You certainly cannot blame me and my state (Nevada) for the nominees in this year's Presidential election. Our caucuses selected Romney and Clinton. While I'm not a Romney fan, as a lifelong registered Democrat, the obvious candidate for me was Hillary. Her only glaring weakness (and it proved to be her downfall) was hopping on the Senate bandwagon in October of 2002 and approving the invasion of Iraq. Everything else about her supported the fact that she is the most qualified candidate in either party for the Presidential nomination. But alas, that is all water under the bridge now.
In the thirty years I have participated in Presidential elections, I cannot ever remember selecting a clear-cut nominee. It always came down to the 'lesser of two evils'. And in 2008 more than ever, this is certainly the case.
Barack Obama is hardly qualified to be President, and you can clearly hear the reasons why from the McCain camp. Obama has never held an executive position, never drafted a meaningful piece of legislation, and the sum of his experience at the national level is a paultry 140 voting days in the Senate. Some would argue that it is charisma, the ability to organize and motivate qualified individuals around you that is most important. But I would seriously doubt with these credentials, he would ever be chosen by a board of directors to head any major corporation. Oh well, apparently the United States Presidency is a different bird altogether and regardless of his lack of qualifications, the majority of Democrats have spoken.
Speaking of Democrats, I still question some of the early decisive state primaries, where 'disenchanted' Republicans changed their party affiliation just long enough to vote Obama in and Hilary out. Where are those 'disenchanted' Republicans now? Why are they not slamming their shunned party and speaking out in favor of Obama? There is something rotten in the state of Denmark when voters are allowed to change affiliations in a moment's notice to vote in the other party's primary. If they want to make a change, it should happen well before the primary season begins and remain that way until after the Presidential election.
Again, water under the bridge.
But there is an even greater cause for concern with Obama. He seems very willing to tell whatever audience he is in front of exactly what they want to hear. He has altered his positions numerous times since the early days of the campaign. He is hardly the same man he was in January. Sarah Palin mentioned how he spoke to a group in San Francisco behind the backs of working class Americans who "cling to guns and religion". Wow, what a blunder! Talk about alienation! He is not politically savvy, he has been reduced to learning the in's and out's of a Presidential campaign on the fly. Sports fans know that rookies never win championships. Perhaps Obama will be the exception, the Magic Johnson of politics. But I fear that once again the Democratic Party will be the party of losers.
Beyond that, there are some of Obama's policies that I strongly disagree with. I can only guess Obama's opposition to drilling for oil in Alaska is because he is concerned about the 'green' vote. But who in their right mind would not be willing to open up a very small sector of a 50,000 square mile wildlife refuge and allow a very tightly regulated industry to operate there? You read that right – 50,000 square miles! To put it into perspective, ANWAR is about the size of Southern California. How much harm could come to the region of that size if a couple hundred drilling rigs were allowed to be built there? Would there still be enough room for the caribou? Would the caribou be offended by the visual eyesore of an oil derrick? Or would the other 49,000 square miles be enough space for them to take in the view?
A couple positives about Obama that the McCain people seem to be attacking. Obama has outlined domestic programs that he hopes to institute. McCain people ask "how is he going to fund it?" But these same McCain people fail to mention the trillion (with a T!) dollars the Republican war machine has spent on a needless war in Iraq. That is a hundred times more money than the Obama programs, which would involve American workers improving American infrastructure and the money would trickle down here in America to create more jobs. Obama has also been criticized for planning to raise taxes, but if you listen, he is only going to raise taxes on corporations like oil companies who are making windfall profits. This 'redistribution of wealth' is common in all other developed nations on this planet. Even as Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin 'taxed' profits of oil companies and redistributed the wealth to the citizens of Alaska. Unless you are a CEO or major stockholder in one of these corporations, how can you be against this when it will end up benefiting you?
And then there is Senator McCain. Ahhhh, the war in Iraq! Ahhhh John McCain! Does the American public understand what a warmonger this man truly is? He cannot even finish a sentence without the word 'fight' in it. Why has the Obama campaign not played this up? Make no mistake about it, if John McCain is elected President, the United States will invade Iran. There is only one way America can assemble the human resources necessary to take on Iran (and China and Russia) and that is to re-instate the draft. Why would any parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who has a loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four vote for McCain? The Senator drones on and on about honor and victory – but what exactly does victory mean to him? 3,000 soldiers dead. A trillion (with a T!) dollars of taxpayer money. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. He goes on and on about supporting the surge when in actuality the violence decreased because two million Iraqis were driven from their homes by ethnic cleansing. That is two million refugees suffering in neighboring countries like Jordan and Syria putting enormous pressure on the fragile peace of the entire Middle East region. Iraq is now a segregated society, and no Sunni dares walk in Shia occupied territory or vice versa. The country is divided like never before. Even if every soldier from every faction in the Middle East dropped their weapons tomorrow, and we had a lasting peace from here to eternity, this would not be victory. The Iraq war is an abomination and will never be anything other than that. War is hell and hell is not victory.
The thing that bugs me most about the Republican war machine is that they speak of war as if there are no other options. Sarah Palin called the Iraq war a "task that is from God". I do not know what God she worships, but it sounds like he wears horns and a tail.
But amazingly, this is not the biggest black eye on McCain. There is an even darker, dirtier secret – it is referred to as the 'Keating Five'. Remember Charles Keating and Lincoln Savings in the 1980's? Keating was the man who somehow influenced a few powerful Senators on the Banking Committee to make regulatory agencies back down. This allowed him to leverage his capital with dubious means. Sound familiar? Yes, John McCain was a member of the 'Keating Five', the group of Senators who set the Savings & Loan debacle in motion that led to the downfall of an entire industry. And yes, the American taxpayers ended up footing the bill. Now, to be fair to McCain, he was a minor player who received only a reprimand for his actions. But did he learn anything? When the investment banking industry cried for deregulation in 2000, where was McCain to say "hold on, wait a minute. . . let me tell you the S&L story. . ." As it turns out, his economic advisor, former Senator Phil Gramm (who is now a Vice President of UBS, an investment bank) co-authored the very bill, the Gramm-Leach-Bailey Act of 1999 that led to the deregulation of the investment banking business. At the time, Gramm's wife sat on the board of directors of a corporation known as Enron. In one fell swoop, this legislation destroyed the protections instituted in response to the Depression of the 1930's. And look where the country is now. McCain fired Gramm in July of this year in an attempt to cover up his ties to these deregulation nightmares, but you would have to be very naïve if you do not see McCain's role in the mortgage meltdown that has produced dire consequences in the economy today.
In terms of 'experience', both as a war veteran and United States Senator, John McCain has learned absolutely nothing about protecting the interests of Americans.
So you can see that this election is not about what Obama has not done. It is all about what McCain has done to ruin this great country and will continue to do so if he is elected President. And that is a very scary proposition indeed.
Barack Obama is not the perfect candidate, but he is clearly the lesser of two evils.