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|As the campaign season progress toward the election and we get to know the candidates better, new material will be added. Below are links to new material as it is added...||
CAVEAT and WARNING! Danger,
Danger. This page contains politically incorrect and
incredibly inflammatory remarks for anyone with a closed mind or one steeped
in the typical mind-set of academia where too often academic freedom means the freedom
to sing WITH the choir so long as you are using the same song book and are
on the same page. Since at my college I do not yet have Tenure, I write this with
some trepidation; but sometimes I simply cannot keep quiet when things are
this important to the country...
|Started May 2008.||
The Candidates for President: 2008
(An ongoing item)
Well those of you that know me knew it had to happen sooner or later, so here is where I can manage to enrage everyone. I've always been an equal opportunity enrager for a long time and sacred cows are often my favorite meals so why stop now? Some were silly enough to ask what I thought about the candidates so here goes...
Regarding this overly protracted primary season and its pathetic line-up of candidates, I think we have three liberals running for President. To be perfectly honest with you I am both angry and frightened to think that after all of our so-called progress from the days of Franklin and Jefferson this collection of intellectual light-weights is the best we have to offer. It is obvious to me that cutting across party lines, knowledge of or lessons from history has nothing to offer this collection of individuals in terms of an educational experience enlightening their views. And that leaves me with little to say that is flattering to or about any of them.
I used to say that in order to vote for someone espousing a liberal point of view I would have to throw out all of my library's accumulated history and science and turn off the cognitive functions of my brain; I never thought however that someday that need would encompass the entire field of candidates running for office from both parties.
I have tried to keep my head down and my mouth shut about this but sometimes things are just too important. Unfortunately, and to be realistic about it, I don't think my feelings will matter but for what they are or are not worth, here they are.
By way of set up let me reiterate that I have often said before I think that within the next 8-10 years this country will have set in concrete its future road, that is, whether it will continue along the downhill slide I now see happening as we continue to dose the fire that made us great and lead us in the remainder of this century to cease being the beacon of light and opportunity to the world and just another Balkanized, Europeanized center of mediocrity, or whether it will make a major course correction to turn it around and regain the status of "leader of the Free World" we once so proudly held.
Unfortunately I am no longer optimistic. My problem is that I do not see contained in or exhibited by any of the candidates now running, the "stuff" that would make me believe they can or will turn us around and that means that by the end of their term (or terms should they get a second term) we will be out of time.
Here's is how I see them individually:
She is a far left 60s vintage liberal trying to pretend otherwise who is so devoted to power she will do anything or say anything expedient to make things happen her way. She is willing to swear one thing today and swear the opposite tomorrow if it has an effect on the desired outcome and then look us straight in the eye and try to tell us we all misunderstood and misquoted her. She will agree to do something today and try to back out of it tomorrow when it is going against her. Think of how the world community views that trait vis-a-vis making treaties and accords with her. She and her husband share that ability.
To give her her due, her shrill manner and cut-throat approach makes her probably the toughest candidate out there and the most likely to be a real leader. If only she held beliefs I would like to see our nation follow I would seriously consider voting for her. She will try to disguise the origins and foundations of her beliefs to make them more palatable to us but in the end her near socialistic policies will, I believe, help drive us to economic ruin and further world decline. She openly wants us Europeanized and as part of a global village (with her, ideally at the helm) and if successful at that will end the American Dream and potential pretty much on the spot. However it seems that, mathematically, she is no longer the lilely candidate so there is no reason to go on beating a dead horse.
And no, I have no trouble with the idea of a woman president. I would have voted for a Golda Meir or a Maggie Thatcher.
As the obvious Democrat front runner he may deserve a little more space. He's a brilliant orator but also an open and unrepentant socialist and Chicago-bred machine politician with no positive credentials and a case of anger and disdain for this country's history and growth. Though his well crafted rhetoric denies it, his actions, his off-the-cuff responses, and continued long-term associations and testimonials makes it clear he sees only the warts and scars and is blind to the goodness and positive side of it. When he finally, a day or so ago, cut ties to his virulently anti-American church after outrageous sermons piled up from former pastor and guest speakers alike made it clear they were becoming a liability, he did NOT say he was troubled by the messages of hate and separation being promulgated from that pulpit but went into great lengths to describe how awful it was that members of the congregation were being harassed by the press. He complained attention was being drawn from his message and had apparently no clue that in fact attention was being focused on a more important message based not in what he presents as a speech but in how he conducts his life and associations.
