advantages to acting as though something you want is already yours, but it rubs me the wrong way.

She often comes off as artificial and "packaged," too. But this seems to work for her.

Posted by: Julie at February 1, 2008 1:52 PM

Mike: I think she feels she's been preparing her whole life for this, despite the obvious hurdles that prevent a woman from rising to that level. It's so close, and I think it's difficult to have a dream like that and be so close.

I don't think I can completely identify with these people who want to be president, but obviously it takes some serious motivation. And emotion, and energy.

I like the idea of having a president with a brain (or, one who actually uses his or her brain). If Obama stops to think before he speaks, I like that. We speak too quickly in this country. And so many people seem to speak without thinking. That's refreshing.

I have heard criticisms of Obama supporters on the religion thing - but as an atheist, I have no problem with how Obama speaks about religion. He rightly pointed out that religion has too often been used as a wedge in politics. I don't hear Republicans doing that; I hear them exploiting religion.

I can see why certain Republicans would be distressed by this year's choices, but I see lots of reason for hope.

Posted by: James at February 1, 2008 2:05 PM

I'm very happy to have the dilemma of choosing between two good candidates!

I also liked Edwards, and as I've mentioned before, Richardson.

There has been a good crop this year, unlike the usual bunch, which has made me hold my nose as I tick the box.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 1, 2008 2:32 PM

The latest word in our fair state is that Romney is way ahead of McCain, while Clinton and Obama are neck-and-neck. Obama might be ahead by maybe half a nose.

(No, that's not a nose joke, it's a horse joke. As in "I know this topic is a dead horse, but I'm going to continue smacking it around until Tuesday night.")

However, around a quarter of voters on both sides are still saying they might change their minds.

If I read a newspaper article correctly today, the Republican who wins the primary gets all of the state's Republican delegates, but the Democratic party awards delegates in proportion to each candidate's share of the vote. In other words, if you're a Democrat (even if only for a few minutes on Tuesday), your vote will still help your guy (or guyette) even if s/he "loses." I did not know this. It considerably reduces that mild temptation to vote for McCain.

Posted by: Julie at February 4, 2008 3:33 PM

I didn't know that either, Julie. That's weird, but that must be why it won't be all over on Tuesday for the dems.

Posted by: Maggie at February 4, 2008 4:02 PM

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