Presidential Passion

Thu, September 27, 2007

Presidential Campaigns

“All the women I know are supporting Hillary.”

Given the tone of voice that person used when speaking those words to me, they may as well have also been saying, “I thought you were smart. How can you not see the writing on the wall that Hillary will be the Democratic candidate for president?”

I suppose that person could be right. It could be a foregone conclusion, but I hope not because I’m tired.

Tired of the careful and the crafted and the scripted. Tired of candidates who measure every single word and phrase they utter. It just shouldn’t be that hard for a candidate to talk openly and plainly about what they believe without being afraid of which way the poll numbers will move if they deviate from their carefully planned pitches.

I know on some level all the candidates are focused on staying “on message,” but I’m ready for a little presidential passion.

As I was watching the MSNBC Democratic debate last night, it was easy for me to see who has the spark of their convictions and was more willing to speak with some passion and purpose, and it wasn’t the purported front-runners.

The candidates who don’t have anything to lose seemed pretty genuine — Kucinich and Gravel spoke their minds and didn’t appear to suffer from the problem of self-censorship.

Richardson and Edwards were crafted yet inspired at the same time. There’s something personal about this process for them and I feel that when I hear them speak.

I don’t get that feeling from Obama or Clinton.

Yes, Barack and Hillary are smart and competent and knowledgeable and good fundraisers. But when they speak, I get a sense that there’s a little tiny voice in their heads saying, “Say the right words. Don’t make any big, sudden movements that will frighten the voters. Keep. To. The Script.”

This time around, aside from wanting a Democrat, I’m hoping for a little something more in my president than just being capable.

I want the person sitting in the Oval Office to have a burning desire to really change things.

There are plenty of similarities in the views of the Democratic candidates for me to know that if one of them gets into the White House in 2009, on most issues it’s not really going to matter who it is.

The difference is in their guts. And their hearts. And their desire to make things better, domestically and internationally, starting from the very first second after they’ve finished taking the oath of office and not just when they get around to it.

On a slightly more frivolous note, I’ve sent a message to Nina Garcia of Elle Magazine over at PunditMom Reviews.

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20 Responses to “Presidential Passion”

  1. painted maypole Says:

    thanks for your take on this. I have not been watching much of the debates and such. I really liked Obama’s book, and I voted Edwards last time I had the chance, but I really should start paying more attention to what they are doing and saying now, because I completely agree with you about the passion. Even more, I want a candidate that I can be passionate about.

  2. Kelly Says:

    I admire you for sitting through the debates. Every time I watch these type of debates I get so frustrated for all of the reasons you mentioned in this piece.

  3. Julie Pippert Says:

    It’s television broadcast, really it is. Reporters.

    It’s killed the message, ironically.

    When I met Hilary in Nashua a few years ago, imagine my surprise to find her nothing like I thought based on her media appearances. She was so much warmer and more genuine, so down-to-earth.

    Since then, I’ve made it a point to meet face-to-face with my representatives whenever I can. The only one who surprised me was Tom DeLay who was EXACTLY as disgusting as I thought.

    I still haven’t settled on a candidate, but I agree with your criteria.

    Using My Words

  4. Sunshine Says:

    Hillary really sidestepped a lot of questions with safe or even non-answers. Your observation is spot on with the “stick to the script”. She is hedging her bets and being deliberately vague in many areas. She has come out favorably in many debates as being the strongest voice and having the best “soundbyte material” but I think her trend toward starting to not bother answering so-called “hypotheticals” may come back to bite her in the ass.

  5. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I get the same feeling. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved John Edwards.

  6. PunditMom Says:

    Julie, that’s interesting about Hillary. I hope I have the chance to see or meet her in person.

  7. Oh, The Joys Says:

    Guts. I want guts. (In my President, I mean. Everyone knows all about my guts. Pffffft.)

  8. Michele Says:

    OMG – yes!! I just heard sound bites this morning but I was so frustrated with the dancing and bobbing and weaving they all did. I felt like I learened nothing from the answer of any of the Big Three.

    On another, not so, (cough) political program I listen to (Opie and Anthony) Jim Norton suggested that all the candidates submit to a simple “Yes” or “No” Q&A session. No leading questions, just simple statements of fact “Do you support ________”
    No spin, no skirting the questions, just a flat yes or no. THAT is what I want to see.

  9. Blog Antagonist Says:

    I have this sinking feeling that Hilary is going to end up in office simply because feminists are through waiting for a female President. But electing a President on the basis of gender alone is just…terribly misguided if not downright foolish.

    To tell you the truth, so far, neither of them is giving me a warm fuzzy. I’ll probably end up doing the same thing I did in 2004, which is, voting for the lesser of two evils.

