It looks like Barack Obama is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination in the US, after a very long and drawn-out battle with Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure if I’m pleased or not, as from the beginning I had favoured Hillary a little over him. I know she is hated by a lot of people (although I’m not really sure why), but he just seems a little young and inexperienced.
I suppose I was comparing Hillary in my mind a little with Margaret Thatcher, who was also widely hated and still is, as they are among the few women to accede to top political positions (or almost accede to them anyway, sorry Hillary). Despite the general venom that is elicited when you mention Margaret Thatcher to anyone, I actually quite admire her strength and what she did for Britain, although often you’re vilified if you dare defend her. Yes she crippled the trade unions and closed the coal mines, but I’ve never cared for trade unions particularly and the closure of the coal mines was a necessary stage in the globalisation of our economy. We are still benefiting from the world class economy we inherited from that era, when we could otherwise have slipped into economic obscurity. I also think it was very clever of her to stockpile loads of coal beforehand, so when the miners went on strike she could just say “fine, you strike, I’ve got plenty of coal thank you and now I don’t have to pay you”.
So I wonder if it was that same strength in a woman that makes Hillary so unpopular with some? Qualities that would be admired in a man can be viewed differently in women, and they get perceived as a bitch or a ball-breaker, which is rather unfair. I’d rather have a female leader who can exercise strength and authority when needed than a testosteroney man who’s only interested in posturing and looking macho.
It won’t matter much anyway, as Hillary is expected to concede on Saturday and we’ll be looking at a Barack Obama / John McCain presidential race. John McCain is rather old, and hopefully that’ll count against him. I don’t want to see another Republican in the White House, George W Bush has been pretty much a global disaster. I just hope that all the campaigning Hillary did to illustrate the failings of Obama won’t actually have been leg work for McCain.
A lot will depend on who Obama picks to be his vice-presidential running mate, as that position could help bring some of the supporters that favoured Hillary back. An obvious choice is Hillary herself, but she brings a fair bit of baggage including Bill and there’d be a risk the two of them would get more attention than Obama himself.
And of course, whatever happens, you can’t trust the American public to vote in any rational way. They elected George W Bush after all, and conservative religious whites still hold a lot of sway in American politics. And some won’t want to vote for a black man, which will skew the polls until results day as people rarely say “yes I’m a racist” when asked about their voting intentions.
Still, at least it looks like the Democratic race is over, and whatever happens in the end we’ll still get rid of that chimp from the White House – thank God for a limit on presidential terms!