Ahh the U.S. primary season…
I am Canadian and can’t vote in the U.S. election, but I have always taken and interest in politics. I like Bill Clinton and would have voted for Al Gore and John Kerry. I would be a Democrat with a slight Libertarian streak if I were American. In Canada I would be a bit more to the right (because Canada is so far left). Anyway, here’s what I see going on.
George W. Bush beat Al Gore because of the Republican judges in the Supreme Court, but also because of his sighing during a television debate (indicating awkwardness) and people wanted to restore dignity to the White House after the Clinton sex scandals. George W. beat John Kerry in 2004 because of the Security Mom’s (much like Clinton’s soccer mom’s of the 90’s, they describe the mini-van driving middle class mother with 2.5 kids). People (wrongly) felt that Bush could better protect their family than John Kerry. Also, John Kerry had an overbearing father quality that rubbed people the wrong way. He made you feel like he was lecturing you. Woman were reminded of their overbearing father or their emotionally distant first husband. But Bush, well, there was a guy you could share barbecue with. He was the everyman (forgetting of course that he lives in the same elite circle that Kerry lives), and aided by that prop known as the Crawford ranch that showed his “not afraid to break a sweat” side, Bush cruised to victory. Don’t forget the perfectly timed Bin Laden tape that surfaced just before the election. But Bush’s incompetence would be revealed by a massive hurricane called Katrina (heck of a job Brownie). The war in Iraq continued to be mis-managed and even the most ardent supporters began jumping ship. Lame duck status began much sooner than it has with other Presidents.
That brings us to the current Primary season. The Republicans are nostalgic for Regan. The Democrats can’t loose. Or can they? As I said before I was a big fan of Bill Clinton, and I was completely behind Hillary until very recently. This summer I read Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope”. I loved it. It made sense. And I have an unease with Hillary that I just couldn’t put my finger on, until now.
Yes, her laugh. It doesn’t work. I used to think it was her voice being too shrill during speeches, but she’s gotten better at controlling that. But her laugh is out of control. Jason Calacanis made it so clear. It’s like the Howard Dean scream. Should stuff like this matter in an election? No. Does it? Yes. Just ask Dean.
If John Kerry reminded women of their ex-husbands, Hillary reminds men of their ex-wives. Slightly too shrill and naggy. I admit this is all very superficial, but voting decisions are based on gut level reactions to the leaders. And people get those reactions from watching them on television. Most voters will never get to meet Hillary, so television is the only way to get a sense of personality.
There’s no question that Hillary would make a very competent President. Especially with Bill Clinton as the first laddie. Personally, I like Hilary and don’t mind the crazy laugh. I love how smart she is. But to play Devil’s advocate for a moment, if Democrats want to really throw a curve ball to the Republicans, nominate Obama. He’s much harder to take down. He’s much smoother, more charismatic…more like…Bill, the most successful Democrat in history. Think about that. Obama is the new Bill Clinton. Not Hillary. And given what happened in New Orleans and the anger that generated, imagine the excitement and voter turnout Obama would generate.
We’ll soon see who gets the last laugh….Ha.