Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Presidential Politics - Should A Republican In Texas Vote In The Democrat's Primary?

I believe in my heart that it is a bad idea for business bloggers to stray over the line and talk about politics. Sure, you can post cute pics of your kids and puppies, but if you blog about John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton (wait, does she use "Rodham" as part of her name now? What do the polls say she should do?), or Barrak Obama on your business blog you are going to be in trouble.

I am in trouble.

I am crossing the line on this post and cannot promise I will not do it again between now and the November election.

The truth is that I used to LOVE politics. Excitement always filled the wind throughout a presidential election year, as I love to study the way these people speak, position and pontificate. Yet this year it just came up flat (like the Academy Awards show last Sunday. Boring!). There were nearly 20 people running for president at one point last year and none of them inspired me to care.

I would classify myself as a middle of the road on many issues, but right of the center line. That being said, I believe we need more than policy in our leaders and have always longed to vote for someone who had that charisma that people credit to John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

I was not born yet when Kennedy was president, and I was too young to understand the process when Reagan ran the first time. Alas, I just never understood the appeal of Bill Clinton (but I never "HATED" him. I never "HATE" someone who is an elected official regardless of if I supported them or not. I believe they all get involved for the greater good, and I am old school on this issue and feel that we must have some degree of respect for the office even when we disagree with the person).

So here is my dilemma. I find myself more and more interested in supporting Barak Obama. While I do not know enough about him, he is a far more liberal candidate than I would normally support, and is still very young (and thus unproven). Yet there is something there. I can't put my finger on it, but it is there. Some call it "Change", others call it "Hope". What ever it is, I want it.

So why a dilemma? Well the primary in Texas is next week, and I have traditionally voted in the Republican primary (although I never vote strait ticket in the general election). I am not sure it is right for me, traditionally a Republican, to cross over and vote in the Democrat primary, even though by Texas State rules I can show up and vote in either primary. Plus, I cannot be 100% sure of what I would do if given the choice between Obama and McCain come November.

That being said, I would not vote in the Democratic Primary "against" Mrs. Clinton.... I would do it to vote "for" Mr. Obama. (I hate the idea of voting against someone, I think you should vote for the better candidate).

I think that Obama as the Democratic nominee would give our country an amazing election season. The debate on the issues and the direction of our nation would be historic, moving and important. The philosophies of the two candidates would be at the forefront, and they both seem to want to be civil.

McCain vs. Hillary would be more of the same bitter and divisive partisan politics that we have experienced for the last few decades. It would continue the "us vs. them", "Red State / Blue State" mentality that divides America. I have fatigue with the Bush / Clinton / Bush years and I want a fresh start. I do not want an "heir apparent" focused race trying to go backwards. I want two candidates who lead us toward the future.

Additionally, I want some of that "Camelot" magic that those who lived in the Kennedy era talk about. This can only come from the Obamas. No guarantees, but neither the McCain's nor the Clinton's will carry that feeling of awe to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I don't know what I will do, but I am starting to care about this election and that feels good. We need the people of our country to be engaged in the process.

Hey, Barak....select Mark Warner (former Virginia Governor) as your VP and you have my vote, as he was the guy I wanted to run for president to begin with!!

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

Hey Thom,

I think the irony of the political process is that likely between 60-80% of Americans can agree on far more than they disagree on, and in many of those areas where they disagree, that super-majority could likely find compromises that could work for them. At that voting level, it would be veto proof and would set the trend for the country's path to maintain or regain excellence.

Unfortunately, the process that we have now empowers the extreme left and extreme right to set the agenda and close off the middle-ground options that most voters want. The major flaw of the Bush Administration likely was allowing the "Neo-Cons" to run wide for too long, and antagonizing the middle (and middle class) to now more strongly support the Democratic Party candidates. However, despite the extreme left's point of view that the 2006 Mid-term elections were a vindication of the Liberal Agenda, it actually was a validation of the moderate middle - with candidates like Sen. Webb of Virginia (not at all liberal, but moderate). Hopefully we don't trade the "Neo-Cons" in for the "Neo-Libs."

The concern that the middle likely needs to watch for is whether the Democrats will falsely see a "mandate" in what likely will be a strong land-slide in many House and Senate races toward a stronger Democratic Congress, and a very strong possibility that Obama will beat Clinton in the primary, and beat McCain in the general. For those historical political junkies, the memory of the 1994 mid-terms come to mind after the Clintons pushed agendas that the middle was not ready to accept. With Nader making noise already about how the Democrats and the Republicans are no different (I guess much like the Earth and Mars look close together if you are a galaxy away), there is a real concern that our country will simply see the political pendulum swing from the extreme right and left continually.

So how does this relate to business blogs? As a country, we are facing a growing energy issue because of our dependence on foreign oil, and energy models of the 1900's. We face problems that require new views of our country and the way we do business. If we constantly battle right wing and left wing, even though the middle disagrees with both, we will simply be wasting time and energy (literally) while the Chinese, India and the EU are moving ahead of us. If we as a country want to make sure we stay competitive in business and the world, we have to make sure that regardless of who wins in this cycle, that it is about more than red and blue states.

Can Barack Obama get us there? Maybe - his rhetoric is certainly appealing. The real test of him as a candidate is his ability to manage the political enthusiasm and energy he is generating, and be able to contain the extreme liberals and the young, experienced base he lives on, that likely are currently intoxicated by the ideas he so eloquently advocates. The problem with fission reactions is that they can generate so much power that they cannot be contained, until they blow themselves out.

While many of Obama's supporters are very politically! active, for Obama's vision to be achieved - he actually has to turn that talk into political and social action! For every great business idea that is dreamed, very few new businesses succeed since it is often the execution of the plan that truly tests one's metal. The strength of both McCain and Clinton is that they do have the experience - and ironically enough have done alot toward moderate policies in the Senate by working together.

McCain, Clinton, Obama - regardless of who is President, we voters must forget the labels of politics, start engaging those across the political line, and find answers that most Americans can accept and agree upon - regardless of the political affiliation of their speaker. In a state where they do allow you to vote in the Democratic primary, I think you need to decide for yourself where your political heart lies - and vote according to its voice. You seem to be thoughtful about your choice - and from a fellow voter, it is a good thing that so many people are becoming engaged.


Anonymous said...

Some of us "Republicans" have already jumped ship and landed on the Obama bandwagon. It's an exciting and hopeful place to be! Come join us! :-)