Note: The following recommendation is the author's own, and does not necessarily represent the views of AVN.com, AVN magazine nor their owners.
I'm going to assume that everyone reading this is at least semi-intelligent. That means that the facts that Hillary Clinton is a woman and Barack Obama is black don't mean a thing when choosing which person would be the best one to lead what some have termed "the greatest experiment in the history of the world": The United States.
Of course, "best" is a relative term, especially in light of the fact that two superior candidates – Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards – have already dropped out of the race, thanks mainly to lack of, and in some instances deliberately but subtly disparaging, coverage by the corporate media. So the choice must be made among two Democratic candidates who owe (and will owe) much (by some estimates , upwards of $500 million) to corporate contributors. (Any adult industry member or supporter who votes for a Republican for president should be considered professionally suicidal.)
(Those who wish to see which corporations are contributing to which candidates can look here.)
Fortunately, we can ignore issues that both candidates agree on, such as net neutrality (they're for it), abortion (they'd keep it legal), warrantless wiretapping (they're against it), bombing Iran (both say it would require congressional authorization), illegally "vetoing" laws through presidential signing statements (both say they wouldn't do it), declaring citizens to be unlawful enemy combatants (both say that's unlawful, though neither has said s/he will close the Guantanamo prison), torture (both say the president can't order it done), the Geneva Conventions (both say they're part of the law of this land), habeas corpus (both say it's a constitutional right), gays (neither supports "gay marriage" – certainly a negative – but both support civil unions) and judges (both would nominate fair and relatively impartial jurists, though Obama's protestations about his "faith" – see below – might give some pause.)
Sadly (but expectedly), neither candidate has come out for protection of sexual speech, and both would limit it in some ways. Clinton's platform states that she favors "Protecting children against violence and sexual content in the media and studying the impact of electronic media on children's cognitive, social, and physical development," though Obama voted "present" on a federal bill that would usurp local zoning boards and prohibit adult businesses from opening near schools and houses of worship. (His vote supposedly was meant to avoid the feds grabbing power from the locals, but a free speech supporter would simply have voted "no.")
Significantly, Clinton doesn't speak about her "faith" on her website – a plus – while Obama, in a section of his site "Reconciling Faith and Politics," favors discussion on "the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate" and "the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life." Actually, a president should avoid all discussions of "faith" since religion has historically been (and continues to be) the "Great Divider," as can be seen in America's (Christian) war against "terrorism" (Muslims). Discussions of "faith" are best left to clergy, since the Constitution prohibits the government from favoring any religion, or religion over secularism.
Obama's religious beliefs even spill over into his views on sex. As Ira Chernus reports, Obama has been quoted as saying, "My Bible tells me that if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. So I think faith and guidance can help fortify a sense of reverence that all young people should have for the act of sexual intimacy."
Neither candidate favors tax-paid universal healthcare, but while both candidates would require the current crop of health insurance companies to offer policies to all citizens, no matter what their medical histories have been, they would also allow people to buy similar insurance from the government. Clinton, however, would require that each person purchase some health insurance policy, while Obama believes that people will buy it voluntarily if the price is right. Economist Paul Krugman opines that "the evidence says otherwise," and that universal tax-paid healthcare stands no chance of happening with an Obama administration.
In what should be considered a major affront to the American people, both candidates are wishy-washy on the extent to which a president can invoke "executive privilege," with Obama dissembling that "the Supreme Court has not resolved this question, and reasonable people have debated it," adding that, "My view is that executive privilege generally depends on the involvement of the President and the White House." Clinton's position, while admitting a belief that each branch of government should "striv[e] to accommodate the interests of the other" and "share as much information as possible with the public," is a bit worse in claiming that it is "settled law" that certain "communications made by presidential advisors in the course of preparing advice for the President, come under the presidential communications privilege, even when these communications are not made directly to the President." However, she also said, "I reject the basic premise of the Bush Administration's view that Executive Power is not subject to the rule of law or to constitutional checks and balances" – a very good stand to take, considering the extent of the current administration's criminality.
A comparison of voting records is also problematic for both candidates. One of the early bones of contention in the Clinton campaign was her vote in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force in the Middle East, which Bush illegally took as a blank check for "declaration of war" on Iraq, but nearly as troubling was her vote for a non-binding resolution to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran as a "terrorist organization" – a move that could pave the way for a Bush-ordered attack on Iran. Moreover, Clinton serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which brought her into close contact with defense industry lobbyists, whom she undoubtedly would have had to appease to get her initiatives approved.
