To reply to Kelly and Lex from the comments below, let me clarify regarding my decision to leave the Democratic party should Clinton become the nominee.
First, I did not say I would vote for John McCain. No matter what happens, I will vote for the nominee whose ideals are closest to my own. Despite my self-smear as a latte drinker above, I am actually pretty small-government in my social and economic thinking, and so I doubt I would ever be able to vote for a person aligned with the privacy invaders of the anti-abortion, anti-gay right wing.
Second, I support Obama because I support the party. I believe that Obama as nominee will strengthen and broaden the party. I think his nomination is our best shot at winning the presidency with a broad, clear mandate and in winning back to our cause the independents and moderate Republicans that the Clintons, rightly or wrongly, seem to have lost.
(ironically, they lost them over the same tactics they used to seek them, but more on that later)
Pragmatically, such a mandate would create coattails upon which other Democrats, as well as Independents and Republicans I agree with, will be able to ride into office. Far more so than a scorched-earth, 51%, dare-I-say Clintonian victory in November, this kind of mandate and broad based electoral success is our best chance of actually enacting the kind of change both candidates want to make.
Third, Obama represents the model of the Democratic party I wish to belong to. It is a party that is inclusive. It is a party that does not tell me that I'm the wrong kind of Democrat (ie, latte-drinking). It is a party that does not imply that the Democrats of Texas or Iowa don't count because they don't fit into the electoral calculus. It is a party that is committed to innovative grass roots organizing: raising funds and building policy support voter by voter in all 50 states, and does not rely solely on entrenched political machines and top-down, mass media, which is dying.
I acknowledge that Obama is not pure-as-driven snow on these metrics. I am sure some may find quotes that would support that he alienated a voter there, or benefited from a political machine here. But is clear at least to me that he is closer to the mark on these principles than his rival, and he is a leader insofar as he is showing us why they matter so very much. These models for the party, especially the matter of inclusiveness, are not merely inspiring ideas, but also represent a blueprint for what I would consider to be a broader, more vibrant, and more powerful Democratic party.
Fourth, and to specifically answer Lex, I do not dislike Hillary Clinton. I voted for her husband twice, and I think she would be a capable president, were there not a better option available.
However, she nonetheless represents what I consider to be a model for a failed Democratic party. A party that divides its own membership against one another--by suggesting that a rival is not black enough, for example, or too maybe-Muslim--in order to conquer it. A party that prefers a meaningless, symbolic conflict over an effective struggle, or reasonable compromise. A party that is essentially unprincipled, following the DLC line of tacking further and further to the right to capture what I consider to be a mythical conservative majority until finally it is merely a shadow republicanism. A party that mocks inspiration and villifies optimism.
Again, I do not just find these qualities loathsome. Pragmatically, they add up to a party that loses elections, loses core support, and presides over a dwindling collection of special interests instead of a national movement. Our success in 2006 stemmed from our firm principled opposition to the war, resonating with a motivated electorate, and our embrace of disillusioned republicans like Jim Webb. Yet we have retreated from that stance ever since. On the war alone, the defining issue of our day, there is little meaningful difference between McCain and Clinton. If Clinton's democratic party is, in policy and tactics, merely a shadow of the Republican party, then independents and moderate republicans will simply and understandably vote for the real thing.
Fifth, and this goes without saying, my loyalty is to my country and its principles first, not to the private enterprise that is a modern political party. Like most, I didn't choose my political party, I inherited it. I've always been proud of it and its stances. But I think we see a clear difference here not only in which way the country goes, but the party. If Clinton is nominated, and especially so if she is nominated without a clear electoral mandate, then I will conclude the democratic party is not interested in being the party I think it can become, the party I wish to be a part of. And while I might vote the democratic ticket in the future, I would in that case become an independent.
I hope that all make sense. Did you notice? NO CAPS!
That is all.