What is it with Democrats, anyway?

When people ask me who I support in the next presidential election, I always give the same answer: “Obama is the only option.” But most Democrats, reportedly, are leaning toward Hillary Clinton – however reluctantly and sometimes very reluctantly – because they think she’s “the safe choice.”

Democrats are fighting the last war. They don’t realize a Republican couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in 2008 after the W Debacle. The Republicans’ leading candidate is the former mayor of New York, for God’s sake, who was discredited and politically finished (because of his various hypocrisies and eccentricities) until he showed up for work on 9/11 (which is more than W did), and we were so desperate for a hero, we christened him. Giuliani is a joke and if that’s the best the Republicans can come up with, the Democrats haven’t a thing to worry about. But, of course, they’re worried – and still fighting the 2000 and 2004 elections – so they’re desperate enough to fall in line behind Hillary because the media (ever the enablers) has anointed her as “inevitable,” she has an imposing political machine in place, she’s connected to Bill Clinton (the only successful Democratic politician of the last quarter century) and we want a Democrat – any Democrat – so badly, we’ll hold our nose and vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Unfortunately, there’s only one candidate in the entire Democratic field who could possibly lose to a Republican in 2008 (with the possible exception of Dennis Kucinich), and that, of course, is Hillary Clinton.

It’s not entirely her fault that she’s such a polarizing figure. In the Neanderthal quagmire that is the American poltical consciousness, the fact that she’s a woman and the fact that she’s a Clinton will send every backward-thinking right-winger right over the edge. That’s no surprise. But she will also turn off most moderate conservatives, and she even divides independents and liberals, as a couple of testy exchanges with close friends recently proved to me.

Being a woman is just about the only thing that recommends her. OK, she’s also smart and has a nice, if cold, smile.

Other than that, I don’t see the attraction. She has no charisma. She rarely shows her human side. She’s a lousy public speaker. She has no convictions she’s willing to fight for. She’s overly cautious politically. And she strongly supported the Iraq war.

We’ve gone down that road before. John Kerry couldn’t effectively attack W’s Iraq policies because he voted to authorize the invasion. The same applies to Clinton (and John Edwards). The only leading candidate it doesn’t apply to is Obama, which is why he’s the only option.

Clinton’s vote to authorize the invasion means she was either fooled (not a good thing for a prospective president) or she made a calculated political decision hoping to position herself for a presidential bid in 2008. Either way, she flunks the test of genuine leadership.

Hillary Clinton is a creature of the status quo. The status quo got us into this mess. The status quo cannot get us out of this mess. Daring doesn’t exist in her vocabulary. If elected, she’ll dither on Iraq, afraid of appearing “soft” to her hysterical critics, and before you know it, this won’t be W’s war anymore. It will be Hillary’s war, and it will damage the Democrats more than the Republicans.

She won’t fight for universal health care. She won’t fight to break our dependence on oil. Every move will be governed by one overriding concern: Don’t screw up or people will say, “See, I told you a woman couldn’t be president.” She’ll keep us firmly mired in the status quo.

There’s only one candidate in the race who has a chance of moving us forward, and that’s Barack Obama. That doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, but he’s the only one who will try. Obama has charisma, is such a good public speaker even conservatives respond positively to him, he works well with candidates on both sides of the aisle, he’s pragmatic, and he has some political courage. He’ll try to get things done. Hillary Clinton has no political courage and will take us nowhere.

But the leading candidate with the best chance of losing to a Republican, has a double-digit lead in the polls.

Which brings me back to my opening question:

What is it with Democrats, anyway?

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