Obama, on the other hand, has voted for his share of questionable measures, as detailed in Paul Street's article for zmag; notably a "tort reform" bill that would deprive citizens of class action status, and the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act.
He also failed to support Sen. Russ Feingold's motion to censure Bush for having engaged in illegal wiretapping of citizens ... and then there's that problematic interview with the Reno Gazette, where he stated, "I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
First of all, Reagan offered no increased accountability of government – anyone remember Iran/Contra? What the country actually needs is a sense that the government is being honest with the citizenry, that its political leaders are more interested in the welfare of the citizenry than their own welfare, and that corporate power doesn't trump the power of ordinary individuals at every turn. Obama gives no sense that he will provide that, and his invocation of the "God of the Wingers" shows poor judgment on his part.
Obama has put himself forth as the "candidate of change," and as someone who wouldn't galvanize as much Republican opposition as Clinton would ... but if "change" equals "inexperience," Obama owns it in spades. He's certainly erudite enough on the campaign trail, but I get the sense that in a real slugfest with his Republican opponent, his responses would lean toward the platitude rather than anything substantive, and that's deadly in a hard-fought election, which the 2008 race will be.
Clinton, on the other hand, despite criticism (mostly from Mitt Romney) that she "hasn't run anything," has an unusual advantage: She's already been in the White House for eight years – admittedly as the wife of the president, but the idea that she never discussed policy with her husband is ludicrous. She also has experienced, first-hand, the Republican slime machine at work, and thus far on the campaign trail has dealt with it well. Moreover, despite an early enthusiasm for her to be the Dem candidate, the reactionary right now seems a bit afraid of her, with neocon commentators like the New York Times' David Brooks (among others) portraying Obama as the new JFK, and lauding Ted Kennedy's endorsement that, "With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion." In Neocon-speak, that means the Right now thinks Obama will be easier to beat – a position capped off Friday when Ann Coulter appeared on Neil Cavuto's show on Fox News Channel and announced that she'd be voting for Clinton, because Clinton is more conservative than John McCain, and Sunday, with neocon Bill Kristol assuring his Fox News Sunday audience that the only people who support Clinton are "the Democratic Leadership Council and white women."
Indeed, Clinton is a bit conservative ... but neither candidate is an out-and-out liberal – that candidate (Kucinich) was eased out of the race early – and both are significantly to the left of anyone the Republicans could nominate. But what seems clear is that what Clinton is now saying on the campaign trail is what we can expect her to say once in the White House; Obama gives no such assurance, and his inexperience would likely move him to the right if he gained the presidency.
But there's another aspect of experience that's important – perhaps supremely important – here, and that's that with the election of Hillary Clinton, we essentially get two presidents for the price of one. Bill Clinton has been through all the right-wing horseshit, even the part where the Right has blamed just about every one of Bush's economic and other policy failures on Clinton, even up to the 2006 election. It's not hard to see Bill Clinton becoming the male counterpart of an Eleanor Roosevelt, who during her "term" as First Lady, spoke at numerous social and political events, held weekly press conferences and even wrote a syndicated newspaper column (Bill would probably blog). Quoth Wikipedia: "Eleanor Roosevelt saw the job of the First Lady as a buffer between depression victims and the government bureaucracy, a guardian of human values within the administration not just as a social, ceremonial position." Bill Clinton's humanitarian efforts, especially in the wake of the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami, are well-known, and while it's doubtful that he'd fully be able to fill Eleanor Roosevelt's shoes, he'd certainly do the "First Gentleman" job far better than any First Lady since Roosevelt.
Of course, were Clinton to become the nominee, the Reactionary Right would throw everything it has at her – in fact, they've already started with L. Brent "Bozo" Bozell and Tim Graham's lie-riddled "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will" – and will rake up all the lies they told about her husband to boot. But the right will attempt to slime whatever candidate the Democrats put forward, and who better to weather that: The Clintons, who've been through it all before and survived well, or Obama, who truly has no idea what he'll be facing, and lacks the experience to deal down in the mud where these fascists operate?
Therefore, with mild trepidation, I support Hillary Clinton's candidacy over that of Barack Obama, and encourage people to vote for her in the "Super Tuesday" primaries. I don't feel great about the recommendation, but I understand it's the only game in town.