Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Divided loyalties and EMILY's List

I just can't get behind Hillary Clinton. I have never gotten a sense of who she is as a leader. I've seen her speak in person and she is clearly smart, but uninspiring. Her lack of charisma is all the more evident next to Bill.

The deal-breaker for me is not really Bill Clinton, but George Bush. I have voted in 5 Presidential elections in my lifetime, and the winners have been Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush. I am not willing to go there again with either of these families. That may be unfair to Hillary as an individual, but too bad. I don't want to see anyone named Clinton, Bush or Gore in the White House. For better or for worse, and we've sure had enough of worse lately, after 20 years it is definitely time to move forward with some new blood in our top leadership.

I am enthusiastically supporting John Edwards for President, and I'll talk more about that in a separate post. I mention it because it relates to my strange Hillary Clinton moment this week. I've committed to Edwards and I have started working for him. In the past I have also been an unwavering EMILY's List supporter. But as soon as Hillary declared, EMILY's List announced their full-throttle endorsement and intention to work on her behalf.

This makes sense that this old-girls'-network has mobilized behind Clinton, but I am feeling betrayed nonetheless. I just renewed my EMILY's List membership, which I would not have done if I had thought about my contribution going toward Hillary. I am very interested in supporting EMILY's List for House and Senate candidates, but I think the Presidential race should be a separate decision. I worry for EMILY's List that they will lose supporters for this very reason. I have met only a handful of Democrats, women or men, who are enthusiastic about electing Hillary Clinton. This holds true among my friends and acquaintances who are liberal Boomer women, the group you would think would fully embrace Hillary's candidacy.

My husband had a great suggestion for EMILY's List: a "D'OH" earmark for "Democrats other than Hillary." This was a fantastic unintentional pun on Michael's part, given that EMILY is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast." Get it, yeast, dough, D'OH!

For the record, I am not sure how any individual contribution to Emily's List would or would not make it directly to Hillary's coffer--probably not directly, but EMILY's List President Ellen Malcolm made it clear that her organization will be with Hillary "every step of the way."

Most Washington pundits seem to think it's a foregone conclusion that Hillary will secure the nomination, but I don't see the base of everyday people mobilizing. This will be a long election season, which I think is actually a good thing in terms of choosing a leader (though it may be bad for governing the country during an endless campaign cycle). I hope that the long seasons will at least give candidates a chance to connect with voters rather than letting the media and inside-the-beltway pundits anoint our next leader.

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