The only real valuable thing is intuition.
— Albert Einstein
I feel there are two people inside me–me and my intuition. If I go against her, she’ll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get a long quite nicely.
— Kim Basinger
If I had to summarize my voting strategy for Tuesday in one word, it would be “Intuition.” I’m going with my gut. And my gut tells me to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. I can hardly believe that I wrote that! For months, I’ve said that I would decide whom to vote for when I got into the voting booth. I could leave the top of the ticket blank or vote for Nader or McKinney. It has truly been a long and winding road that has led me to this decision.
I began to think of myself as a Democrat in 1960 when I was 12 years old. That year, I fell in love with politics while following the campaign between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Everyone I knew at school and most of my relatives were supporting Nixon. I felt strongly attracted to Kennedy–his youth and vitality, his eloquent speeches, and the fact that, if elected, he would be the first Catholic President. I’ve always been a bit of an nonconformist, and this time I followed my intuition. Finally, I “came out” as a Kennedy supporter. There were only two of us in my entire junior high school! On election night, I stayed up with my parents to watch the returns. We didn’t know until very very late that Kennedy had won–probably with a little help from his friends in Chicago.
From 1960 onward, I remained fascinated by politics and continued to follow it closely. I turned 21 in 1968, but not until December, so wasn’t able vote against Nixon that year. I would have voted for Humphrey that year, despite the counterculture’s hatred of him. My first vote was for George McGovern in 1972. The networks called the election for Nixon that year right after the polls closed. McGovern had lost every state except the one I voted in–Massachusetts. That was the last time I was able to vote for a candidate I truly liked and supported until Bill Clinton. Every four years, I was disgusted with the choices, and I often voted for third party candidates.
Then came 1980 and Ronald Reagan. I loathed Jimmy Carter and I hadn’t voted for him the first time he ran. In 1980, I again voted third party–I regret to say that I voted for John Anderson. I was stunned when Reagan carried Massachusetts! After that I made a vow that I would vote the straight Democratic ticket in future elections. I have stuck with that vow. But it was an intellectual decision. It didn’t come from my gut. I voted for Walter Mondale, who, like McGovern, managed to carry only one state. I voted for Michael Dukakis, whom I strongly disliked. He carried ten states. I voted twice, happily, for Bill Clinton.
In 2000, I began to realize that there was something very wrong with the Democratic Party. It was no longer the party of FDR, JFK, and LBJ. The party had become cautious, elitist, afraid to get down in the mud and fight for Democratic principles. They were embarrassed by Bill and Hillary Clinton–not proud of all they had accomplished. I thought Gore ran a poor campaign, chose a terrible VP candidate, and was foolish not to ask Bill Clinton to campaign for him. In the end I was angry that the Democrats didn’t fight back against the media attacks on Gore or against the Republicans in Florida. But I had stuck to my vow. I voted a straight Democratic ticket.
Again in 2004, I voted for “the Democrat,” even though I thought Kerry was another poor candidate. I was so excited in the last couple of days before the election, thinking that Kerry was going to win and we would have a Democrat in the White House. We all know how that turned out. Ohio was a mess, and Kerry chose not to fight for fear of being called a “sore loser.” But again, I enthusiastically supported the Democrats in the 2006 midterms. I was elated when they won majorities in both Senate and House. But not for long: Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table, Harry Reid didn’t really try to end the War in Iraq and went along with torture and domestic spying. Why was I supporting Democrats again? Oh yes, because they are supposedly better than Republicans.
I still had high hopes for 2008. We had lots of candidates, although I wasn’t sure which one I would support in the primaries. I never really had a good feeling about Obama’s candidacy. Yes, I had liked his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. But I certainly did not expect him to start running for President as soon as he as he was elected to the Senate. I thought he should have waited, and I had a really bad feeling about how it would all turn out. Still it would be exciting to elect the first Black President. And I thought maybe I could end up voting for him.
