Sunday, March 16, 2008
In response to several clearly spirited comments on my message board of late, here's a little civics lesson for my Obama-supporting Progressive friends: In the United States we have these pesky little things called elections. In these contests for president, which occur every four years, both the Republican and Democratic parties hold primaries and caucuses. At inception, several different candidates typically run. Our citizens then vote for whoever they prefer until one of these candidates in each party wins, and by win we mean they reach the minimum number of delegates (elected by voters to represent them at the conventions) required by each party (not some arbitrary number they come up with when and if they happen not to reach the minimum). Then, the two winners face off in the general election, along with any Independent/third party candidates who've made it onto the ballot. And I know this is once again very annoying, but Americans get to vote for who they prefer once more. So, let's summarize how our great Democracy works: we hold elections, candidates run, Americans get to vote for whomever they prefer, and then we have a new president.
Pretty basic stuff, huh? Yeah, but our Obama-supporting Progressive friends seem to struggle with all this. Seems they agree with only part of it...that only some of us get to choose their preferred candidates. The others, they demand, should like and vote for the Progressives' choice too. But if they don't, and the election gets too close, they then demand that the other candidate drop out so as to make it easier for the Progressives' candidate to win. And what's more, even if their candidate doesn't reach the minimum number of delegates, they say that's ok, let's just give it to Obama anyway since he's ahead. Of course, we all know they'd be arguing this position just as hard if Hillary were ahead but far short of the minimum, right? And when voters don't support Obama, they get attacked for being anti-American, Republican and of dividing the party. C'mon, that's not very Progressive, is it?
And they also get angry when bloggers like me actually write positive things about our preferred candidate, as if it's our job to subjugate our own preferences and write about the other sides' candidate. Yet, the irony is, my February pieces were extremely favorable towards Obama and quite negative towards Hillary, but these Progressives aren't concerned about objectivity. It's not balance they're looking for, but consistent, unconditional love for Obama. It's not ok to merely write negatively about Hillary some of the time, they want it all the time.
If you read some of these comments you'd think I, and anyone else who supports Hillary Clinton, is a subversive, treasonous traitor. See, I look at it quite differently. I'm just exercising my little old right to vote for whoever I please in the primary. Duh. And if my gal doesn't win, like the good Democrat that I am, I will passionately throw all my support (time, blogspace, money, etc) behind Obama and help him fight like an animal to beat John McCain which, call me crazy, seems the rational, logical, sane thing to do...especially since I am against the war, the Bush tax cuts, am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-guns, and want liberal Supreme Court justices, positions which McCain does not share with me or with Progressives, for that matter. Duh again. Now the Progressives, angry that we won't support their candidate right now or call her dirty or demand she quit even though she's a hair away from Obama, threaten to vote for McCain as punishment if she wins. My way or the highway is their campaign slogan. We fight for liberty, truth, justice and Progressive values for all, they self-righteously brag, but then would freely toss their precious votes to yet another war-mongering, small government, staunch conservative if they don't get their way in the primaries. Wow. Now that makes an awful lot of sense, doesn't it?
So, once again, we free-thinking Democrats say to our Obama-supporting Progressive pals....this is an election. And in these primary elections more than one person gets to run. And voters get to choose who they want, not who you want. And if our candidate wins, the sane thing to do is support her in our collective fight against Republican tyranny. And if Obama wins, we will of course back him with all we've got. Funny, that sounds an awful lot like party unity to me....