Politics is often a very ugly thing.
I read Jeff Jarvis’ blog, Buzzmachine, because he’s a very smart and interesting guy. And I’ve enjoyed it over the past few years. Recently Jeff has been hitting Obama pretty strongly on his blog. And today, he comes out with his reasons for supporting Hillary. Disappointingly, he comes out for Hillary by writing a mere one paragraph about her. Instead he uses the other 9+ paragraphs about Obama. So, really, it’s not about why he’s supporting Hillary, but why he’s against Obama.
Jeff’s central point is that Obama is all marketing and rhetoric. That he won’t be a competent manager and attempts to slide in the knife with a brutal comparison to Carter.
The problem with this is that Obama has an entire section on his website entitled “Issues”. So does Hillary. Both are incredibly detailed and outline their positions on the issues. To say that Obama is full of “empty rhetoric” is intellectually dishonest. Factually this is true at least relative to Hillary Clinton. Read through the pages and pages of PDF’s and you’ll end up with the view that both candidates aren’t that far off on the issues. While you’re at it, read up on McCain’s view. And Romney’s.
This is why politics is ugly. It’s become sports. There’s a guy on the Rutgers Basketball message board who thinks that Rutgers is going to win every single game this year. The only problem is that the team is terrible this year. But, being a big fan, he’s hopeful and sees the sliver lining in every matchup, etc. And this is what I suspect has happened to Jeff. He’s “for” Hillary, and that trumps what I believe to be his normal balanced view on things.
My answer to this is to ask someone supporting Hillary to name 5 things they disagree with her on. Ditto on Obama, Romney, and McCain. I’m able to do this for every Presidential, Congressional and local candidate I’ve ever voted for.
I don’t diminish Jeff’s support for Hillary Clinton. He’s a sharp guy, and I trust that she might be the candidate for him. I do however find fault with his hacking of Obama. The general prevalence of this– Democrats partisan wrangling with Republicans and vice versa is tiring. The truth is not all our views on major issues will line up completely with any candidate or political party. If they do, I’d encourage you to take another look. We need to avoid the spoon-feeding of “us” against “them”. In my opinion, Jeff’s engaging in this.
And for disclosure on the primary: I’m not voting for Obama. I’m not voting for Clinton. Nor McCain or Romney. I’m a registered Independent, because both parties have disappointed me endlessly. It’s why I’m writing the book that I’m writing, and why I find myself shaking my head so very much recently while watching friends debate or reading the blogs.