Additionally, he is an ideologue completely unburdened by experience in or knowledge of the world out there with which he, as President, will have to deal. Cut from the same cloth as was Jimmy Carter, whose world and national view is economically challenged and geo-politically naive (remember his famous line about the Soviets, "I can't believe they lied to me!"), Obama's only saving grace is the hope that if he wins, then like Carter before him, his ineptitude as President will prohibit a 2nd term before it is too late. Although he says he wants to talk to hostile foreign leaders, and, truth to tell, I'm not all that opposed to the idea, I think they will eat him alive. Putin would have him for breakfast and lunch, the Iranian crazy would have him for dinner and the other tin-horn depots would have to settle for table scaprs. I am frightened not only by his historical and geopolitical innocence but also by the host of wide eyed students and faculty who seem to believe, in their own show of utter ignorance of our own system, that he will do the things he implies he will do (he is smart enough to never promise anything concrete lest he be called to task for it later).
Obama says he wants "change" but is vague and oblique about what that change will be and given his indoctrination in the tenets of socialism combined with the mantle of so-called Black Theology (I HATE that term, by the way) he scares me to death. He offers "hope" but it is the exact same "hope" offered by Marx and nearly couched in the same language. In fact, a close listening to his speeches makes it clear he has far more in common philosophically with Marx (and I don't mean Groucho) than with Jefferson. He is a far better word smith, but has not significantly changed the tired old message of Gus Hall, the Soviet Stooge who year after year ran for President on the communist Party ticket. He is so closely aligned philosophically with that world view I am surprised more unions have not backed him. (I think the only reason they backed Clinton at first was because they, like many, just assumed she was a shoo-in and wanted to be seen as backing the winning horse.)
And no, I have no issue with a Black President; I would have voted for a Colin Powell or a J.C. Watts. It is the core of Clinton's and Obama's beliefs, the socialist underpinnings and despotic implications that I oppose. It is the fervent belief that Government is the answer that I oppose. It is the attempt to make people believe we need THEM to make things happen not in giving us the tools to make them happen for ourselves to which I am virulently opposed. It is in their belief that judges can be and ought to be legislators so long as they are on the left that I oppose.
My fear of Obama's beliefs and the disaster I foresee if they formed the basis for our nation and culture's policies is only somewhat ameliorated by my belief that he is so inexperienced in real leadership that he will manage to create utter grid lock in congress and thereby unintentionally save us from the policies to come forth. But no matter, that will be, even if only for four years, wasted time as we stagnate and slide closer to our cultural and national brink. It will be four less years for someone to turn it around, if indeed such a person actually arises by then.
But in the long run I am more frightened by the naiveté of the populace as noted above and their willingness to, as they say is necessary about the movies (and for the same reasons) "suspend their disbelief." Great orators have risen before on the world stage to enrapture, engage, and then enthrall their citizens with messages of hope and a plan out of their current despair even if that despair is created literally or fictionally by the orators themselves and whether or not the simple scapegoats being pointed to have anything at all to do with the real problems. And the horror is that free men and women have always been the ones who have paid the price.
Every major despot in the industrial age has been supported by academia and the so-called "intelligentsia." From Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Mussolini to Hitler, all of them rose to power on the shoulders and support of students and academics searching for enlightenment and someone to do the heavy lifting for them. All of them, it should be noted, could give a ringing speech too. Perhaps there is something common to the mindset of those who experience the world through the words and images of others and never directly (going on a cruise does not count), and who have never actually had to earn a living or run a business in the real world, that makes them susceptible to the idea of an enlightened source of guidance rather than finding it in the systemic and evolved wisdom of broader history and the people.
