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Friday, February 22, 2008

Voting based on issues

I believe CW holds that the most noble way to vote is based on the issues. To vote for a person because of that person's image, or demographic group or, heaven forbid, based on which political party he or she belongs to is evil.

But what do you do when the two candidates are so close on the issues as Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. For forward looking questions, as in "what would you do with regard to x,y,orz," I suggest that that Obama and Clinton are almost identical. Particularly because the influence other branches of the government have over actions taken by the country means that they will not be able to create policies with nearly the nuance that would allow their distinctions to show up.

Is this a situation, can one feel liberated to openly look to the intangibles: character, experience, charism? What about race & gender? Is it okay to say that two people are close enough that you can vote based on whether you are more excited about the idea of seeing woman as president than an African American, or vice versa?

6 comments:

Matt Dick said...

I think voting on the margins is absolutely okay when the distinctions are so narrow.

David said...

JimII:

"I suggest that that Obama and Clinton are almost identical."

I think you're right that Obama and Clinton do not differ on policy grounds but I don't believe it's accurate to suggest that they will be equally effective in office. They may have the same views but they do not have the same capabilities and experience.

"Is this a situation, can one feel liberated to openly look to the intangibles: character, experience, charism?"

See? You're alluding to a distinction which speaks to differences in capabilities as opposed to differences in views as well.

"What about race & gender?"

If it's okay for an Obama or Clinton supporter to vote for one of them because of their race or gender, is it also okay for someone to vote against them on the same grounds?

I think Democrats should be content merely to congratulate themselves that this time around they will nominate a woman or an African-American. That in and off itself, and regardless of whatever else happens, is something of which all Americans should be proud.

David Johnson
Chandler, Arizona

JimII said...

David wrote, "I . . . believe it's accurate to suggest that they will be equally effective in office."

I disagree that they will be equally effective in office, I was just saying that their positions on issues are very close. Oh, wait, did I cut and paste something from your post and then state the missing idea as an example of disagreement? I keed.

Obviously we are in complete agreement about what the significant issue is for Democratic primary voters: Who will get the job done?

What will be more useful in office, what Hillary learned from her healthcare failures and subsequently successful work with the Republicans, or Barak's outsider status and ability to rally the American people.

If you say all things equal I'll vote for the black guy, "is it also okay for someone to vote against them on the same grounds?"

I don't think so. I think taking positive steps to affirmatively promote the success of previously discriminated against people is not the same as taking steps to keep those people down.

That said, I think I agree that affirmative action, which I support in most contexts, is not appropriate in electing officials.

Matt Dick said...

They may have the same views but they do not have the same capabilities and experience.

This is so very true. Also true is that who they are is also plays a role.

Both candidates break pretty important ground for our culture. I favor Obama's ground at this stage, given our struggles overseas. Any other time I would favor Clinton's femininity as more paramount.

I'll vote for either one this election, not because of their policy positions, which I think are madness, but because they will hold some ground in judicial appointments.

Matt Dick said...

Fareed Zakaria, whose commentary I have always enjoyed, writes this, on the identity politics question.

David said...

JimII:

"Oh, wait, did I cut and paste something from your post and then state the missing idea as an example of disagreement? I keed."

I'm afraid I don't understand your point. I don't believe I've done this to you and if I have it most certainly was not intentional.

Thanks for returning the favor though. :(

David Johnson
Chandler, Arizona