Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What Happened Yesterday: Super Tuesday

(For my March 4 thoughts, they're here.)

Two years ago, I admitted that I love politics. I love the races and I watch both sides with equal interest. And while I've also admitted that I think politics is a very imperfect way to try and achieve the goals of the Kingdom of God, that doesn't dampen my interest in it.

I didn't get to watch much of the returns last night for Super Tuesday. Sheryl and I spent about a half hour or so in our basement with the kids as a tornado went fairly near our house and then continuing to watch the local channels as more came kind of near us, but some basic reactions to Super Tuesday.

First off, can someone explain why there's not a federal law calling for, if not one national primary, maybe four different ones in January, February, March, and April? It makes no sense that Iowa and New Hampshire to determine who the candidates will be.

Republicans

Sorry all you Huck-ers, Mitt-ites, and conspiracy theorists... I mean, Ron Paulines. McCain's got this one sewn up. He's got a ton of delegates and he might not have won a majority of votes in all the states, but he's really drawing from a lot of places. It's been very interesting for me to listen to conservative talk radio and how much people seem to HATE McCain. I guess I can understand why. But it seems that all the reasons that conservatives dislike him is why I do. It seems that his greatest offense is that he's worked with Democrats to pass legislation in Congress. I guess conservatives think that's compromising.

I know Justin will agree with me, but the media is really short changing a candidate in the Republican primary, but it's not Justin's candidate. Ron Paul deserves the little attention he's getting as evidenced by how he did last night. The candidate that had been pushed to the side was Huckabee. And he showed last night that he's still a force to be reckoned with. He's not going to be the nominee, but he showed that he has clout by winning in the South. People may disagree with him and might think that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain, but it wasn't last night. Last night, a vote for Huckabee was another nudge toward making him the Vice President.

Democrats

For the first time in my life yesterday, I voted for a Democrat for president, Obama. There are things I will disagree with him on, but I honestly feel like he would do a good job as the president and could bring some unity to the political landscape.

Now, outside of that, I want to mention something. I was watching CNN before the storms came and there seemed to be some amazement about the idea that white people in the South were voting for Obama. Here's my theory: Because of the civil rights era and the predominance of African-Americans in the South, we have been forced to deal with our prejudices in a more open environment. We have had to come to terms in a way that perhaps other parts of the country might have not had to. Now, I haven't lived in other parts of the country. I've lived in Nashville my entire life so I may not have a proper perspective on it. But my sense is that, especially among people my age and younger, we don't judge someone on their skin color. Now we might judge on clothing or appearance or perceived economic status, but we don't judge on skin color, which is why Obama does as well as he does with younger voters and even younger white voters.

One thing is for certain on the Democratic side: this ain't over. It's still a horse race. One number I saw this morning said that there were over 14 million votes cast in the Democratic primaries and out of those, only 40,000 are separating Clinton from Obama. Whatever the case, it's going to be a ton of fun to keep watching on both sides.

18 comments:

Scott said...

I would say a great deal of overt racism still exists in the south. That is evidenced by the 60+ vote yesterday. They voted against Obama in droves.
I believe that racism exists in the smear campaigns that have been run against Obama to this point: he's a closeted Muslim, he's racist and not a true Christian, etc.
Now, granted, I haven't lived in Tennessee for a decade but some of the most racist folks I ever met lived there. I'm safe in saying that it was far worse in Texas but I believe that we are still so close to the civil rights era that it is somewhat surprising.
Having an opponent as polarizing as Hillary certainly helps.

Phil said...

I don't disagree, but note that I pointed out younger voters might tend less toward that. The over 60 vote would definitely show an age gap in that theory.

Suzie said...

It's funny. I hear a lot of people talk about how racist Tennessee is. I found as much or more racism in Ohio as I did in Tennessee.
Interestingly enough, in the weeks leading up to the primary, I saw more Obama and Ron Paul signs than any other. There is one person in Bellevue who has painstakingly made several Ron Paul signs by hand with stencils. I'm disappointed that there is not a candidate that I am wholeheartedly excited about.

jonmower said...

I spent the first 27 years of my life in NC and TN. The last 8 have been in MI. I tend to agree with suzie that a great deal of overt racism still exists in the north too. And it goes both ways, with blacks often being prejudiced against whites too. Historically (still the case to a large degree) the white culture is the one of power and therefore deserving of greater scrutiny and responsibility regarding its racism, but I think increasingly (to the extent they remain mostly segregated) all of us (white, black, brown, etc.) will have to face and repudiate their natural tendency to fear that which is different. Consider, for example, the African-American/Hispanic friction that conventional wisdom says is having a big impact in the primaries. Also, I don't think illegal immigration would be such a big issue to so many if we were over race.

Since we're on the subject of race, I highly recommend listening to the "Babies Buying Babies" segment of the 18 January 2008, installment of the This American Life radio show: link

Thomas+ said...

Hey Phil,

I have lived in three cities in Texas; and I have lived in Pittsburgh and Nashville. Of them all, the city where I found the most racism was Pittsburgh. By a long shot. I have never been around people who were so happy to make explicitly racist comments than the folks I knew in the 'burgh.

