If my dad wasn’t already dead, that would kill him. (You guessed it: He was extremely white.) Actually, Tony Romo dropping that last-minute field goal snap in the Cowboys’ 2006 playoff game against Seattle probably would’ve done it first, but for sure Barack Obama would. I, on the other hand, would have no problem voting for a black man. After all, I already have; I have quite the freaky voting history. And of course, the fact that I am declaring Obama (or anyone) the victor this many months out shows you the astute nature of my political intelligence.
In fact, as a Christian and a Democrat, you could say, I am genetically inclined to be a poor predictor on political matters. For instance, I cast my first vote in 1976 for Jimmy Carter because he was a Christian. Carter ended up being a god-awful president. Trust me on this – it’s way better to pay $3 for a gallon of gas than to wait six hours in line to fill up. Perhaps because of such choices, you can find my family of voters in the official endangered species handbook: Democrat, Christian comes right after bear, polar.
In 1980, influenced by balding yet somehow pony-tailed college professors, I veered from the traditional parties. Because of my disdain for handguns – and because I was sure if Ronald Reagan got elected he was going to “push the button” (man, we were really worried about that button back then) – I picked John Anderson. He got murdered at the ballot box.
In 1984, I still had enough concern about the button that I voted for Walter Mondale. Even though I enjoyed saying Michael Dukakis’ name out loud, I just could not vote for him in 1988, so Old George Bush got my vote by default. (Actually, I had chosen Jesse Jackson in the primary. That really set off a crazy ROTC guy at UT-Arlington.)
In 1992 I voted for Bill Clinton. But I didn’t like my president ho’ing around, so I picked Bob Dole in 1996. I had my last hippie spasm in 2000, picking Ralph Nader of the Green Party because, by God, we needed a third party! That worked out really well. Finally, because I liked the fact that our country had not been attacked again, I picked Young George Bush in 2004, which no longer wins me many free drinks in local bars.
So here we are in 2008 with the most interesting choices in history: a woman, a black man, and an incredibly old dude.
Obama is certainly making noises like a winner right now. Hillary Clinton must be absolutely steaming that he has snatched away so many of her minority and college votes. She’s going to have to hang her sombrero on the Latino vote, which is why her first visits to Texas sent her to El Paso, the Valley, and San Antonio. Her vast political/legislative experience is taking a back seat to the African-American JFK. McCain, meanwhile, looks like Methuselah when the vibrant Obama bounds into the room or onto the TV screen.
When you get the support of Oprah and the Kennedys, how can you lose? Obama is a candidate that daytime TV couch potatoes and bluebloods alike can agree on. Sure, Obama has almost zero experience in any facet of being a president, but certainly he’ll be smart enough to surround himself with those who have more. After all, I can drive a car even though I know nothing about its transmission; if it needs attention, I’ll consult an expert, get it fixed, and keep driving the car. Driving Mr. Obama – that’d be a good campaign button.
Still, he’s far from a lock. My 80-year-old white Democrat mother said in no uncertain terms that she would never vote for Obama because he’s, well, you know, not white. She’s down with Ms. Clinton even though the New York senator’s chances seem to be fading daily.
Of course, Christian Dems this time around might even pick McCain, who is almost a Democrat. Conservative talk show hosts have dubbed him “Juan” McCain because of his stance on immigration issues. And the Republicans who support him are griping about it every step of the way. It’s like they’re being forced to enter their ugliest sister in the beauty pageant.
It’s a good time to be a Democrat – maybe our species is making a comeback. Though that may be just another Christian prediction to be wary of. (Think of evangelical author Hal Lindsey, who has made a fortune predicting the return of Jesus. He picks a date, it passes, then he discovers he has computed incorrectly and picks another date, which also passes. What he should do is go back to The Late Great Planet Earth and search-and-replace “Jesus” with “global warming” and specific dates with “pretty soon.” It’d be a best-seller again.)
I admit, I really don’t know if we’re going to have a black president. Candidates historically harangue us with “change” and “hope.” Maybe it’ll take a black president to make those political platitudes actually come to life. Holy crap.
Local writer Mark Campbell is still pouting about his vote for Kinky Friedman.