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Please vote for Obama next week.

Jan 28, 2008 • Karen

So I did the GlassBooth.org test a few weeks ago. It pretty much confirmed what I already suspected: Kucinich and Edwards had the platforms most similar to my beliefs, with Obama the closest match of the Democratic front-runners. The test made it clear, though, that with regard to the issues I had marked there was only a small difference in policies between Obama and Clinton. (Significant--guess which candidate voted for wiretapping?--but small.) So why did I already admire Obama so, while having a seemingly-instinctive distrust of Clinton?

I feel like I've been horrible at articulating these things. So, I'm going to link you to three people I read, whose names may or may not matter to you, and their analysis/endorsements.

So let's start with Greg Saunders, who I know little about, but who contributes to This Modern World so I read him sometimes. I think as an overall view of the election, the piece is kind of outdated, but here's the meat:

For starters, Clinton’s biggest selling point has been her “experience”, but as Timothy Noah wrote at Slate, Hillary’s claim of experience is incredibly dishonest :

[D]uring her husband’s two terms in office, Hillary Clinton did not hold a security clearance, did not attend meetings of the National Security Council, and was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. During trips to Bosnia and Kosovo, she “acted as a spokeswoman for American interests rather than as a negotiator.” On military affairs, most of her experience derives not from her White House years but from serving on the Senate armed services committee.

[...]

During the Clinton years, there was one big “accomplishment” that she can claim…her failure to enact universal healthcare. Considering that one of her biggest promises on the stump has been universal healthcare, I’d expect the “most experienced” candidate to have a better pitch in this regard than “second time’s the charm”. If Hillary can learn from the mistakes she made in 1994, who’s to say the other candidates can’t also learn those lessons?

Remember the bit in "Sicko" where you see the dollar amounts taken in bribescontributions from health insurers above the politicians' heads? Hillary was one of those Moore named. In fact, she's taken the second-largest amount of money from the health sector of national politicians--and the first, Santorum, is now gone.

Frederick H. Graefe, a health care lawyer and lobbyist in Washington for more than 20 years, said, “People in many industries, including health care, are contributing to Senator Clinton today because they fully expect she will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.”

“If the usual rules apply,” Mr. Graefe said, early donors will “get a seat at the table when health care and other issues are discussed.”

Source. Fox, meet henhouse.

Person number two: Lawrence Lessig. He's clearly been a great supporter of Obama--he's been writing about his campaign a great deal on his blog. He also has been following the Clinton campaign's apparent attempts to Swift Boat Obama:

It has been argued that Clinton would do well in the general election because she knows how to fight Rove-ian Republicans and is prepared to respond to--by using--dirty tactics.

...huh?

Is that really how we want politics to be, beyond the Bush years, interminably? To have the "Rove virus cross the GOP/DEM barrier"? This isn't a strength, this is horrible!

Lessig has also written about the meaning of "change," a word used constantly by pretty much every candidate (including the Republicans). However, there are different kinds of change. There is the kind of change that is inevitable in 2008--there will be a change in presidency. Bush will no longer be president. Duh. The other kinds of change, the more pressing sort, are changes in policy--and, even better, systemic changes in how Washington operates, from echo chamber to transparency.

Which kind of change does Clinton mean?

The final endorsement: Randall Munroe. Yep, the xkcd guy. Just read it, I'll wait.

Okay.

So that's why Lessig supports Obama so much. Obama went to Lessig, instead of industry lobbyists like everybody else, to help form the tech policy part of his platform. That's why Obama and Clinton were so close on my Glassbooth test. Because tech policy, one of my major issues, was not part of that test.

Check out Obama's technology 'issue' page. It's *long*. Obama supports net neutrality, open document standards, and increasing access to high-speed broadband. He mentions IP and patent reform, too. Obama has also advocated Creative Commons Attribution licensing for the Democratic candidate debates. Basically, I'm extremely impressed that he knows this issue exists and is giving it plenty of pixels, let alone is talking to smart people about it instead of industry hacks. He's like the anti-Ted Stevens! Sweet!

Wow. Hillary Clinton doesn't even have a tech policy page. "Innovation" has one blurb about getting women and minorities into science and one blurb about broadband. That seems to be it. What century are we in again? Oh, right, not yours.

So that's why I prefer Obama...

Unfortunately, I can't do anything about it. I'm registered to vote in Minnesota, which has a caucus system. Since I won't be there in person, I can't contribute. But my parents can. My friends at school who are registered to vote in California can. So do it! This is the one year where the primary results actually matter--where even up to Super Tuesday, there is still no front-runner! It's totally freakish. So be freakish--vote! :)