Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'Rick Gray on McCain and Obama

Style Weekly printed a really interesting piece by 'Rick Gray today. Despite being a passionate liberal, he's voting for John McCain.

'Rick is no more than an acquaintance of mine, but the piece really hits home for me; I'm in the interesting place right now of leaning more liberal than I ever have, but simultaneously believing in the Obamessiah (and in fact the Democratic party) less and less.

Here's a chunk from the middle (thus encouraging you to read the beginning and end in the paper or on their website):

First, I like [McCain]. The very qualities that drive conservative Republicans nuts are those I like best. McCain’s a true maverick. He hasn’t sold out to Washington, D.C. He’s his own man.

I’m also uneasy about Sen. Barack Obama for reasons that haven’t really been explored by the lemmings of the mainstream media.

For one thing, Obama reminds me of a lot of smart guys I’ve known — fellow Echols Scholars at the University of Virginia and classmates at the U.Va. School of Law — brilliant young guys who believed that academic success and intellectual prowess automatically made them leaders. That all they needed was power and they could solve all the problems that confound older, less brilliant minds.

There’s a subtle arrogance about Obama that I’ve seen before, and it troubles me.

Moreover, Obama’s promise of “changing the way Washington does business” reminds me of recent history. Americans — especially young Americans — have short memories, but as I recall, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also ran as young, personable outsiders who were going to change Washington.

Instead, Washington slowly changed Clinton, while Bush promptly surrounded himself with insiders and set out to consolidate power like no one since Richard Nixon.

Obama may seem a fresh face to others. To me, he looks like the third consecutive iteration of the same mistake.

But none of that gets to the hardpan. My fundamental reason for supporting McCain involves timing. I long for progressive government — but I want progressive policies over the long term — not the short-term satisfaction of electing a progressive in 2008, only to revert to right-wing government in 2012.

Mainstream pundits assure us that an Obama administration would be transformational. Frankly, I suspect that — whoever we elect — the next administration will be more janitorial than transformational.

I highly recommend reading the whole piece; it's very strong. I still don't think I can vote for either Obama or McCain, though...

'Rick may not feel the same way, but I am reminded of South Park creator Matt Stone's famous quote: "I hate conservatives, but I really ####ing hate liberals."

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  • At 7/09/2008 3:54 PM , Blogger 'Rick Gray said...


    I just stumbled upon your review of my Style Weekly piece. Thanks for the kind words.

    I don't find this year easy, but I confess -- as things go on -- I'm finding it easier. But I hope to have a follow-up piece in Style in a few weeks which might help us both.

    Good luck with your festival this summer. I'm at VSF, serving the same cause.


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