Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Guest Post: Presidential Election 2008

This comes from a friend of mine, Nicole, a former intern in the Clinton staff. I am reposting her comments on the election here with her permission.

If you've talked to me about politics in the past few months - which given how busy I have been, may not have been too many of you - you've certainly heard me express that despite being a huge Hillary supporter that I do want to like Obama. Throughout this primary, I've felt like Obama is a good guy, with good ideas, plagued by a tremendous lack of experience. I could see myself voting for him in 8 years or for VP, but certainly not for President, not right now. But, as I've learned more about him from friends, CNN, and his own policies, I am beginning to see fundamental issues with his candidacy that I cannot support. Barack Obama may be a good guy, but he's wrong on the issues and not a good representative of the people in America whose voices have been most marginalized.

First of all, the issues that are the most important to me are healthcare, education, and the welfare of America's poorest citizens. Obama lacks good ideas in all three areas.

Obama's educational advisor has published countless studies discounting Teach for America. Instead of creating a critical mass of people who have been informed by a common experience of knowing first hand what plagues our public schools, Obama thinks that putting good teachers in the classroom and talking to kids who don't want to learn is the answer. Let me tell you this: you can put all the good teachers you want to at Locke (in fact we have MANY), but the school will still be dysfunctional and a nightmare. In fact, I think that if I were to work at Locke much longer, I would become dysfunctional and a nightmare. Obama doesn't realize that a HUGE reformation and overhaul of our nation's public schools is necessary to make things better for ALL students (in his speech tonight Obama only mentioned black and white students). Obama is wrong on education.

Obama is also wrong on healthcare. When I think about my students and their families, and when I ask them, I do not see them prioritizing the purchase of healthcare if it was affordable and accessible, as Obama proposes. Obama's healthcare plan does not overhaul the system, and I wonder if this self proclaimed leader is too inexperienced and weak to propose true revolutionary ideas that will actually change things as opposed to just espousing change. For someone who is such a beautiful speaker, he certainly doesn't say much. We need a nationally mandated healthcare system, which Obama doesn't seem to either believe in or have the guts to promote.

Finally, on CNN tonight, they reported that there is a distinct split among Democratic voters. Those who make over $50,000 a year support Obama, and those who make less than $50,000 a year support Clinton. To illustrate this even further, Obama's strongest and most consistent support comes from those who make over $150,000 a year; Clinton's strongest support comes from those who make less than $15,000 a year. When, in this country, will we begin to think about those whose voices are muted by true poverty? Well, if we listen closely, poor Americans believe that Clinton does listen to their voice, and I think that is a stronger endorsement that Senator Kennedy could ever give.

I'm not claiming to know everything about this race or that either candidate is perfect. However, I want a better America for ALL people. I don't want flowery language, a good public speaker, and a cool guy that "makes me proud to be an American." I want someone who can deliver on day one. I want someone to be my President that will be strong enough to stand up to anyone, someone that doesn't get endorsements from senior senators who hope to have a direct line to the White House. I want someone who will bring our troops home immediately. I want a President who has experience, clear policy ideas, and a clear understanding of how to be a world leader. I want Hillary to be my President.

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