That said, racism is a force of darkness that continues to work in the U.S. I agree with jonmower that it is a significant issue in the discussion about illegal aliens. Race-talk is also very significant, as in "is Obama 'black' enough?"

I adhere to a particular school of thought about racism which believes that racism is a power-tool. In this idea, it is impossible for someone in an out of power group to be racist. I would call a black person who hates white people a "bigot," rather than a racist. But I am probably just splitting hairs.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what is it about Obama's past record that draws you to support him? I've not gotten a clear answer from anyone on that question other than he's for change. I'm very interested to know. So far, all I can see from his voting record is that he's very wet behind the ears and has a limited voting record. IMHO, he's just a nice, intelligent black guy that is at the right place at the right time.

And as far as McCain is concerned, it's about the conservative belief system. True conservatives believe certain things about issues and McCain has not be a supporter of those beliefs or that platform. It's not a personal slam, it's just the truth. He would be better called a Democratlican. He's more Democrat than Republican. But why not just say that, instead of the way he constantly wants us to think he's all about conservatism and Reagan. He believes "reaching across the aisle" always means bowing the the liberal agenda. And that's great, if you truly believe in amnesty, tax increases, and even bigger government that we've gotten since Bush and been in office. But for some bizarre reason he wants to call himself a conservative. The only thing I can see that he has been conservative on is the push for the surge in the war on terror. Which worked. But still that's the lone issue where he's conservative from my count.

Ron Paul probably isn't a bad guy, in fact I agreed with some of his points. But what lost it for him was his supporters. I know your friend Justin won't agree, but most of them were nuts and so they made his ability to be taken seriously next to impossible.

And as far as analyzing exit polling data, that is useless. Every exit poll regarding the winners and losers was off by 10 points or better. So determining who voted for who and why is just as tainted.

It's going to be an interesting year for both parties. But most certainly for conservatives. You won't get real conservative activist who have been the backbone of those willing to give money to the RNC and do real physically work for them to buy into the "McCain is our Guy" idea. The RNC is going to find itself with limited funding and limited workers.

Rob Robinson said...

That's an amazing stat about the 14 million votes and a razor-thin margin, Phil.

I don't understand the racism vs. sexism analysis I see all over the place today. Yes, many voters voted against a black candidate by voting for Clinton, but Obama voters voted against a female candidate by voting for him, too.

How is it automatically discrimination to choose one candidate or the other when both could be a vote for reasons of empowerment *or* prejudice? (Or ideally, neither, and just for the person voters think is best suited to lead the nation).

DB Carden said...

The conservative wing of the Republican party has made their own bed by supporting George W. Bush (by no means a conservative--$1.86T budget in 2001 versus $3.1T in 2009) at any cost. It was imperative that some electable person beat Gore in 2000, so they supported Bush. It's my opinion they made their own bed with attracting the party rank and file to McCain.

It took from 1776 to 1989 to get a federal budget of $1.1T, Bush added that much in his 8 years in office.

Older people voted for Hillary because that is her constituency. It's not a Tennessee phenomenon.

Amy said...

I'm a Hillary fan myself, but could be supportive of Obama as well.

I don't see why Hillary is so polarizing, she is a class act in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hilary a class act? Explain

jonmower said...

anonymous commentors demanding explanations?

Anonymous said...

Not demanding, just very curious.

Rob Cox said...

I don't want to speak for Amy but one thing I will give Hillary credit for is not leaving Bill when he was unfaithful. That is an extremely difficult situation when you're not in the spotlight. It must be doubly so when Jay Leno is telling jokes about it every night.

Amy said...

What I meant by "class act" is how she conducts herself. Rob referred to the way she handled the Monica disaster.

She shows tremendous dignity under pressure. I think she would do well with our foreign relations by using this gift of graciousness.

Our country really prospered under the Clinton presidency in the 90's, and I think Hillary was a big part of that. And I think Bill would be a big part of her presidency as well. I trust their teamwork.

Every time I hear her, read about her, or read what she has written I am just very impressed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you view the circumstances in that way, using words like trust and teamwork. If you go back over her career and look at the multiple instances of lies, manipulations and scandals, trust and teamwork aren't words that immediately come to mind for me.

Also, in going back over her record, I struggle to pinpoint anything she's actually accomplished. In that I mean legislation that was passed that she built. Real points of success. I just can't find it. If you have specifics you could name, you might be able to sway an Obama fan or two.

I agree keeping her chin up during the Monica mess must have been very tough, but as far as I can see, that's about where my admiration ends. Sticking with your husband doesn't make you qualified to be President. Especially when that same husband was a humiliation to the dignity of the office....literally. And I repeat that I was not demanding an explanation, just very curious at how "class act" would be defined by a Hilary fan.

Amy said...

I'm trying to think of how to ask this in a classy way...

With whom am I having a conversation?

I am just curious.

Anonymous said...

A sort of Obama supporter

Amy said...

just trying to pull you out, ya know! all in good fun. :)

okay, Phil, you may have your blog back!

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