So the McCain campaign recently released two television ads trying to woo former Hillary supporters. The first takes excerpts of Hillary’s criticisms of Obama during the primary cycle (a well worn general election strategy) as evidence that Obama is unqualified, but this one is of greater interest to me:
Though it remains unclear to me whether these peculiar hybrids are actually going to vote for McCain (or if they are merely being bitter and spiteful and will vote for Obama in the fall), it is reasonably clear that there is one such person: Debra. It is to you that this post is addressed- and I expect a prompt reply.
Whatever the debates about the differences in experience, judgment, and electability that arose during the primary season, one thing seemed to be generally agreed upon: that there was scarcely a single policy difference between the two candidates. One “significant” difference comes to mind: While both candidates offered universal health plans (don’t get me started on the argument about semantics that the Hillary campaign waged against Obama), Obama did not force every American to buy in and Hillary did. For the moment I won’t comment on the relative worth of each plan. Suffice to say that the difference is significant only insofar as one is comparing two universal health plans. Once you enter the realm of democratic vs. republican plans, the difference is lost in the chasm that exists between universal health care and John McCain. While Obama opposed the war from the beginning, both had settled on reasonably similar exit strategies and both now criticized the war for what is was: a lie perpetrated by the Bush administration. Little difference there. Given that there was very little policy difference between the two candidates, supports of Hillary Clinton were largely (with little exception) supporters of the Obama policy platform. Similarly, Obama backers would be supportive of the Hillary policy platform if she were the nominee.
Despite this striking similarity in platforms, we are now faced with this curious hybrid: the Hillary/McCain supporter. While “pure” McCain supporters deserve their own helping of derision, this breed merits its own level of criticism because they aren’t merely wrong in their support of a candidate, they have begun to show the criteria by which they chose their original nominee. Why is it that they have shifted from Hillary to McCain? Well, the first question to ask is why they supported Hillary in the first place. If it were policy preference combined with a modicum of preference for Hillary, then the general election offers a candidate that approximates Hillary’s stance on issues and a candidate that basically opposes each one of those stance (with some exceptions). If policy were even a minor aspect of these hybrids’ support of Hillary, they would be simply unable to support McCain- he is on the other side of the aisle. For the purpose of my hypothesis, I will have to (quite easily) discard the notion that people supported Hillary despite their disagreement with her policies because she was just so charismatic- Obama wins on that analysis ten times out of ten. What we are left with, then, is a support for a candidate, despite her policy preferences, because she is a woman. Once that same platform is attached to a man, it suddenly becomes unpalatable- so much so, that one begins to support a platform whose policies don’t even vaguely resemble the original choice.
Now, I do not mean to sully the hordes of Hillary supporters who backed their nominee because of her policies and experience (with an allowable sprinkle of respect for the female nominee). I mean only to point out this peculiar hybrid that supports McCain after supposedly supporting Hillary and her policies. McCain is unpleasant on his own, but combined with the noxious support of former “Hillary” (read: woman) supporters, I almost lose my lunch. I sincerely hope there is only one of you- and I hope the rest of the bitter, spiteful Hillary supporters are only bluffing when you say you won’t support Obama simply because he won the Caucauses (which were, oddly, praised by Hillary before she lost them and decided they were undemocratic).
Debra: shame on you.