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Boro Dems can’t make up their minds

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Meet Erica Sattin. She’s smart. She’s young. She’s opinionated. So why can’t she make up her mind about which Democrat to support on Tuesday?

“The day after the Obama victories in Iowa and South Carolina, I got pretty into Barack Obama,” said Sattin. “And the day after a Hillary Clinton victory, I get into her.”

Sattin said she’d probably hold off on making a decision until she rolled out of bed on Feb. 5, when 22 states, including New York, will host primaries for both major parties.

Her predicament is a common one.

Brooklynites — despite their reputation for having an opinion, or two, on everything — are having some trouble choosing between the junior senators from New York and Illinois.

Take Eric Demby. Even this 35-year-old who has been in the political business (having served as Borough President Markowitz’s spokesman) remains, as he put it, “in the last throes of deciding.”

What’s the problem? It’s not that he doesn’t know the issues, of course. It’s that he doesn’t have the requisite comfort level.

“I feel like I would love to see someone like Obama be president,” said Demby. “I like how natural he is, and how he’s able to be himself, rather than someone sculpted by consultants. ... He talks the way people I know talks.”

Then again, Clinton has her strengths.

“Hillary, you know that she’s good, you know that will be a good president,” said Demby.

For goodness sake, the indecision even extends to politicians, who generally like to take sides, if only to reap the political rewards of having their (wo)man in the White House.

Yet even Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), one of the city’s more outspoken politicians, can’t choose.

“I’m struggling between my desire for change, versus Sen. Hillary Clinton’s proven record to my district,” said James, adding that she respected Clinton for refusing to take sides in the Atlantic Yards conflict (though many voters see her inability to take a stand as typical of Clinton’s desire to not alienate any potential supporters).

Then again, James also attended an enormous Obama fundraiser in August at the Marriott.

Amidst this indecision, one thing’s for sure: Brooklyn is a coveted prize, thanks to its 815,500 registered Democrats — more than any other New York county.

And, of course, a few Brooklynites have made up their minds. Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D– Park Slope), who has campaigned for Clinton, professed little doubt she would win the borough. Yet Obama has an angle on hometown cred, too.

At both the Marriott in August and at a more intimate fundraiser in Brooklyn Heights in July, Obama played up his ties to the borough. He lived in Park Slope for a year-and-a-half, and for a few months in the Heights, where he liked to jog along the Promenade.

Alan Fleishman, a Democratic district leader and boardmember of the gay Democratic club Lambda, said he, too, would be pulling the lever for Clinton, whom he called “extremely smart [and] electable.”

“I am ready for a black person to be president, but I don’t know that the rest of the country is,” said Fleishman. “The glass ceiling for a woman would be easier to break than the color thing.”

But for others, Obama’s decisive win in Iowa, a mostly white state, indicated otherwise.

“In the Iowa primary America has shown they’re willing to treat individuals as individuals,” said Clinton Miller, the reverend of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill who first endorsed Obama this summer.

Miller said his 900-member congregation was leaning toward Obama, too, though there is certainly a gulf in the African-American community.

“More of the mainstream leaders who have benefited from the Clintons have endorsed the Clintons — and a lot of that has to do with age,” said Miller, 40. “The younger black leadership seems to favor Sen. Obama.”

Obama’s youthful Brooklyn cadre includes state Assemblyman Karim Camara (D–Crown Heights), congressional hopeful Chris Owens, and state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope).

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Reader Feedback

aliza from fort green says:
i feel a lot like ms. sattin. i too think im smart and opinionated and still cant make up my mind. thanks for this piece.
Feb. 3, 2008, 12:58 pm

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