They have never had to put their warm and fuzzy ideals to the acid test of real world societies or face an intractable enemy outside of their well protected spheres so I guess it is not surprising that their world views would be as insulated from reality as is their environment. As Arthur C. Clarke (author of '2001: a Space Odyssey" ) noted, "An intellectual is one whose education has surpassed their intelligence." But I have to tell you, the realization that those are the prime supporters of Obama is, to me, a major red flag. They are seemingly unaware that the world proffered by their iconic progenitors Godwin, Rousseau, Marx, Shaw, etc. never really existed in the first place outside of fevered fantasies and cannot exist for long even when arbitrarily imposed until the core nature of humans has changed significantly. Abstract thinking is a marvelous exercise for the mind. But its relationship to the real world is, at best, coincidental and more often at odds. To understand the mind sets and thinking that helped evolve the civilized (and sometimes not so civilized) world is important historically. But there is no test except time and empirical observation for philosophical constructs and theories. If there were a real world application governments and corporations alike would have a CPO title of Chief Philosophical Officer to help guide them instead of relegating those who study it to that fantasy world of academia where they can amuse, confound, and plague students but never have to actually test them. And if I wanted to be president and wanted to base my political theories on philosophical tenets I would look to those that historically seemed more likely to work over time to the benefit of the citizens and the growth of the country than those that consistently had failed in relatively short order. And that means I would be prohibited from adopting the views of Obama and other modern liberals and secular progressives.
Both of the above Democrat candidates have a vested interest in the country's failures and misery on all fronts and that forms their attitudes and vision. It also forms their rhetoric which has to focus on failure and avoid ANY hint of success from the other side. It would be to the howls of derision by their true believer followers if they even hinted that ANYthing that could, however remotely, be linked to the greatly despised and all-hated Bush might not be an unmitigated disaster. The sophistry employed to find a way to link every negative to the hated Bush-demon would be amusing were it not so stupid and dangerous.
Don't get me wrong here, I think Bush will go down in History as one of the lowest scoring Presidents ever. But no one is 100% right or wrong. When you see them that way then you cannot learn from either their successes or failures because when both are linked to a personality not a real issue the results are always anomalous. Additionally, you cannot build on a success if you won't admit to its existence anymore than you can solve a problem you will not admit exists.
Both Democrat candidates frighten me with their world view which I believe is based on a completely erroneous view of human nature and willful ignorance the realities of the real tigers out there in the world community. I believe they are willfully ignorant of the consistent and unbroken failures of all -- ALL -- of the social experiments in the socialist/liberal/communal vein to create a viable and self-sustaining economy for any group that has progressed beyond the tribal level of society. In the history of man, there is not a single instance of success for the socialist approach (without being propped up by a patron government or where the ruling class is simply autocratic and tyrannical) once the group has evolved beyond the tribal level.
But, and worse in my opinion, they are also willfully ignorant of the dangers and are even supportive of policies that are undermining the culture that made America a world power. They would rather focus on what diversifies us than on what unites us (despite rhetoric to the contrary) and they fail to see that unbridled tolerance is simply unbridled cowardice. As the country song said, "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." Where is a JFK when we so desperately need him. His party has fallen for anything. He asked us to think not of what the country could do for us but what we could do for the country. Obama, Clinton, and the rest of that choir are instead telling us what the country, under their leadership WILL do for us as if we are entitled to is.
Why no one notices the incredibly obvious diametrically opposed differences in attitude and approach of the current liberal Messiah despite rhetorically idolizing Kennedy, is a mystery to me. Kennedy wanted to make the people and country strong. Obama et al wants to make the people dependant on and entitled to the government trough. In proper Machiavellian form they understand completely that power is not about money it is about dependencies; money is simply a by-product. I think that is simply and purely evil.
So if the current crop of Democrats are completely unacceptable to me that would seem to leave me with...
Ah, not so fast Bucko. I know that it is easier to believe that if I dislike one side of the fray then I must adhere to the other. That is typical shallow "zero-sum" political thinking and in this case could not be further from the truth.
