I am previously on record as opposing casual participation in the candidate nomination process. Nevertheless, "they set up the rules," so if the Washington State Democrats are gonna let a pleb like me participate in their caucus, I wont surrender the field to others who dont share my distaste.
The differences between Obama and Clinton are slight when compared to anyone the Republicans would nominate, but they are there. Most significantly, Clintons positions and voting record on the war and the expansion of executive power are dismaying, and the contrast with Obama is stark. As these are key issues for me, I support Obama for the Democratic nomination. From her statements and actions, it is clear that Clintons only objection to the Iraq war is that Richard Holbrooke wasnt in charge of it. Furthermore, this was her opinion not only in 2002 but through 2008, as well. This demonstrates that Clinton shares her husbands (and her husbands advisers) conviction that foreign affairs are abstract concepts that dont affect elections. In short, Clinton has an ambitious domestic agenda and is willing to accommodate Republicans and neo-cons in order to enact that agenda, leaving messy international problems to the Best and the Brightest. I am not, and I doubt Obama is, either (at least not to the degree Clinton is).
And what of that domestic agenda? Almost all Democrats agree that we have an historic opportunity for genuine health care reform, and I even think Clintons proposed plan (at present) is marginally better than Obamas proposed plan (at present), but not so much as to outweigh other issues (and neither plan is as good as Edwardss was).
I dont pretend to any proven ability to judge "electability," but I can say that when he speaks Obama is qualitatively more inspiring than Clinton. Clinton may know her stuff, but when she speaks shes preaching to the choir. Of course, this is another reason why amateur demographers and pollsters like me shouldnt have a voice in candidate nomination; we should be asked (in the general election) who we like, not who we guess other people would like.
On Saturday, Ill go to my first caucus in my new precinct, and Ill let you know how it differed from four years ago.