Q: Which one of these candidates do you know and hear the least about? On the surface, the Democratic primary race has evolved into a contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that Jon Edwards is in a three-way tie with them in Iowa. I mean, I expect not to hear much about Dennis Kucinich, considering he’s a pretty radical guy who probably couldn’t win the election. But Jon Edwards is, as they say, highly electable. Why then this lack of attention?
The only answer I’ve been able to come up with is that the press finds Clinton and Obama–a woman and a black man–more amusing. A contest between these two holds far greater potential for entertainment than do any of the other candidates. Edwards, he’s just the same old same old, a white boy from the South, no matter what his opinions. It isn’t opinion and issues upon which elections are decided, after all: it’s personality. And between the two of them, Obama and Clinton have personality to spare.
For months I’ve been baffled and annoyed by the media, as well as by Democrats themselves, for ignoring Edwards; in my opinion he’s much more progressive than the other two. His message is consistently anti-corporate and pro-worker, and he relentlessly raises the issue of poverty in America. Yesterday I finally discovered a few kindred spirits: actor Tim Robbins went to Iowa to show support for Edwards, lashing out at the media for their lack of coverage. Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne–two of the gang that gave us the No Nukes concert and movie back in the 80s–will be performing for Edwards in New Hampshire.
It’s ironic, considering that not so many election cycles ago it was still considered risky to run a woman or an African-American for Prez. Back in 1988 it was suicidal–I campaigned for Jesse Jackson, and several people, utter strangers to me, had no compunction whatsoever about admitting they just could not vote for a black man.
Maybe the Democrats think it’s a slam-dunk no matter who they run, what with the Republican lineup of religious fanatics and anti-everyone lunatics. Huckabee’s a Baptist preacher (the mind reels). Mitt Romney’s speech addressing the issue of his Mormonism was compared to Jack Kennedy and his Catholicism–but while JFK reassured us that he believed in separation of church and state and would not be accountable to the Pope, Romney’s idea of reassurance was to swear that he kneels down to Jesus, “just like you.”
I hate to say it, but I’m not so sure a woman and/or an African-American can get elected President of the United States, even in 2008. Which makes me wonder if the Dems are following their usual habit of committing suicide at the polls. I’d like to be wrong…but, right or wrong, I’m not enamored of either Clinton or Obama. Hillary Clinton is far too shrewd, manipulative, and opportunistic, and it’s killing me to have to vote in the primary against a woman. As for Barack Obama, I’ve yet to hear anything truly substantial come out of the man’s mouth. Yes, he’s charismatic, and his heart’s in the right place. I fell in love when he made his 2004 convention speech–but I fell out of love when it became apparent he’s been put forward for symbolic rather than political, moral or ethical reasons. Oprah’s endorsement did not surprise me: she’s heavy into symbolism.
And so, ironically, the most electable, as the pols call it, candidate is getting shoved to the side precisely because, as a white man, he is electable. I hope we don’t end up with a Baptist preacher in the White House for the sake of entertainment and symbolism.
Welcome to America.