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May 06, 2008

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I'm curious, as I've read neither: does Hillary articulate a raison d'etre in her biography? And do you find her "social conservatism" to be genuine? I must confess that despite all the talk in the media about how little we "know" Obama, I don't really feel like I get what motivates Clinton. Just a question.

Actually, I think she's culturally conservative, and I don't use the word social here because I'm not quite sure what I'd mean by that. By culturally I mean she seems traditional - quietly religious, patriotic, a believer in right v. wrong, etc. I know some people don't like that, but I'm ok with it.

I think that Clinton is a true blue Democrat who's been politically active since she was 13 (moving from GOP to Dem in her teens). I think she is a politician, meaning that she's spent her entire life in a role of advocacy and policymaking for a variety of groups: Democrats (via her jr role in the Watergate investigations) children (via Children's Defense Fund and as First Lady), women (First Lady), families, women and kids (again, her legal work), the uninsured (as First Lady of AR and First Lady), etc.

I realize these books were written with specific purposes - hers is to describe her role as First Lady and she begins with childhood and goes thru the Clinton Admin, and it's boring in part because there's not much that's salacious or even personal but a lot of detail on what she's been up to professionally and extra-curricularly (as a kid and college student). And Obama's memoir is a much more personal, coming-of-age type of story.

What I found though by listening to the 2 was that I learned a lot more about Clinton's qualifications, and my skepticism about Obama was reinforced via his book.

Obviously, most Presidential candidates run because they think they'd be best for the job, but I still don't know how Obama would define that job. Why is he running, beyond he's the best person for the job? Whereas with Clinton I feel like I understand what she'd like to do in office, and it's what she's been working her whole life towards, in some ways.

I think Clinton's really tough to "know" - she has an interview in People this week where I think she sounds really inauthentic. I think she only gives glimpses of who she is. But that's fine with me because I think she's got the experience and fit for the job, and I don't think that she's secretly hiding a demonic personality. I just think she's kind of business-like and sort of awkward. With Obama, I'm drawn to him personally, but I just don't know why he's running, and I don't think he's ready.

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