While I've had mixed feelings about Obama, my feelings on Hillary are quite clear. Richard Nixon skillfully showed that lack of moral scruple is usually not a significant obstacle to political success. But when you combine Hillary's lack of scruple with her lack of any tangible accomplishment in her "35 years of service" you realize she is just a front for her husband's otherwise unconstitutional third term. She ran an incompetent campaign, clearly demonstrating that Hillary and Bill's political expertise has been vastly overrated. Her recent attempts at finding some purchase on Obama, like the suddenly discovered outrage over the near 50 year old suppression of Tibet, reminds me of a fish struggling in a net.
I initially considered voting for Obama because I found his anti-war stance attractive. As I wrote here, I think we need to withdraw completely from not just Iraq, but the entire Middle East. Obama is not radical enough, and he's not honest. He's committed to a "measured withdrawal" while I want a sudden one. He isn’t honest enough to admit the plain consequence of a withdrawal: a regional war. My view is that we'll eventually get this sort of chaos no matter what we do, because we've fought ourselves onto ground we can’t hold in the long run. I want to get out so that when there is chaos, we're not in the crossfire. Let the Chinese bleed to preserve "stability" in the Middle East.
But regardless, he lost my vote with his race speech. While I'm not convinced that Jeremiah Wright is a racist, his lies about America make it clear he is no patriot. I've watched his entire sermon leading up to his "God Damned America!" quote, and the longer context does nothing to mitigate the fact that he was exulting in 9/11. I actually subscribe to the analysis that says that that U.S. foreign policy contributed to the event, but that is far different from exulting in it as part of God's anger. Far different. So Wright is no patriot.
Neither is Obama. He's the sort of man that believes that simple love of country is too unsophisticated for his Harvard Law School sensibilities. But as the pictures and commentary on this post make clear, when lack of simple patriotism becomes a political liability - then the flags come out. He wasn't talking about race until his attitudes and associates get called into question. Then somehow it becomes something that requires a national dialogue.
To me it isn’t just the "controversial statements." Jeremiah Wright is a follower of James Cone's brand of Liberation Theology. As a Catholic, I find this deeply troubling. There is a reason that John Paul II publicly rebuked a Nicaraguan bishop on this matter. This is a theology that is rooted in Marxism, and it casts Christ as a political revolutionary for the oppressed, not a spiritual redeemer of all. So that is my problem with Obama - he is really a socialist at heart, and I can find nothing in any speech that disabuses me of that notion.
Geraldine Ferraro was right. Obama would not be where he is if he wasn't black. Obama has the Magical Negro schtick going. He's no more articulate than John Edwards, no more accomplished, no more committed to the Democratic Party's idea of "social justice." Obama is black, so for cultural reasons there are plenty of white people that credit him - based on words alone - with a certain wisdom and nobility because it fits into an Hollywood stereotype. Obama is all myth.
It's nice to know that as a white male I'm somehow a swing voter this year. But there is a reason the Democrats haven't won the white vote since 1964, and they probably won’t win it this year either. There is a certain limit to one's willingness to be the gravy train for someone else's idea of "justice."
So I won’t vote for Obama. Neither will I vote for John McCain. The last time I voted for a mainstream politician was my (proud) vote for Ronald Reagan. Until his like comes again, I'll continue to vote libertarian.