Election 2008: The Iowa Caucuses, Dispatch 3

Susan Webster is a Clinton supporter and the third of five LGBT Iowans whom we are getting to know as we follow them through the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008, the first step in nominating process on the road to the White House.

BY Kerry Eleveld

December 28 2007 1:00 AM ET

Caucusgoer: Susan Webster

Age: 47

Candidate: Hillary Clinton

Hometown: Norwalk (about 10-15 minutes outside
of Des Moines)

Candidate in 2004: Howard Dean, but wasn’t
living in Iowa for the ’04 caucus.

Why Clinton?

“I think
that it is going to be a horrible campaign. The Republicans
have proven that they will leave no stone uncovered to
find things to smear people with, and Senator Clinton
has all her stones turned,” says Webster,
“and I thin that’s critically important to
understand that in this campaign.

One of
Webster’s biggest concerns is health care, and she
thinks Clinton has laid the groundwork to make a
change. “I think her ability to work with the
existing power structure in the healthcare industry -- even
though I don’t like it -- will just blow them away. I
think she’s taken the time and has built those
relationships and has a program that’s really
going to work.”

In terms of LGBT
issues, Webster has a very practical outlook on marriage
equality. “I get why the major candidates
can’t all come out for more than civil unions,
which we know is a separate and unequal solution,”
she explains. “It’s a no-win issue for
most politicians right now, but I’m sure that
Senator Clinton will use the bully pulpit to help
educate.”

A Second Choice? (In the Iowa Democratic
caucus, if your candidate does not win the support of at
least 15% of the people at your caucus site, he or
she is not considered “viable,” and
you must choose another candidate.)

Webster says John
Edwards would be her second choice. “Edwards polled
better against all the Republicans head-to-head
[nationally],” says Webster of her runner-up.

Then why not make
him your first choice? “I think the Clinton strategy
is more sophisticated than any of the others,”
she says. “Hillary gets criticized for being
calculating and cold and then she gets called a
politician, and I just put up my arms and go, you just
described the job she’s running for… I
want someone who is very thoughtful, very calculated,
very strategic, and a politician. It’s a political
job -- the last guy we elected sounded like he was fun
to have a beer with, and look where we are.”

Iowa’s Political Culture

Webster
understands some of the other states wanting to get into the
primary mix earlier, but she also thinks Iowans take their
envied position to heart. “Iowa sits in a
unique position, and it makes us a lot more powerful
nationally than I think people would hope,” she
acknowledges, “but people here take this so seriously
and pay so much attention to it and go out in horrible
weather to seek these different candidates.
We’re really concerned about how these candidates
will do nationally. We really think at the national
level.”

Tags: Politics

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