Hillary Clinton is done. She's been done for some time, and everyone knows it but her. It's good that the Democratic race is essentially over, because it's way past time to start thinking about the general election and making sure the conservatives lose as much power and influence as possible. And that's where this gets weird.
I prefer Obama as a candidate over Clinton, and have from the beginning, even though the two are close on every policy position and in most other respects. I prefer Obama not because Clinton is a woman (the recent charges of widespread misogyny are just pathetic), and not because Clinton is a Clinton (I liked Bill as President), but because Obama at least tries to practice a different kind of politics, because his persona isn't constructed for political expediency and restructured every time the landscape changes. Because Clinton is part of, and manifests the rhetoric and attitudes of, the generation of politicians that has caused this hyperpartisan, all-or-nothing, self-righteous political atmosphere. She seems incapable of disengaging from the dialogue the Republicans have dictated since Reagan, recognizing it for the shallow, destructive distraction that it is, and moving toward a more civil, productive mode of governance.
That said, Obama and Clinton are extremely close in most of the criteria of greatest importance in a presidential candidate: policy position and stated intention.
But like I said, this is where it gets weird. There are Clinton supporters who say they will not vote for Obama if he's the Democratic candidate in the general election. This boggles my mind. I can only think of a few reasons someone would take this position.
- The voter supports Clinton as a candidate, but sees John McCain as the next best alternative. I'm hesitant to say anything's impossible, but this would be incredible. It would have to be explained to me, because the only aspect in which Clinton is closer to McCain than she is to Obama is age.
- The voter thinks Obama is unelectable because too many racist white Americans won't vote for a black man. This might have some merit, in a strategic sense, in the primaries, but it certainly doesn't hold water in the general election. If Candidate A is a better choice than Candidate B, but I vote for Candidate B because other people might not vote for Candidate A, then I'm just compounding the problem of racist stupidity, aren't I? That would make me dumber than the idiot racists.
- The voter wanted Clinton but is disappointed, sad, and maybe even angry that more voters prefer Obama, so will either vote for McCain or not vote at all out of principle. The legal voting age in the U.S. is eighteen--the age of legal majority. That means a voter has to be a chronological adult, but does not mandate a corresponding emotional maturity. Voters whose selections are motivated by this kind of petulance need to grow the hell up.
- The voter thinks experience is the most important aspect in a candidate. McCain might be an ideological caveman, but at least he has experience. While this might be the most factually supportable reason, it's also one of the least sensible. John McCain first took office as a Representative of Arizona in 1982. Hillary Clinton took office as a Senator from New York in 1993. Barack Obama took office as a State Senator in Illinois in 1997 and as a US Senator in 2005. So yes, Clinton has been in office four years longer than Obama has. But McCain has been in office longer than Clinton has--by more than a decade. If experience trumps policy positions and ideology, those supporting Clinton should have supported McCain from the start. If policy positions and ideology trump experience, the Clinton supporters would be seriously inconsistent for shifting away from Obama on the basis of experience.
I suppose there are more reasons. If you can think of any, let me know. Me? I like Obama, and I have since before he entered the race. I've never supported a conservative, and after the last eight years I'd vote for a box of hair before voting for anyone who shares policy positions or ideology with Dubya (actually that was the case in 2000, too--I've always been astounded that others could vote for such an obvious idiot). If Obama weren't in the race I'd probably have supported Clinton (after Kucinich and Richardson dropped out, anyway), but in this reality I'm fortunate that the candidate I like is likely going on to the general election.