Here in McCain is a man smarting from prior political abuse at the hands of the current buffoon-in-chief. He claims now to be a conservative despite a long standing record leading easily and clearly to the exact opposite conclusion. He also seems willing to compromise whatever his core beliefs may be (and it is impossible to tell given the history of his discourse and voting record that has had him coming down on all sides of every important issue) for the attainment of this position. He seems to want it more for vindication than anything else.
He will sit down with an interview with a conservative host and swear to do things in that conservative vein that he has not only consistently voted against in the past but, in interviews with liberal hosts, swore NOT to do only days before. In that regard he is simply a softer spoken Clinton pretending to the other side (or at least the middle) of the political aisle. Clinton and Obama are openly and eagerly socialistic in their view of how the government should operate but at least that is honest and gives us a position to debate. McCain is a complete mystery to me and I'm not sure what he believes. Perhaps his fractured voting is honest and indicative of a person who sees the complexities in each case better than most and votes according to some internally guiding code. But he has not made that case either by example or rhetoric and until he does I've no choice but to think he simply floats with a breeze that is blowing our of an undetermined direction.
And if it IS the case, then stick by it. Hold to those values and do not cave in to either liberal or conservative or other pulls on you. WE need a person of principles now more than ever. The others are utterly devoid of them; sadly there is no real indication McCain has them either.
That scares me. If he is indeed a man of principle then I want him to enumerate those principles and relate them to his record so we can see how it works. But he could be the real 'Manchurian Candidate" for all I know and that lack of consistent foundation frightens me, in may ways, far more than the radical socialist leanings of the others which can be debated and confronted.
So my bottom lines is that not one of these characters now running, in my opinion, and despite their sometimes well crafted rhetoric, seems to be in this Presidential race because they are primarily interested in the COUNTRY they must swear to protect or the Constitution they must swear to uphold. All of them seem willing to declare the night as day and vice versa if it suits their purposes and ambition at the moment and then turn around and say the opposite and either deny or rationalize the "apparent" contradictions.
Oh puh-leeeeeze... spare me... I don't want ANY of them to be my president.
The only good news in all of this is the relative lack of power a President actually has. They all claim as candidates that they will do this or do that but in truth the Executive branch can only ask Congress to do things: their real job is to execute (put into action) the laws enacted by Congress. Not that I have much faith in Congress either these days, but at least there are a gaggle of them to even out the playing field or get the competing viewpoints aired.
Despite rhetoric leading the uninformed population to the contrary belief, the President has virtually no single-handed control over the economy, is completely reactive to foreign policy (since they have zero control over other country's or players that effect the political realities of the world), and in this day and age would have trouble fixing a parking ticket. They may ASK for things like tax increases or cuts or military action approvals, but in the end they can only ACT on them if Congress votes to OK them. They may want to interfere or help in State issue including disasters but are prohibited by State and Federal law from doing so until ASKED by State Authorities. We blame or praise the President and label actions or events with their names but quickly forget (if we ever really understood) that they are acting ONLY after Congress has said OK. They can deny Congress access to certain papers and people but they cannot enhance their own power or act on much of anything of real consequence without Congressional oversight. They can veto, but even that can be overridden.
After the experience with this current President and the blunders stemming from Congressional approval of requested actions, the Congress will hopefully be extremely hesitant to grant any extension of Presidential power or to give unrestrained preliminary OK's to actions no matter who wins, so that will solve some impending issues. But we have such bigger fish to fry it stuns me how much we are now paying attention, once again, to partisan talking points and avoiding reality. I think those issues include...
None of our candidates is talking about any of these or other substantive issues that will have profound effects on our country in the near and far futures; not one has addressed or offered a cogent, cohesive, comprehensive plan to deal with these issues. They have, instead, pandered to the self-defined 'victims' in our society because though they have failed to read their histories they have learned carefully from the pages of Machiavelli that power, real power, is not about money but about dependencies. And if they can convince large portions of the population that they are actually the victims they want to be (so others are to blame for their situations) and further that they are victims who need that politician to save them, then they get power via being elected. And from THAT position the money, as a by-product, starts to flow freely.
