I caught this interview on Day to Day yesterday - Madeleine Brand talks to lifelong Democrat Barbara LeBey about why she might vote for McCain instead of Obama in the general election.
I wish I hadn't actually, because it's frustrating to listen to reasonable-sounding people spouting such nonsense. I've seen Hillary commenters online saying that they would vote for McCain, but they were so unhinged it was easy to write them off. This lady sounds like she's actually thought it through and decided that McCain's the better choice.
She begins by saying she doesn't like Obama's economic plan. That we can't afford to raise taxes, it would be bad for the economy, it would hurt small-business owners and cost jobs. I'm thinking how can a lifelong Democrat buy into supply-side economics? Madeleine then points out that there's no difference between Hillary and Obama's economic plan. Barbara says that's true but offers no further explanation.
Then she says he hasn't done anything, he's a blank slate upon whom people are projecting their hopes and dreams, but they don't know anything about him. I guess she hasn't seen his highly-detailed policy papers, examined his voting records, looked at his non-government resume. This inexperienced meme is such a load of BS.
Madeleine asks her if it's a vote for McCain or against Obama. She starts eulogizing McCain, about his economic policy, his immigration plan, his environmentalism and how he's a maverick.
Finally Madeleine asks about abortion, and mentions McCain's awful rating. Barbara sounds resigned and says that since there's already a conservative majority, it doesn't matter who the next two judges are, so she's going to vote on other issues.
What to make of all this? Barbara was a big Hillary fan, and yet she doesn't seem to believe in any of Hillary's policy positions, which are extremely close to Obama's, and antithetical to some of McCain's positions that she now supports. She trusted Hillary, but not enough to heed her call to work for Obama. I think what happened to Barbara is that she got so personally invested in Hillary, which grew to include personal antipathy for Obama, that she can't rationally discuss him anymore. I know some people may accuse her of closet racism, but I don't think so. I don't get the feeling she doesn't like black folks, she just doesn't like Obama. Barbara accuses Obama supporters of being irrational, of projecting our hopes onto him without cause, but I think it's clear that Barbara's the one not thinking straight. Or at least the one who's abandoning principles that she claims to have supported all her life.
I think there are a significant number of Hillary diehards who are in this group with Barbara. It's no longer about policy or the greater good, it's about punishing Obama. However, I really do think that the numbers overall are small and most of Hillary's supporters, especially those who are longtime Democrats, will support Obama.