Yesterday I was undecided, and frankly to some extent I remain so. I've read with interest the endorsements of Meteor Blades and DHinMI (both writing elsewhere for some godforsaken reason) on behalf of Barack Obama. Personally, I am not above buying my political opinions wholesale from either of them (and from the latter I've done it repeatedly before). In each post, they sound similar notes, essentially: (1) Obama is a skilled politician, and no more (or less) than that; (2) ultimately change will not come from the White House but from Congress or the populace; and so what matters is that (3) Obama is best suited to evoke the strongest efforts and loftiest dreams from the real change-makers around him and among us.
I agree with (1) whole-heartedly. As for (2) and (3), I may be misrepresenting or oversimplifying their arguments. To be accurate, DHinMI wrote "What mattered in 1932, however, was the mandate from the voters, the 13 Senate seats and the 97 House seats that came along with Roosevelt's landslide. ...[T]his is maybe the most important difference between a ticket led by Barack Obama and one headed up by Hillary Clinton." Meteor Blades wrote "If Obama wins come November, it will be up to that grassroots, that congregation, not only to hold his feet to the fire, but also, and more importantly, to press forward the extra-electoral politics [that brought] real hope and real change to America nearly half a century ago." What I read in each of those arguments is that Clinton and Obama are (mostly) equally suited to the policy work of the presidency, but Obama is exceptionally suited to the figurehead, or symbolic, work of that office.