Of course those victims are so entrenched in their self defined victimhood and the goodies that flow from it they never notice (and we, who pay for it are also to blind to notice) that it NEVER gets solved. Why? Because it is not supposed to. Think about it... if it got solved the cause would go away and with it, the power, and then the money. Not one of the major polarizing issues on the table today from abortion to pornography to race to gun-rights to definitions of marriage is likely to ever be completely solved because although the trenches are filled with true believers beating up on each other, the politicians pulling the strings would lose major cash cows and political dependencies if the issues evaporated via real solutions. The leaders on either side cannot ever afford to allow that to happen.
There were once individuals and even groups of politicians who stood in opposition to that, who argued that what the population needed was not a handout or another entitlement but an education so they could learn how to save themselves. That seems no longer to exist. Teddy Roosevelt showed that you can build a self-dependent society while also protecting the environment and those things need not be in opposition to one another. He is now seen as anachronistic since he expected people to be responsible for themselves and pay for their own stupidity, laziness, or ineptitude. Another history lesson ignored.
So who AM I supporting?
None of them!
I honestly don't want ANY of this group of three to be my next President.
One of them, of course, will be. I cannot stop that. But that outcome, in my opinion will be to my and my country's great loss. The differences between them is a matter only of degree but in the last two elections I voted against what I believed (and still believe) was the lesser of two evils. But that lesser evil was still, as the smoke cleared, beyond the pale of acceptable.
I truly do not want to do it again. So if you love one of these characters then by all means vote for and support them. For me it does not matter; the only real differences is which will accelerate our decline faster and since that is a toss up, it doesn't matter to me. But to me, not one of them is worth my efforts to support in anyway including debate. I'd rather put my mental energies elsewhere into things that might possible be positive and something I can believe in. I don't believe in any of these people.
Well, it is clear that Obama or McCain will be the next president regardless of my beliefs about them. But the ensuing weeks of their 'campaigning' has only strengthened my feelings about them as noted above. Obama is seen on the left as a political messiah despite astonishingly minimal credentials. He recently took a trip around the world as if a day or two in various countries would teach him all he would know to deal with the complex geopolitical realities on both grand and petit scales. What he did demonstrate was that he needs tro stay closer to the teleprompter. There is no doubt that he can give (and presumably write???) a great rousing speech. But when forced to speak off the cuff he is lost. Taking points seem to all rush in at once and the result is gibberish. Of course his disciples hear the full text of the jumbled talking points and think they have heard a message from on high. I hear a man long on nerve, short on data, and lacking a grasp of the complexities a president must face. Dan Quayle must have gotten a good laugh when seeing some of the televised news conference performances.
McCain is no stranger to gaffes either. He has made more than his share. Far more experienced in the nuances and complexities of the world he still seems to not have found his own core. His rhetoric precludes him from pretending to adopt the base of his party and his moving target values seem to inhibit his grabbing themes important to the folks and sticking to a view of them.
For all of his verbiage about hope and the audacity of change, Obama's senate record is abysmal. More often than note he simply voted "present" when he wasn't voting for the far left position. A "present" vote is a CYA vote when you do not want political flack for taking a stand. I think they should be outlawed and there was a time in this country when the cowardice of making a "present" vote would have been seen for what it was and the blighter would have been voted out at the next election not glossed over by a dreamy eyed press. Fortunately he has not had that much effect anyway since he has not been there that much. Adding up his actual days on the Senate floor they come to 143 days. THAT is his Federal government experience.
Yet McCain's 22 years have not seemed to have helped him find a center either. You'd think a bona fide hero would have such an internally consistent standard of values as to be unshakable. Maybe he had it and it went away in the light of political practicalities. I don't care why however.
But one of them will win. And perhaps the real question is to examine not the man, since neither is, in my opinion, worthy of the position, but the other ripple effects of an administration with them at the helm. That would start with growing data on such things as their vice-president pick and who they would likely put in the upcoming Supreme Court vacancies. WE won't know their cabinet picks until it is too late but perhaps we can get some clues as the campaign progresses.
