I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on our editorial “endorsing” Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, including some from a good friend who has given up a large part of her personal life to volunteer for Obama. (I offered her a guest column spot if she wanted to write a rebuttal, so stay tuned for that possibility.)
I used the quote marks around endorsing because the editorial didn’t exactly sing Clinton’s praises. I don’t expect an endorsement of a Democrat in the primary by a conservative editorial page means that much to Democratic voters. Republicans likewise shouldn’t pay too much attention to The Journal Gazette’s endorsement of primary Republicans, since the probability of the paper endorsing those same Republicans in the fall is exceedingly small. But we try to stay in the same conversations everybody else is having, and all we can do is be as honest as we can be. I hope the editorial succeeded:
There are two candidates in the Democratic primary, and they are both very liberal – just look at their ratings by political watchdog groups. Clinton is the less liberal of the two. It is that simple.
I caught a little bit of Pat White on WOWO on the way home yesterday, and he summarized the editorial as “opting for the devil we know” as opposed to the devil we don’t know. That’s as good a description as any, I guess, but it requires a little elaboration.
To say Clinton is “divisive” is only another way to say the country is divided. Half the country thinks one way, half another, and both sides are getting more entrenched and dismissive of the other side. We have to take that division as it is and deal with it. I think Obama is promising something he can’t deliver — a new kind of politics, moving beyond the old ways, all that “hope and change” stuff. When you cut through the rhetoric, he is a liberal politician — nothing more, nothing less — just like Clinton. The conservative half of the nation isn’t going to roll over and play dead just because President Obama says so, especially when it becomes clear he’s just going to make government bigger and spend more money.