The Iowa caucus has returned victories for Obama and Huckabee. And I couldn’t be more thrilled — on both counts.
I didn’t do a pre-caucus endorsement for a few reasons. First, there isn’t a single candidate who really excites me. None of them exactly match up with my views, and there isn’t anyone who really gets me going. Second, I’ve had a bit of feminist guilt for not being a stronger Clinton supporter. She’s a brilliant politician, and hands down the smartest person running. She’s hard working, dedicated, accomplished… and I’ve been stoking a little flame of hope that the Wellesley girl is still alive in her. But she’s just so… moderate. And, while I know it was her husband’s policy, I can’t forgive her for shilling for welfare “reform.” I can get over her vote to give Bush power to go to war, but I can’t get over her refusal to apologize for it and really take responsibility. I can’t get excited about her. I don’t feel like she’s the one for me. And the “inevitable Hillary victory” canard was getting really tired. If she wins the primary I will certainly back her whole-heartedly, but I do want to see her challenged. Third, other women who I really respect are supporting Edwards (Amanda isn’t the only one, but she’s the one who has blogged about it), and I feel like I must be missing something, because I’m just not seeing it with him either.
But watching Obama tonight, I was smiling.
There’s an excitement there, and it’s more than just charisma. Yes, he is a politician and yes, he has less experience than Clinton, but damn if he isn’t good. As cynical as I am, I don’t think his emphasis on hope is a schtick. I think he’s an idealist. I think that may be a problem for him if he gets into office, and I think it’ll cause him to stumble a little bit. But there’s something very human about him. Just listening to his speech tonight, and hearing him address, as one example, genocide as one of the problems facing the international community was striking. You didn’t hear that too often under Bill Clinton. You certainly don’t hear it from the Bush administration. There are numerous political and strategic reasons why that word doesn’t get tossed around lightly, why ongoing genocides are obscured as “conflicts” and “civil wars.” The fact that Obama would use it in such an important speech — the fact that he and his people deemed it crucial enough to name — gives me, yes, hope.
Throughout the whole campaign process, I’ve been telling myself that I’m not going to back anyone, and that I’ll wait to see what happens and then work very hard for whoever wins. That still holds true. But watching Obama tonight, I was excited. I always feel excited when I watch him; I’ve just moderated that excitement by reminding myself of his flaws (politically moderate, fairly green, etc etc). But you know, tonight felt good. And if Obama takes it, I’m pretty sure I will be excited to go work for him. I haven’t felt that way about a candidate in a while.
As for Huckabee, well, I actually am happy he did so well, for two reasons: First, because it really does show the deep corporate pockets backing the Republican party that there are some things they can’t control. Second, Huckabee would get slaughtered in a general election.
Although if a Republican were guaranteed to win the Presidency — and I don’t think they will, but Democrats are not exactly the most competent at winning elections — I’d want it to be Romney or McCain over all others. Giuliani is basically Satan walking the earth, and Huckabee is a fucknut. So here’s to them losing, eventually.
Tonight, I’m feelin’ good. And I don’t think that’s just the red wine talking.
Who are you all supporting? Who do you hope the other guys nominate?
*Title shamelessly stolen from Ann at Feministing.