So now my focus has shifted from the individuals, about whom I now know all I need to know, to the periphery of the campaigns, More to follow...
Well we are getting closer, conventions are over, VPs are picked, and we are but 40+ days from the election. I've been asked by several people what I now think and if I have managed to change my opinion. Interestingly I've been asked that by friends on both sides since, as you've notice, I have not favored either side.
I can tell you first of all my bottom line conclusions have not changed. I truly do not want either of them as president. But once again, our country seems politically impoverished and we will end up having to select the least awful among two very marginal at best candidates. In the last addendum I mentioned new criteria for selection as being such things as running mates and potential at the periphery of the president's power.
First it must be understood clearly how little power the President really has. Their main function is to be the lightening rod; the scapegoat for all things bad and the poster boy for all things good while the congress actually does the stuff we applaud or deride. The president can suggest but not command. His "budgets" are suggestions only, for example' the real budgets are created in the incredibly powerful Appropriations committee. He can veto a law but it can be overridden by congress. Every law that you hate and blame on a president was written by and passed by the Congress. If the President signed it and let it pass that does not mean he created it, liked it, or approved of it; it often means he knows he would be overridden anyway so why not save the fight for another day. Whether or not the current President wanted this war, he would still be sitting at his desk fuming over it had not Congress (including Clinton and Kerry) voted to make it happen.
Another power that should not exist in its present form (in my opinion) is the Supreme Court. Constitutionally its only role is to rule on whether or not a Federal law (or regional law under appeal) falls within the approval of the U.S. Constitution. Period. That is it. It should be non-political, non-partisan, and purely legalistic. That is why it is the THIRD arm of government as a watchdog over the other two, not a pawn of one or the other.
But over the last half century it has become far more activist and has by default started interpreting and spinning the Constitution to, in effect, legislate from the bench. I am completely opposed to that and think it blatantly unconstitutional, but it is, despite my opposition, the reality of today. Consequently the appointment of justices takes on an importance it should never have. Doubt it? When both parties start applying litmus tests for their pet causes instead of simply looking to Constitutional scholarship then something very different is at play than what was imagined in the Constitution.
So suddenly the President does have some power over legislation even though it is indirect. Assuming each candidate will pick justices based on their core political values, now there are some reasons to look closer since several seats on the Court may become vacant during the next two terms.
So let's bring this up to the moment.
Obama has done nothing to change my mind and has in fact reinforced it at every turn. His policies are increasingly openly socialistic. He truly believes that the government is and should be the solution and that we should cheerfully pay for it to be our great benevolent father led, of course, by his personal vision for what is good for us. In that view the congress has the simple role of taking his "suggestions" and turning them into laws designed to implement his ideas about how the government should take care of us. of course in the end we would all be dependent on the government we are paying for and soon become like the former Soviet Union where people had no concept of individuality and individual responsibility for their own destiny but that is, apparently to both him and his backers, a small price to pay for such a warm and fuzzy place as he imagines. To me it is not warm and fuzzy on its face and in any case is doomed to disaster for us as a people and a nation. I am so unalterably opposed to any such notion that I could never vote for him regardless of other views.
He prefers to nuance everything rather than act decisively. That certainly has its place. But the world stage is filled with real tigers, most notably the re-emerging Russia. Thanks to Carter and Clinton our military ability to hold them at bay is almost non-existent and our intelligence capability to see it coming is equally pathetic. Putin and his puppet Medvedev will eat Obama for lunch like they would have done (and their predecessors DID) former President Carter. The world in the post cold-war period is far more complex and far more dangerous than he seems to be aware. We are setting the stage for a prolonged peace or the next war and this next term will be critical to that path. I do not think Obama is up to it.
