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This post has nothing to do with Linux or Unreal Tournament.

So, okay.

Anyone that knows me in Real Life knows I'm a political junkie. I tend
to obsess over trends, polls, commentary, YouTube videos, news cycles,
debates, speeches and endorsements. I can talk your ear off for
hours about it. There's even a whiteboard in my house with current
delegate counts on it. It's all like porn to me. Political math porn.

Generally I keep my politics offline, because we all know what they say
about arguing on the Internet. But I feel that I would be remiss to not
speak up now, because I think that this year--on both sides of the
aisle--there isn't a single foregone conclusion about anything.
Candidates crash and reboot multiple times, dead-certain polls turn
out to be wrong, and all we know is that we don't really know anything
about who's going to come out on top.

In fact, the only thing we're all pretty sure about: everything is up
for grabs. Today, Super-Duper-Tuesday-With-A-Cherry-On-Top is going to
go a long way towards settling the nominations for both parties.

Between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, a good portion of the country
is wavering in the 50% range between the two. While this means that
both will get roughly half of the delegates, there are two factors
worth considering:

1) Image is important, and being able to declare "victory" in more
states is going to be very important for momentum, regardless of
delegates assigned. Notice how Clinton treated her "win" in Michigan?
Due to a snafu in the DNC, there were no delegates there, and no one
else on the ballot. But you can still take that press to the bank!

2) Democrats work with a "superdelegate" system. 796 delegates vote
however they see fit, and this may be the first time in the history of
the party where they decide the election, and possibly override the
will of the public. I mention this because CNN's current delegate count
puts Obama ahead in delegates won from primaries, but Clinton way ahead
in the total due to superdelegates. If you are a Democrat, you do not
want your candidate to be chosen in backroom deals, called-in political
favors, and exploited histories between a handful of career politicians
over the will of the people. You do not even want the appearance
of that if you want to win the general election. Everything goes much
easier if someone pulls far far ahead in assigned delegates, reducing
the superdelegates' power.

Since many of the February 5th primaries and caucuses are going to be
splitting-hairs close, it's going to come down to who gets the most
warm bodies to show up.

If your state is voting today, you need to get out there, no matter who
your candidate is, because not showing up is the worst thing at this
point, more so than Gore vs. Bush, and even more so than Bush vs.
Kerry. Nothing is settled, and as any mother of a soldier killed in
Baghdad can tell you: there really is something to lose.

For crying out loud, control of the entire Senate came down to about
2000 votes in Eastern Nowhere, Montana last time, so don't ever tell me
your vote doesn't matter! Showing up and raising your hand today could
literally alter the course of the nation for the next eight years. You
owe it to your neighbors, your countrymen, and yourself to get your
ass to the voting booth at any cost.

That being said, here's my pitch:

When you go to the polls today, please support Barack Obama.

I am frankly sick to death of the polarization of American politics.
I've had too many years of Democrats demonizing Republicans and
Republicans demonizing Democrats. Some times one party is right,
and some times the other is. Fine. There will be disagreements. No
problem. There will be politics in the worst sense of that word. To be

But there have been way too many years of people scratching each others'
eyes out, catfighting over insanely needless minutia, and generating
politics out of thin air. I'm frankly done with it. I think most people
agree--whether they generally agree with him or not--that Bush has proven
to be a polarizing figure. In his own vocabulary, he's been a Divider
instead of a Uniter, and that has cost the country in ways that go beyond
budgetary concerns.

I didn't come here to hit the punching bag, though. Bush is not the
first president to polarize, and he won't be the last, but I think
it's fair to say if she's elected, Hillary Clinton will be the next.
She didn't bring this all on herself--talk radio has been flinging poo
at her longer than my generation has been voting--but it changes
nothing. Another four to eight years of my tax dollars funding trumped
up nonsense like Whitewater scandals and suggestions on Fox News that
Clinton had Vince Foster murdered? That is something I can do without.

A Clinton can polarize as well as a Bush. Ideally you want a president
that people can get behind, even if they don't agree on every point.
You want an American president, not a president for the Republicans or
a president for the Democrats.

You just can't watch Barack and not feel that vibe. I think that the
comparisons to JFK are perfectly justified. When he speaks, it's poetry,
and the country responds.

For what it's worth, I find Mitt Romney to be extremely phony, and
still have his statement about wanting "double Guantanamo" echoing
around my head. I think he thinks that's what "conservatives" want,
which speaks poorly of both Romney for crafting a bogus conservative
costume, and for modern conservatism itself, that such a caricature
could fly at all on the national stage.

I also worry a great deal about John McCain. Not to diminish his
experiences in Vietnam, but I am concerned that almost every thing he
says is phrased with the wording of war. Here he is at last week's
debate in California, repeating something he's said many times before:

  "I was part of the Reagan revolution. I was there with Jack Kemp and
  Phil Gramm and Warren Rudman and all these other fighters that
  wanted to change a terrible economic situation in America with 10
  percent unemployment and 20 percent interest rates. I was proud to
  be a foot soldier, support those tax cuts, and they had spending
  restraints associated with it."

Revolution? Fighters? Foot soldier? We're talking about tax rebates!

Of those left standing, Obama seems to be the candidate of peace,
having spoken against the Iraq war from the start, even when it
was considered politically unpopular. Clinton has always felt extremely
calculated on this issue, unapologetic about her willingness to jump to
unprovoked war when it was politically expedient. Her refusal
to admit guilt now makes her strangely proud of being duped into
signing off on unilateral action under false pretenses. None of this
speaks well of a candidate aspiring to the highest office in the land.

In many other ways, Clinton and Obama are very similar in policy, but
the Iraq thing is important, and it's beyond time for Americans, as
voters, to stop being enablers.

It's not an accident that the word "change" is getting thrown around a
lot now, by every candidate. That started in earnest when Obama won
Iowa, and he's been gaining steam ever since. Watching the horserace in
South Carolina--including watching Bill Clinton acting badly--really
brought it home for me. Barack is right: this really is about The Past
and The Future, Dirty Politics and The Politics of Hope. He was not
talking about Bush when he said that. If you want a change from the
business as usual, voting Democrat may not be enough in itself.

When North Carolina votes, months from now, we may still be wondering
who will win the nomination, but I'll be showing up for Barack in
either case, and I encourage all those voting today to do so, too.

It's going to come down to every single vote, every lever pulled, and
every hand raised. Make sure one of those hands is yours.

(I've obviously cut a lot of corners here to get to some primary
points, including unfairly ignoring Huckabee and Paul. If anyone wants
to discuss specific policy points of any candidate, I'm happy to receive
your email.)


When this .plan was written: 2008-02-05 07:38:27
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