Thursday, February 07, 2008

Clinton v Obama: Tied in Syracuse

I was surprised to see my fair city mentioned on the front page of the Drudge Report today. Drudge links this story about a tie between votes cast for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Super Tuesday [not including outstanding ballots yet to be counted and verified; recanvassing yet to be completed].
"Good thing it wasn't a mayor's race," quipped Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Mayor Matt Driscoll told Syracusans before Super Tuesday that he'd be voting for Hillary Clinton.
Driscoll on Clinton: []

"It comes down to who is best prepared, and when ever I ask that question, the answer is always Hillary Clinton. She has 35 years of experience, much of it on a world stage. Given what this country faces now, that experience can not be discounted."

On speaking to friends and aquaintances here in Syracuse who've voted Obama, I've been given several rationales, none of which would've convinced me [a strong Edwards supporter for philosophical reasons] to change my vote. One rationale is that, after the contentious (decidedly media-contrived) race-card issues that preceded and followed the South Carolina primary, some previously uncommitted Democrats were turned off by the Clintons (gee, thanks, Dick Morris and all our FoxFriends) and began to gravitate toward Obama. They are beginning to join what they see as a wave of enthusiasm for Obama, well-played-out in MSM video-snippets of Democratic-establishment party-stalwart Ted Kennedy and the major-celebrity Oprah standing by his side with throngs of young idealists wiping away tears in the background.

I have to say that, like James Wolcott, I'm a much tougher sell. James says, with keen wit at his Vanity Fair blog:

The tab I flip in the voting booth isn't intended as a dramatic gesture to pin in my lapel like a carnation and sniff during intermission, like some Clifton Webb character. I don't accept being lectured or morally browbeaten into voting for one candidate over another in order to prove my virtuous intent and appease Kurt Andersen's peculiar, posturing racial anxieties. Perhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria.

No atheist myself, I do concur with Mr. Wolcott, purely on intellectual terms. See my own post about the Andersen blogpost mentioned by Mr. Wolcott.

Another Syracuse-based rationale given to me is based on the fear, regardless of whether it's logical or not, that Hillary Clinton is hated by so many voters that Obama would be the more electable and that Democrats would sit on their hands..perhaps pick up their marbles and go home in November if he isn't the party's nominee. The Obama campaign has capitalized on this issue with obvious success, much to the chagrin of Democrats who feel that it's antithetical to Obama's theme of "One America".

The last rationale surrounds the electability of either Democrat in the general election, whether we're talking about Clinton or Obama. While seeking "change" vis-a-vis race and gender, they fear, even in their most liberal-yet-reality-gazing hearts and minds, that some fellow [ disillusioned? ] Democrats may be surprised to learn there are some voters out in the cities as well as the countryside who will still refuse to vote for either a woman or a black candidate when given the choice in November.

A common concern is that John McCain will take many voters away from a Democratic candidate in November because they believe many still-uncommitted Independent and Republican voters will feel he is the most "experienced" candidate (and will be portrayed that way in MSM) and is moderate enough to suit their red-to-purple political voting-tendencies.

Much credit for the hard work of organizing successfully for Senator Obama here in Syracuse should be given to campaign coordinator Lisa Daly and all the voters she and her co-volunteers have inspired.