A two week whirlwind tour to introduce the new Messiah to the world does not a foreign policy expert make. And during that trip he undermined several important processes including the transfer of power in Iraq which he suggested should be postponed till the next Presidency (which he expects to be him). Personally that rises to treasonous levels but it is a different issue though it shows judgment potential somewhat clearly. His lame reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia was precisely what I expected and what I expect in the future. I do understand that the reality is that his political ancestors had removed from us any possibility of real action anyway but his response was not phrased to indicate frustration at that, rather delight in it and a desire to talk our way out of it. He is so utterly clueless about the realities of our opposition around the world as to be farcical were he running for President with a good chance of winning. In the last week we have once again seen the North Korean despot throw talk back in our face. When will we learn that the thugs of the world are playing us for the saps we are becoming?
His VP pick is Joe Biden. Biden is an old line secular humanist progressive Senator with all the correct liberal credentials to satisfy the party hard liners and to add the appearance of experience to the ticket. But as we saw clearly in the primaries, Obama is not one to share the limelight and in any case I think the day of the Cheney-like powerful VP are over and the more trraditional role for them will be returning. So Biden is, to me, simply more reinforcement. Especially now we are seeing his rhetoric escalate into the almost pure socialistic perspective he really believes since Obama has made it possible to be honest about it.
Obama also remains incredibly and transparently disingenuous. Promising audiences where he stands on things in direct and flagrant opposition to his voting records and his previous writings on the subject has become common place. For example he promises to support the 2nd Amendment and says he will not take anyone's gun away. But he voted to uphold the D.C. law essentially banning all firearms from the district, voted in Illinois to ban firearms, wrote in his book about how they were the root of all violent crime (of course elsewhere he wrote that the root of it was the nasty "haves" holding down the victimized "have nots" as if this were a zero-sum game) and should be eliminated. I know some good people who believe that too even though I deeply disagree, But the point here is that his history is clear as to where he really stands and his campaign rhetoric is completely opposite to that so why would anyone believe anything he says? That he does it makes a clear statement about his beliefs relative to his disciples.
Obama, to his credit, continues to prove he is a powerful orator when working from a prepared speech or re-giving something he has completely in hand. But he is not fast on his feet intellectually and in today's world I think a leader will need to be.
So what about. ..
McCain continues to disappoint me in not seeming to be able to find a core to hold on to philosophically. And he too has been disingenuous about his campaign promises compared to his record in Congress. A wonderful example of that is happening now vis-ŕ-vis the financial crisis where he is up in arms clamoring for solutions to problems he himself helped to create. His solutions are more credible than Obama's but I have no reason to believe he actually believes in them or would intend to implement them. His work on the McCain Feingold issue or the McCain-Kennedy bill stand in stark contrast to some of his campaign rhetoric.
I do think he has a far better grasp of the world stage and the geopolitical realities of it than Obama, and that is important to me but it is a single issue.
So, overall, I've not changed my mind about him either, personally. But in his case the periphery takes on greater importance because of his age. There is a live option that he may not live out his term (or terms). That means his VP choice is important. Personally I think he made a pretty good one. Palin is bright, and she has a track record of cleaning up corruption in a notoriously corrupt (politically speaking) state and did it against both Republicans and Democrats equally. I do like that. She has been decisive in several political leadership roles and has many more days in a decision making office than Obama has logged in the Congressional debating club. She seems cut from the same cloth as a Golda Meier or a Maggie Thatcher and I like that a lot.
No, before you ask, I do not agree with all of her personal opinions or positions. But she has also shown that she separates those cleanly from her governmental duties despite the hyperbolic prophesies of disaster from the opposition. If McCain survives his term then she will be politically irrelevant except as a likely future candidate.
I also much prefer the potential Supreme Court Candidates McCain will likely pick since I see them more as Constitutional scholars more than political activists for either side. Yes, I understand that makes them more conservative since it seems to be the more liberal minded who want to change the Constitution to suit there needs instead of stay within its rather strict guidelines. But until we have a Constitutional convention that re-writes things, as is specified in the document itself, I do not want anyone from either side attempting to pretend what the document clearly says means something else.
Of course Palin is a far better speaker than McCain who is more like listing to a tape recorder in a cigar store indian. But I'm not voting for oratory; I'm voting for action. Lincoln proved a wretched speaking voice and simple oratory did not hold him back from greatness when the challenge came to him. So that has fascination but no voting appeal to me.
