Friday, January 11, 2008

I am one with the inchoate urges of the electorate

I have always been a big critic of the Undecided Voter, those blank-faced avatars the news shows get to watch the Presidential debates and mutter blankly about how they're still not sure. How the hell can you NOT BE SURE, and how can your decision turn on something like which guy made better jokes at the debate?, I am always screaming at them.

So it took me by surprise that I have totally become that dude for the Democratic primaries. Until the Iowa caucuses I was on board with Obama--not rabidly so, because excessive sincere enthusiasm makes me nervous, but pretty decidedly. While watching the coverage of the caucuses that night, though, I found myself defending Hillary when people said things like that it would be more ground-breaking to have a black President than a female one. Also, I admit, I was impressed by the near-crying incident--I dont know if it was fake or not, but if it was, what a performance!

Then after she lost in Iowa, I found myself feeling slightly disappointed that the race might be over so fast, and also kind of bad for her for all the piling-on. I think she's too conservative, but I found all the coverage about how voters don't want to return to "the Clinton years" really annoying because I don't think people mean "Bill Clinton pretended to be a pinko but passed some hideously retrograde legislation and nominated medium-to-conservative judges," they mean "We had to hear about Monica Lewinsky all the time." Which, get over it, plus I'm sure Hillary will not bring Monica with her to the White House. Would my change of heart have been enough to make me vote for her if I lived in New Hampshire instead of a disenfranchised non-state? Who can say?

Now that she's back in the running, though, I am swinging back away from her. She is still too conservative, after all.

So, my sympathy for the dumb voter has increased, but hopefully that will go away soon.


plentyo'moxie said...

see, as a NH resident and active participant, I can give you my own theory on the undecideds - It's not necessarily that they are undecided, per se, it's that they know how much power they/we wield in NH and don't want those stinkin' pollsters to really have a clue. Plus, if a candidate thinks either a. they have no chance in hell in NH or b. they have it all wrapped up they will not spend the entire year making 10 public appearances a day and shaking hands and answering questions and being put on the spot over and over and over. We want our personal access, damn it! And so many Granite State-ers say undecided so the candidates will spend time wooing.

The other thing is that there is a lot more conniving and calculation in the voting than honestly deciding who is the best person for the job - a lot more, yeah, but would they win the presidency? Of course, NH has been friggin' stupid many times about this (Kerry).

Jake said...

I agree that undecided voters are annoying at any stage of the process; a more apt label might be uninformed voters.

But, like you, I am also suspicious of anyone who is rabidly pro- or anti- any candidate at this point. I hear Edwards and Clinton supporters saying constructive things like "FUCK Obama!" and I have to wonder, Really? Have the last eight years of partisan acrimony taught us nothing? Intraparty rancor has always struck me as disingenuous anyway, since once the nominee is coronated all the runners-up generally throw their support behind him/(her?) at the convention, however begrudgingly.

But perhaps as I get older I'm just gradually losing my ability to firey about anything. If that's the case, then thank god. Bring on middle age.

Olivia McCain said...

ever since Clinton got caught planting a question at the Grinnell College Q&A, I have really been turned off by her. I didn't like her much to begin with but that did it in for me.
I was very much Pro-Obama thru the Iowa caucus (my mom met Obama at the Ankeny caucus, which I think is kinda cool) but the more debates i've heard (yes i stay in on saturday nights to watch the debates) the more Edwards seems to be the one who actually has a plan.
in the end though, I doubt Edwards will win and I am pretty sure I'll vote for Obama. I'm just grateful people are energized about this election. The turnout at both the Iowa and N.H. caucus was pretty amazing.

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Andrea said...

wow, anonymous really told you, huh?