My unwavering support for Clinton is wavering. The new development that makes me pause is McCain’s now immanent nomination: his ability to steal independents scares me and the knee-jerk reaction is to put him in contention with Obama because Obama can better motivate the normally apathetic than Clinton can. However, this is still not a winning argument.
First, distinctions can still be drawn between Clinton and McCain that will allow Clinton to capture independents. The easy sell is their difference on Iraq. McCain has said that he would be comfortable with a 100 year occupation of Iraq, whereas Clinton wants a drawdown. Some will say the war is not the issue facing voters. One: it may become the main issue again. Two: I also suspect that Obama is not any stronger than Clinton is on the other issues of more (possible) importance to the voters in the general election.
Second, the independent draw is a temporary fear. McCain will have to choose as his VP someone that does not draw independents. He will need to solidify the GOP base and this is done by turning off some of his independent draw with a candidate supported by evangelicals. Because of McCain’s age and his health record (cancer and torture survivor, his 98 year old mother is not a torture survivor) the VP candidate will be scrutinized in new and unprecedented ways. This scrutiny will allow the independents McCain might otherwise win to be persuaded back into the Clinton camp.
I realize the above are merely answers to the latest theory for supporting Obama, they are defensive supports for Clinton and not reasons to prefer Obama. Again I will return to my most important reason: success of a progressive agenda. Maybe Obama has more progressive ambitions, but he is less proven to be able to accomplish these tasks. The supposedly Democratically united DC is not a reason to ignore this concern. Historically whenever the Presidency and Congressional control are united the legislative branch has a moderating effect by restraining the President. Obama is not going to be able to accomplish his more ambitious goals and Clinton is the safest bet to accomplish any progressive reforms. The argument that Clinton is not progressive enough, if correct, is actually a reason to prefer her to Obama.