As I researched Obama’s record, my bad feelings about his candidacy began to grow. I learned about Rezko, Rev. Wright, and Bill Ayers. I learned that Obama had very little experience that would qualify him to run for President. Worst of all, I couldn’t figure out what Obama actually believed in. To me he seemed politically conservative, but he was impossible to pin down. He had almost no record or resume, and he was so vague in his public statements that I had to conclude he was either hiding his real views or that he had no core values at all. I repeatedly asked Obama supporters what issue he would stand and fight for, go to the mat for, and I never got an answer.
By sometime in January, I knew in my gut that I couldn’t support Barack Obama. He claimed to be a unifying, transformational candidate, but at the same time he encouraged hatred of baby boomers, he ignited fears about social security, and he allowed a blatant homophobe to represent him at campaign rallies. While campaigning in Iowa, Obama frequently used Republican talking points and made incredibly sexist comments about Hillary Clinton–saying that she was only running because of her husband and that all she did as First Lady was have teas with the wives of foreign leaders. Obama made no effort to discourage the misogyny that had been let loose in the media and on “liberal” blogs. Shockingly, he repeatedly implied and allowed his staff state outright that Hillary and Bill Clinton were racists.
Early on, when so many people around me were falling all over themselves to support Obama, I asked myself, “What am I missing?” I wondered if maybe I should just fall in line, get with the program. But something held me back. I just didn’t trust the man. To me Obama seemed arrogant and full of himself–almost like George W. Bush. And he had even less experience than Bush did when he ran in 2000.
As I watched the primary debates, I realized that Hillary Clinton was by far the best candidate. She was smart, articulate, and strong-willed–always prepared for any question. She handled the horrible attacks on her with grace and courage. I think the New Hampshire primary was what really did it for me. During the debate, Obama made his disgusting, arrogant remark, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” Edwards and Obama ganged up on Hillary, and the media began their endless cries for her to quit the race. It was very clear which candidate the media preferred. I voted for Hillary on Feb. 5, and soon afterward, I found the new blog that Riverdaughter (Goldberry) had started.
Here at The Confluence, I have encountered kindred spirits who have helped me deal with the psychological turmoil I’ve been going through for the past year. We’ve discussed every aspect of the race and watched the Democratic Party being turned into a club for wealthy elitists who think they don’t really need government. We became pumas together here at The Confluence. And I am so grateful for all of you and especially to Riverdaughter for this wonderful, supportive blog! I have been influenced by the arguments of so many insightful Conflucians. But in the end it’s my own intuition that I’m following.
Over the past year, I have followed the campaign closely in company with other like-minded people here. I have come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is a pathological narcissist who will use anyone, say anything, do anything to get what he wants. In my opinion, he is utterly corrupt, ruthless, and a compulsive liar. I believe he is even more of an authoritarian than Bush or Cheney. I can’t prove it, but my intuition tells me I’m right.
On Friday night, I went out to dinner and a movie with an old friend. I hadn’t talked to her for a few months, and I had no idea how she felt about the election. I knew she had voted for Hillary in the primary, but had no idea how she felt about Obama. At dinner, I finally asked her if she was supporting Obama. It turned out that she had thought I would be backing him, and was afraid to bring up the subject. We were both so relieved that the other hadn’t become an Obamabot!
During my conversation with this old friend, I made my decision. Somehow, I just knew that I had to stop hedging, stop being afraid to vote for a Republican. I had to go all the way, trust my intuition, and vote for McCain and Palin–well really for Palin. I don’t know if I could have voted for McCain with a different VP candidate on the ticket. But the sexist treatment that Sarah Palin has gotten from the Obama camapaign and from the media, has demonstrated to me that the sexism and misogyny I saw directed at Hillary Clinton is directed at all women. I will never validate that woman hatred with my vote.
Even though it’s been a long struggle, I’m completely comfortable with my decision now. I’ve been sold on the 30% solution ever since MadamaB first wrote about it. And I will not, cannot vote for Barack Obama. On Tuesday, I will go down to my polling place and cast my vote for Sarah Palin and her running mate. I have to vote Republican this time–no weaseling out of it. It’s my responsibility to show the Democratic Party they are on the wrong track. It has truly been a long and winding road that has led me to this point. But my intuition tells me that I’m doing the right thing.