Sunday, May 11, 2008

Political OCD

One of the indicators of the obsessive-compulsive personality is all-or-nothing fixations. This is something I was told years ago, and I know this well because I am obsessive/compulsive in a lot of things: food and beer for instance. We become either all for something or all against it; we love something or hate it irrationally; we either do the whole job or nothing at all. As a for-instance, some years ago I was athletic, rode my bike almost 20 miles a day, and obsessively trained to become the best cyclist in the world. Of course, my knowledge was well short of my vision, and one day it became clear just how wide the gulf was between my daydreams and my capabilities. From that day on, cycling was ruined for me. If I couldn't eventually become the best in the world, I wouldn't do it at all.

As we head into the 2008 elections, I see a lot of this happening on both the Democratic and Republican sides, more so with the Dems. On the GOP side, they already seem to be getting over it. There was the initial surge of "If it's McCain, we won't vote at all" or "If it's McCain, we're voting Hillary." But as expected, the reality of the political landscape is hitting the GOP voters and the likelihood of a Democratic presidency is corralling them into lockstep again. Make no mistake, by November every GOP voter will be voting McCain. 

But on the Dem side, I don't know what we'll get. There's a particularly rabid support for Hillary that I find disturbing. Here's a link to an article about whether Obama will choose Hillary for his VP: New York Observer More than the article, read the comments. Are some of them astroturfers or Flush Rimjob's "Operation Chaos" flunkies? I don't know, but if they are genuine, the vitriol coming from some Hillary supporters is really frightening. If Obama doesn't choose Hillary, they'll vote for McCain? Are they insane? Everything that Hillary supposedly stands for--such as universal health care and abortion rights--are things McCain is resolutely opposed to. But they've taken the position that if they don't get their way, they'll sabotage the election.

In what way is that a rational response? It reminds me more than a little of the Apple fanbois who post MacDailyNews, among other sites. No one can say anything negative about the object of their obsession lest they be condemned. And frighteningly enough, it reminds me of the rabid Bushies who cannot tolerate even the slightest criticism of the right wing. Now, since I've admitted to being OCD myself, I will admit: if she somehow becomes the nominee, I won't vote for Hillary. This is because I simply cannot believe she would make a good president. I don't think she would. She is too divisive, too self-interested, and contradictorily too dependent on public opinion to truly lead. But does that mean I would vote for McCain? Not on your life. I couldn't imagine a realistic scenario where McCain would get my vote. I'll vote Green, or some other third party, but I can't vote for Hillary or McCain. I can't vote for another unitary executive.

But that doesn't mean I want to punish the Democratic Party for not nominating Obama to the point of voting for the enemy. That's irrational. The hatred from some Clintonistas toward Obama is almost savage, and it's rooted in the Clinton arrogance that they were owed this election, that Obama has taken away their divine right. It's a righteous rage of the sort we saw from the GOP when Bill Clinton was elected. They were enraged, offended, indignant that anyone would take away their God-given right to run the country as they saw fit, voters be damned, and the Clintonistas are too. They're cloaking it in feminist terms--a vote against Hillary is a vote for misogyny--but for those rabid supporters, there's something deeper. It's as if it's a blow against their identity. By removing the object of their affection, the voters are hurting them personally.

This political OCD-ness has been ruling the political land for the last 16 years and we need to get away from it. My support for my candidate does not mean America should be punished if he does not get elected. My patriotism is not wrapped up in one person. If the person I dislike most gets elected, I will still support my country and hope for the best. I want America to do well. When Obama gets the nomination--which is about as certain as such a thing can be now--I hope Hillary's supporters can abandon their irrational hatred of the man and vote for the best course for this country, not for a scorched earth.


cinderkeys said...

Y'know, I had a difficult time deciding who to vote for in the primaries because Clinton and Obama's policy positions were virtually identical. I ultimately chose Obama, partially because I felt he'd be less divisive, but I didn't think a Clinton nomination would be a disaster.

So, you're right. I don't get it. Do the rabid Hilaryites not understand that Obama intends to put forward very nearly the same principles that Clinton will?

If push comes to shove, I don't think they'll vote for McCain.

Franki V said...

Cruised on in from the Cafe Mozart to have a glass of Lagavulin with you. I love the title of your blog!

Franki V & her human connie