Monday, January 07, 2008

My Obama-Clinton Problem

First of all, I think this is a good problem to have: two candidates I like a lot and feel connected to. I have some hope for change, as the campaigns would have me say.

Obama really got me excited a while ago: he’s anti-war, intelligent, handsome (forgive me), and can rise to charismatic. Then my husband, who’s from outside Utica, insisted that I take another look at Hillary. He saw, second-hand, Hillary’s amazing success with upstate New Yorkers in the senate campaign and that made him believe in her. (He had never tired of Clinton the way I had.) And he (my husband, that is) railed at me: how could I, a feminist, not see that the most qualified candidate in the field is the woman?

So, not thinking very independently, I confess, I sent Hillary $25 and signed up. If she wins, I will be excited and moved beyond measure. I dream of taking my daughters to D.C. a year from now to celebrate the inauguration of the first woman president. (My husband, for the record, loathes identity politics and initially supported Hillary not because of her sex but her intelligence and experience.) I think she is brilliant and methodical: important qualities in an executive.

But, electing a woman who was first known to us as a wife and who comes with the baggage of her husband’s peccadilloes is not the clear feminist victory I wanted.

And I’m frankly sick of the baby boomers ruling the world.

Obama, by contrast, seems to have a marriage that looks like a souped-up version of something I recognize: a strong wife with an independent career locking horns with a strong husband with ambitions. He’s not that much older than I. He is also super-intelligent. And I thought his post-Iowa acceptance speech was incredible: polished and inspired. I had goose bumps listening to him.

Hillary still has my $25. But, as a good luck charm, I carry a dollar bill from Obama’s lawyer in my wallet. (It’s a long story how I came by this…) I don’t know how I’ll vote on Super-duper Tuesday. You?


Anonymous said...

O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!

Richard said...

I will happily vote for either of them or John Edwards.

I have no preference so in the February 5 Arizona presidential primary I will vote for the last of the 24 names on the ballot -- myself.

jenn said...

As a feminist, I am personally insulted that Clinton is claiming her husband's experience as her own. She doesn't have any more elected political experience than either Edwards or Obama. I think that Edwards is the best choice of the three. I like Obama, but he just doesn't get specific enough about his policies. It makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne -- I thought you'd enjoy this link to Linda Colley's highly prescient article in the LRB last August about Hillary's "transitional" feminism. I immediately recalled her comments when I read your blog today, thinking they chimed well both with your qualms about Hillary's feminist credentials and the historical pressures and prejudices that may have shaped her public persona. I know what you mean though about the goose bumps hearing Obama speak -- this is going to be an exciting election! And the first in which I get to vote -- so I'm following every shred of news coverage.