Politics Like It Oughta be….

January 24, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in Hillary Clinton, Politics, Vermont

Our family lived in the Midwest all of our lives before following the dream and moving to Vermont five years ago. MO is a solid red state. We had our kids in hip urban independent schools, and surrounded ourselves with insightful thinkers who bucked the statewide trend. But still, every political cycle we were forced to endure the Bible Belt politics of our state in the local media and at every kid’s soccer game. The offices we owned and worked in were filled with people voting against their economic interests and sending their kids off to wars none of us could understand.

We longed to live in a blue state. We loved one with almost comically liberal leanings, calling itself the Republic of Vermont. We could hardly wait. I pined to be in rooms with people who understood me and to have political discussions about ideas that wouldn’t degenerate to the knee jerk religious training of childhood.

And now, in the middle of what is arguably the most exciting political season of the last fifty years, I am here. I live in the blue state of Vermont. My friends and I are having heated exciting conversations, and here in this lefty liberal place, I am charged with choosing the more conservative candidate. People wonder, out loud, about my commitment to peace. I, who have long loved thinking of myself as a peace and justice progressive, am being called an establishment Dem…and I am garnering rolled eyes, and derision and sniffs. This is coming from the people on my team. So why is my credibility as a liberal in such question?

I am a Hillary supporter.

Let me say that I love them all. Kucinich’s opposition to this wretched war has been solid and consistent. Obama is attracting new voters to a process that has been alienating people for generations. Edward’s populist message sings to working people. We have the tragedy of choice as far as I am concerned. It is like being in the cereal aisle with lots of bright shiny neon colors and sweet temptation. And I dearly wish I could be with the young hip crowd. I like their clothes better for one thing. Their music is pretty great too.

But I am a woman before I am a Democrat. And damnit that doesn’t make me a conservative war mongering democrat.

Men are outpacing women, according to the census by 42%, in regular wages. When Maggie Thatcher was PM the one good thing she did was raise women’s boats in her country by her presence alone. British women’s wages grew 34% faster than their American sisters during her tenure.

In every civil rights race African American men have beaten us, to the right to own property, the right to vote, and in school admissions. Black men could be doctors when no medical school would consider a woman to be more than a nurse.

As to Senator Obama, he wants day care subsidies for the poor. That is the surest route to long-lasting poverty as evidenced by every study everywhere. Poor women work to pay for daycare and gas, and work clothes, and their babies go to the poorly staffed, day care that they can afford. They will never be able to afford nannies or probably even in home day-care which is much more costly. No, their children will be confined to the “baby rooms”…most states allow 8 babies under 6 months to a childcare worker in their licensing requirements. Most states also require that those workers get 3 fifteen minute breaks and a lunch because the crying is so stressful. The babies of course never get a break. American babies suffer high blood pressure, and all kinds of childhood illness at unprecedented rates as a result. These subsidies remind me of formula gifts to poor women in developing countries…they get enough to last them until their milk dries up, and then what? Why not subsidize women for staying home with their babies and value the unique contributions that mothers make to a healthy society? Day care subsidies undermine and devalue women and motherhood in a way that the conservative right can only dream about.

The good Senator voted present 137 times in the Illinois House, likely to preserve a non controversial record for his senate run, where he has served for only 1 year before announcing for the presidency, again with only a very bare record.

His health care plan leaves 1/3 of people currently uncovered still uncovered.

Obama opposed the war because it was easy when you didn’t have to vote. I opposed
it the same way. But, if I’d been a Senator and my president told me…(cause when you are a Senator there is a higher responsibility), that he needed the authority I may very well have given it to him. The congress and the president have to act in mutual trust no matter their personal antagonism. It is not jingoism to have voted as Hillary did, in my view it is as easily the work of a conscientious Senator rising above politics. Obama’s war votes have mirrored hers exactly ever since he got there.

And he said he would vote against the Patriot Act before he was elected. Only then he voted for it.

He said he’d vote against funding the war before he was elected. Only then he voted to fund it.

But nobody can electrify a room like he can. He’s a real pretty talker. And of course whether there is substance or not, people, Democrats especially, want to fall in love and be wowed. We are an impractical romantic bunch. But the tear stained faces of the crowds scare me a little. He hopes for change…but what is it he wants to change and what evidence is there that he can accomplish? I hear people comparing him to Kennedy. I don’t see it. Kennedy was an experienced three term congressman who worked with Republicans to pass legislation like Hillary does, then a senator, and a war hero.

We have a plethora of choice, and reasonable people can disagree about which one is better. I am a liberal, and I am a Hillary supporter. Maybe I’ll make my own bumper sticker…


  • Anonymous

    We are all scared to death we wil blow this thing again. There are enormously strong feelings about the risks of running Hillary or Obama.
    Welcome to New England where we take our politcs as seriously as we take our families…

  • Anonymous

    nice post..i just hope republicans don’t come out in huge numbers to vote against her

  • beesknees

    Look how lucky we all are. Finally we, Democrats, have candidates we actually feel affirmatively about. We haven’t had much of a primary fightin recent years, because we haven’t had much in the way of candidates.
    May we all stand in line behind our nominee, and for once act like good Republicans.
    We need to fight hard, and then stand firm

  • Kat


    We are READY!

  • Kellan

    I am very excited about this race – it is about time!!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my site. I’ve read back through your posts a bit and thoroughly enjoy your essays and your writing. Come by again anytime – love to see you again. Take care. Kellan

  • illinois x

    you go girl…

  • library lady

    I am a life-long bleeding heart liberal and I admire your political acumen. But I have to confess that I would contribute a chunk of my life savings if this were all over. Politics at this point in the campaign wear me out!

  • mary

    Hillary is way ahead in super delegates and polls. We are going to win this thing!

  • Pattied

    Right on.Go sistah!

  • Jennifer

    I’ve gone back and forth, again and again. As a woman I want to support Hillary. I really, really do. But…I don’t. (I won’t take up all of your comment space on the ins and outs. *sigh*.) For now, Obama is my man. However. If she’s the nominee, I’ll cast my vote her way, almost guaranteed. I’ll turn back to you if and when, so you can get me on board the Hillary train. 😉

  • marybeth

    I know Florida doesn’t count, but I am praying she gets a bounce into next Tuesday tonight.
    Caroline was a blow yesterday. The old Kennedy Clinton feud made it ineveitavble,and Ted is usually the kiss of death, but sttill, it hurts.
    Her campaign is practical like her presidency will be. It accomplishes buit there is little poetry. But I think you are right. That’s good enough

  • Anonymous

    I like Obama better and I am a Hillary supporter. I guess that makes me a real and true sexist

  • galaxiecarol

    Hi. Great post. I’ve found myself in the same position lately and you helped me complete my thoughts on supporting Hillary. For me, it comes down to the fact that I cannot, will not, NOT vote for the first woman to make a legitimate run for the Presidency.

    And I agree there really isn’t any relation between Obama and Kennedy other than that relationship invented by the speeches and that desperately longed for by the crowd.

  • jamie

    I’m so with you on this one! 🙂

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