Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The difference between Obama and Clinton

In discussing my previous blog entry with one of my readers, they asked me what I thought the difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was (besides race and gender), since I say that they are virtually alike when it comes to their views. Well, both can play the "victim" card - that is, Obama can cite how blacks were oppressed in the past, and Hillary can say the same about women in the past. Basically then, their "victim" cards cancel each other out.

I think Obama realizes this, but Hillary has not. What I mean is, Obama is running as a candidate for the office of president, and not as a black candidate for the office of president. That is, the voters can see that he's black, so he doesn't need to keep reminding them of it. As a result, he instead concentrates on how he presents himself. His statements discuss what he can do for America and what kind of change he can bring. His race is not part of his messages, and based on his current success, it doesn't need to be.

Hillary, meanwhile, is running as a female candidate, rather than as a candidate. Like Obama with race, we can see that she's female, so she doesn't need to keep reminding us of that. And yet, she will, as when she did her almost teary-eyed answer on the difficulties of being a candidate for office. Had any of the male candidates given such a teary response as she did, they would have their masculinity questioned. Hillary has not learned that eventually people will tune out the novelty of her being a female candidate, because being female is something that she didn't control.

For example, imagine running for office pointing out the fact that they have two feet, or ten toes. Or perhaps running because they have knees, or an elbow that people come miles to see (I forgot where that elbow statement comes from. If anyone knows, please let me know). Eventually, the voters will lose interest even in the lovely elbow, because all that is part of what you are, and not related to your message. Hillary is still stuck on describing her elbow, and it's why she's losing ground to Obama.

Plus, Hillary is a baby boomer, and generally speaking, baby boomers her age are still operating under 1960's rules of fighting the establishment. That's all she knows how to do, and I'm very certain that she is genuinely confused by the reactions that she's getting. In her eyes, she's getting the negative reactions because the world has turned conservative, but the truth is that her combative form of campaigning no longer appeals to the general population.

While Obama, in his mid-40's, is technically a baby boomer as well, he's at the tail end of that generation, and he's more Gen-X than baby boomer. In other words, he's old enough to know what appeals to older baby boomers, but young enough to know what appeals to younger generations. Like those of the younger generation, he grew up with the combative methods of baby boomers, so he can understand the younger generation's fatigue of baby boomers always fighting and never accomplishing anything.

If he manages to keep his successes up, it's very certain that he's going to get the Democratic nomination, because there's very little reason to believe that Hillary can adapt accordingly. And Hillary will go down not because of her gender or because Obama is black, but because she couldn't connect with the general population in the way Obama seems to be doing. But of course, she won't see that, and instead will be blaming the vast right wing conspiracy for her loss.

No comments: