A clear choice

There really isn’t very much difference between them, at least policy-wise. Yeah, there is some difference in their health care plans and there’s that silly gas tax thing. But the differences in policy between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are minuscule when compared to John McCain’s beliefs.

This was my point months ago, privately: when placed side-by-side, there isn’t much difference in beliefs between the two Dems.

So with that as a given, if you are going to vote Democratic, who would you rather vote for?

An inspiring, rallying speaker with little baggage who can actually make you believe “hope” is more than just a cynical campaign slogan and whose default mode by him and his handlers is not to attack, thrust, lie and wage a scorched earth campaign that threatens to not only keep the presidency in Republican hands, but to bring down an entire party with him?

Or a candidate from a former First Family with baggage dating back at least 16 years that is nevertheless beloved by swooning Baby Boomers, a candidate who represents a continuation of the angry divisive politics of the last 20 years, politics from both sides of the aisle that place mud-slinging over respect, a candidate comfortable being represented by the slimy likes of the execrable Harold Ickes and Howard Wolfson, the booted Mark Penn, silly Lanny Davis and the utterly incompetent Terry McAuliffe? (And where are the women leading and directing her campaign, oh paragon of feminism and supposed inspiration to our mothers and daughters? You fired Patti Solis Doyle, the last woman who held a visible leadership post in your campaign.)

This pains me to write this, in many ways. I supported Hillary in running for Senate as a new New Yorker in 2000. I believed in her during her “It Takes a Village” days. That was inspiring. And at the time, I supported President Bill Clinton’s policies voraciously.

What can I say? Obama is more inspiring. Obama has better progressive credentials. Obama, simply, is better.

Want an example of how much better? When the Rev. Wright controversy threatened to derail Obama’s campaign, the candidate responded by giving one of the most lucid and inspiring speeches on race delivered in the last 40 years.

On the other hand, when charges of sexism reached a frenzy in the last 10 days, what great speech has Hillary delivered in response? Instead, she let a bunch of shrill-seeking men and women shout on her behalf on blogs and at Saturday’s Democratic Rules Committee meeting.

Slate’s Meghan O’Rourke says Hillary wasn’t feminist enough and talks of how Clinton has lost a generation of voters (um, I had that a few days ago). She ran as an establishment candidate. Not surprising, since the Boomers are the establishment — funny enough for the sell-out Woodstock generation that made its name in the late ’60s as anti-establishment.

Clinton simply didn’t inspire awe the way Obama did. She ran as an insider, he ran as an outsider, and after almost 16 years of bickering and divisive politics, outsider status carries a lot of weight. It did across the aisle: John McCain, portrayed as the consummate Republican outsider maverick, is their nominee.

And you wonder why people are swooning for Obama, the media included? Obama is a candidate for these times, not the Boomer Clinton, not the Silent Generation McCain. “This is our time,” he said Tuesday night, and the crowd roared. How could you not?


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