So where am I standing now? I still really do not want either of them. But since I will have to chose one or the other, I cannot find a single thing to vote for in Obama and far more to vote against. I can find a single thing to vote for in McCain. Pretty narrow margin indeed but I'd say today I would hold my nose and vote for McCain but only because I am so opposed to and frightened by the prospect of Obama. However the race is not yet over. World and domestic issues have time to arise. Congress is considering an energy bill that is, in my view, idiotic, and I've not heard and solid positions from either. I think along with foreign issues, energy and our dependence on foreign resources is a disaster waiting to happen. No wait... it has already started to happen and the Congressional Neros are fiddling while the country burns.
Of far greater importance than Obama and McCain, in my opinion, is what will happen in the congress because that is where the real power is. Surely hard core democrats have to be livid over the inaction and failed promises of the current democrat controlled congress who were going to run Bush out of town on a rail and right all of the perceived wrongs of his administration. Are the democratic voters really that partisan and blind as to not see it? Well, it does look like it if polls are even close to correct. And if they continue in their collective ineptitude then it perhaps it doesn't matter who is President. Since the congress will simply occupy its time with partisan wrangling and manage to not implement any of the suggested policies anyway. That will simply prolong our disastrous fall from national grace but since I'm older now maybe it will postpone it until I'm not here to see it.
So stay tuned, something interesting may still happen.
September 20, 2008
OBAMA WON... NOW WHAT
Well, Obama won the election. Not by much, he got 52% of the vote but that's enough to do it. Of course to listen to the media you would have thought the Messiah had come and world salvation was at hand. He started off with some pragmatic choices for his cabinet that I thought were pretty good ones, all things considered. Of course it quickly returned to Chicago politics as usual when he nominated to people who had failed to pay taxes but then they were Democrats so it was all quickly overlooked as simple mistakes.
But the big issue will be the economy. He made the mistake of running on a platform that clearly said he could solve the woes from this situation. He did it by blaming previous politicians, mostly Republicans of course, for creating it. We could overlook that little historical blindness as campaign rhetoric but once you lay the blame at the feet of politicians you also clearly state that politicians can fix it. I think this one will come back to bite him hard for two reasons. The first is that he was wrong on both counts.
Politicians certainly contributed to the depth and extension of the situation that created the economic crisis but they did not create it. Liberal policies wanting to level the playing field so that everyone, even those far from qualified financially, could live the dream pour fuel on the fire, but it was a perfect storm of natural economic cycles during periods of blind greed and corruption, punctuated by the inevitable burst of a very fragile and long overdue bubble that ripped the foundation from what had become, on a world wide basis, a financial house of cards. Overleveraged investments and non-funded government entitlements and programs then contributed their share and blew the remaining walls down.
However he said HE could fix it and with majorities in both houses the Democrats quickly produced their dream spending bill, called it a stimulus, and trotted it out. When you are nearing bankruptcy you cannot spend your way back to financial health. But as a Socialist it is the only solution allowed in your playbook so a gigantic bill is being proposed. And, true to form, although some of the provisions do in fact address portions of the problem, it is laden with feel good, make work entitlement programs from the "we will take care of you" philosophy. Bush proved clearly, and to the justified derision of the Democrats, that providing small amounts of cash to the populace simply ends up in savings or paying down debt and does not make it back in the economy in any meaningful way. So their pan includes repeating that. FDR showed that make-work projects cannot solve national economic issues: it took a war to do it. So their plan includes those types of actions. Based on the review of a number of articles by leading economists, if this plan is put into practice I would predict we will see a short term small bounce and then the disaster will return in spades because the underlying root causes are ignored.
What I hope is that after the initial failure of the bill to win any Republican support and even a few Democrats were opposed, they will go back to the table and create something more workable. But in the end I do not believe we have a problem vulnerable to a political solution and Obama is not being wise to get suckered into making people think that is the case since he will carry the expectations and by hammered by the blame when it fails.
February 3, 2009
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