  10. Becky Says:

    I’d love to meet some of them in person. I thought about packing all their books on the off chance I could get them signed when I’m in DC. But the atmosphere today? Even though we’re in the middle of a presidential campaign, I figure (cough) someone would find it suspicious to paw through my reading material at the airport. Oh well. I bet they’d sign my skin like rock stars, right?

  11. karrie Says:


    I’m the lone Clinton supporter in my immediate social circles, and none of the bloggers I read or women I know from other sources are pro-Hillary.

    Most want Obama, and a few want Edwards. Ideally, I would like Dennis Kucinich to have gender reassignment surgery. :-)

  12. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    I feel the same. Even Obama (who I’m not on board with) is acting “zombified”. Hillary always has been. Another talking head in the White House may be in front of us.

  13. SUEB0B Says:

    My main gripe with media coverage of the campaigns is that it focuses on the horse race – who has what it takes to win. Not who has what it takes to govern.

    If Hilary can’t pick a baseball team, how can she run the country? LOL.

  14. Stefania Says:

    I don’t get how a feminisist would think Hillary is a feminist. Bill has cheated on her so many times. I still remember their 60 minutes interview they did when he announced his candidacy and admitted to cheating, and I looked at Hillary in her headband and thought, “Girl, get yourself together.”…Would a feminist ever let herself get played like that over and over again? I’m a feminist raised by a feminist. My mom didn’t put up with a cheating husband and neither would I. I know what happens between a married couple is their business, but that just speaks volumes to me about her character. That + whitewater + the fact that she moved to NY because that’s where she had the best shot at being a senator + the fact that she accepts $ from lobbyists. For me, she’s part of the problem with politics, not the solution. Go Edwards!

  15. Sornie Says:

    While Hilary being eelcted would be a landmark, she would become a figurehead quickly. It’s sad to say that alot of the world isn’t ready for the U.S. (even with our status in the world falling) to be led by a woman who doesn’t seem like she has much of a definitive plan for bringing the U.S. back to the top. Obama is an inspirational speaker and Edwards is like a mini-AL Gore because he has an enviromental/global warming plan. One of those two is the best in my opinion but any of them are better than the choices on the other side of the aisle.

  16. FENICLE Says:

    I’m all for a women being president…but I’m not going to be pressured to vote for a woman just because I happen to be one.

    I agree with you on the fact we need someone with a desire to CHANGE things!

  17. Andrea Says:

    You know what though? Considering how Howard Dean was lambasted after getting a little excited during the last election process, I can see how that “Stick to the Script” mantra has become so important to them. They’ve seen what happens to passionate people who exhibit too much at a single time.

    I too will not be pressured in voting for a woman based on gender. I’m all for a woman for President, but they have to convince me they are the RIGHT PERSON for the job. After the disaster of the last 8 years, I am putting a lot of hope on the next POTUS and I really don’t want to be disappointed because Hillary got the job just to break the glass ceiling. Of course, having been First Lady it’s not like she doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into.

  18. jen Says:

    i agree. i need to see the passion. the willingness to do whatever it takes.

  19. Just Powers Says:

    Yeah, I am amazed at the number of people who assume I am a Hillary supporter just because I am a democrat and a woman. I am an Obama supporter but I think you’re right that he needs to start showing a little more passion.

    As a former Howard Dean supporter though, I like what andrea said too – passion sinks campaigns…

  20. Dana Says:

    I don’t think it is anti-feminist to stay with a cheating husband. We have no idea what goes on between those two from day to day and they may have this figured out in a way we don’t understand. In any case it seems to me Bill’s got some kind of a sex addiction thing going on, and I don’t think it is kosher to abandon someone who’s got problems, just as long as you have your own resources you can draw upon and are not overly dependent on that person. For pete’s sake, Hillary is a LAWYER. If she and Bill had broken up she could have taken care of herself and her daughter just fine, and I think she knew that, and that really makes all the difference.

    But there seems to be this mentality today that if your marriage isn’t perfect then abandon it. That winds up cheapening the whole idea of divorce when it comes time for someone to leave their spouse because really bad stuff is going on, like abuse. We have short attention spans anymore and we don’t want to continue focusing on something if it gets difficult. That is not a good character trait, in my opinion–and I can’t talk, I have it too. But I’m not going to pretend it’s a virtue, either. If we could distill all the reasons why this country is a mess down into one, I think giving up when things get too hard would probably be it.

    That said, I don’t like Hillary’s flip-flopping about the war in Iraq and I’m livid that she supported Bill’s involvement in welfare deform. She wants me to believe she supports women’s rights and she pulled THAT crap? Uh… no. It’s nice that she supports legal abortion and if she winds up on the ballot then so be it, but I would like to know that my governmental representatives believe there is more to reproductive choice than choosing NOT to have kids. And mothers deserve support and respect from society any way you look at it, because raising kids is not a hobby.

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