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There is never a perfect candidate for President. No one candidate has all the correct answers. Once in office, he or she will invariably make mistakes. That is inevitable human nature. However, this year, there is a clear difference and choice between candidates for a number of compelling reasons, and I have made mine.
After 8 years of unrestricted free trade, economic policies brazenly favoring the wealthy and big business (including disastrous deregulation and much corporate welfare through numerous unquestioned, non-bid military contracts); a political and domestic policy based on fear, blatant partisanship, the curtailment of rights granted under our Constitution, and overreaching expansion of the powers of the Executive Branch; a foreign policy predicated on pre-emptive military strikes and non-communication with hostile powers, plus a very expensive, unnecessary, and unpopular war in Iraq, more than 80% of us correctly feel our country has been on the wrong track. We crave and are in desperate need of real change, not just the cosmetic type some would offer.
Unrestricted free trade has caused entire plants and millions of good paying American jobs to leave this country for China, India, Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries. It has led to wages in this country becoming stagnant or even declining. Productivity here has risen steadily in the past 8 years, but wages have not kept pace. The costs of energy, health care, pharmaceuticals, food, and education have skyrocketed, with no relief in sight. Huge tax breaks given to the wealthy and to large corporations have not resulted in the creation of millions of high paying new jobs here, as President Bush and his neoconservative Republican allies promised early in his first term. Instead, corporate excesses and greed have become rampant. Our overall standard of living has fallen, not risen. We are NOT better off today than we were 8 years ago! The "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive military strikes (that we have the right to attack other countries without provocation if we consider them to be a threat) has isolated us from the rest of the world and damaged our relations with them. As applied in Iraq, it has all but destroyed any moderate Arab or Muslim support we may have once had in the Middle East. It is shameful behavior more analogous to Napoleon, Hitler, or Stalin than to that of Washington, Jefferson, or Wilson. It has proven to be economically unsustainable. Worse yet, it may encourage similar future action from countries like Russia or China.
John McCain is a passionate man who tremendously loves this country. He is a true-life hero, having suffered greatly but having stood firm during years of torture and captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict. He is a staunch supporter of the right to life for the innocent unborn. Yet he is also very militaristic and an avowed advocate of the Bush doctrine. He is viewed as bellicose and pushy by those outside our border. On QUALITY OF LIFE issues, he usually sides with the wealthy and big business, whose policies and practices the past 8 years have diminished the quality of life for the majority of us, who are in the categories of middle class or poor. He advocates more huge tax cuts for the rich and large corporations. His tax plan gives only very, very minimal tax cuts for those earning less than $111,646 per year (which is where the overwhelming majority of us in the country are). FOR A DETAILED TABLE OF BOTH CANDIDATES' TAX PLANS, jot down and go to this website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/09/ST2008060900950.html.
McCain himself has often looked tired, crotchety, and confused during the course of his campaign, He has mixed up important details like the history of and differences between Iraq's Sunni and Shia populations. He has shown an impulsive erraticness in his approach toward dealing with the recent mortgage banking collapse, first "suspending" his campaign to fly to Washington for a meaningless conference with Bush, and then resuming it. His campaign has not been managed well. Early on, it was virtually broke and today its fundraising is still dwarfed by his opponent's. His campaign has been mainly a series of negative attacks and misstatements about his opponent. He has done liitle to sell himself or his policies other than manufacture numerous silly distractions, like "lipstick on a pig" and "Joe the (fake) Plumber.". McCain's choice of a running mate showed very poor judgment on his part. It has been roundly criticized even by members of his own party. Sarah Palin is nowhere near educated enough for the job of Vice President. She is far too partisan, impulsive, provincial, divisive and undignified for the job, and doesn't even understand its constitutional role. She is naive and recklessly ambitious. She lacks vitally important foreign policy background. McCain is 72 years old and has already gone through four bouts of cancer (the highly malignant and often recurrent melanoma variety). Should he die in office, the woefully-unprepared Palin would become President. The thought of Sarah Palin running our economy, our military, conducting negotiations with seasoned adversaries like Putin, Ahmedinijad, Chavez or Kim Jong Il, and having her fingers on our nuclear trigger, is absolutely terrifying. For advice and guidance, she would be relying on the same neocon economic, domestic, and foreign policy staff who have driven our country into the ditch over the past 8 years. McCain professes to be a reformer offering change but his campaign is run by ex-Bush aides and 7 key advisers who are, or have been, powerful lobbyists. With that in mind, it is doubtful he would enact the real change this country so badly needs. For this and for all the other reasons I have already listed above, I CANNOT support John McCain's candidacy for the presidency.
Barack Obama is a man of unproven quantity. He has a limited track record in national politics. His mother was white and raised in America, but his father, who left he and his mother when Obama was only 2, was a black non-practicing Muslim from Kenya. Obama was born in Hawaii (www.factcheck.org/, run by the conservative Republican Annenberg Foundation, has seen and verified the birth certificate as authentic), and was named after his father, including his middle name of Hussein. During his early youth, he briefly attended both Muslim and Catholic schools in Indonesia. He was partly raised in Kansas by his white grandparents, and was raised as a Christian. His name and unique background, plus his limited national track record, have caused some cynical and ignorant conservatives angst. They wrongly believe he is a Muslim and would compromise our national values or sell us out. These fearful, suspicion-laden types ignore the fact that he has done almost everything RIGHT in his life and his story embodies the American dream. He should be applauded rather than condemned for his life style and choices. He went through college, attended Harvard Law School, and was even President of the Harvard Law Review. Instead of grabbing an easily-obtainable cushy corporate law job after college, he decided instead to unselfishly help poor and minority victims of plant closings on Chicago's south side by becoming a community organizer. This was for very low pay, but it helped these people find other work and showed them ways to take part in and get the system to work for them. In the mid '90s, he ran for Illinois state office, was elected, and in 2004 was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he has continued his fight for "the little guy," a fight he is now attempting to wage from the White House. He married and fathered two young girls and became a member of a Christian church in Chicago. His then-pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is well known in religious circles for a long and distinguished career in Christian charity. But this minister made some remarks critical of the United States, its role in the world, and its inaction on poverty which were controversial and at times over the top. This unfortunately cast a shadow on Obama himself, particularly among cynical right-wingers, who were looking for something negative to throw at him anyway, and has made them question his patriotism. But no one can question Obama's devotion to help those without a real voice. Like JFK in the 1960s, Obama has reached out to the young and disenfranchised and has inspired a huge wave of them to become involved in our political process. He is tremendously reasoned, articulate, and an inspirational and charismatic speaker. His economic policies aim to provide opportunity from the bottom up and stand in stark contrast to the neocon Republican preference for aiding the wealthy while basically ignoring everyone else. With roughly 1 in 7 of us uninsured or underinsured and health costs steadily rising, he has developed a national health insurance plan to get EVERYBODY insured. He has demonstrated broad vision amd tremendous understanding of economic, military, and world affairs strategy. He prefers to build consensus and be inclusive rather than resorting to divisiveness and exclusion. His economic plan provides much-needed tax relief for the middle class and poor, the backbone of our economy, and his health care plan aims at universality and cost control, much like the rest of the industrialized world has enjoyed for many years. He was absolutely correct in his initial opposition to the Iraq war, and for all the right reasons. He draws advice from a wide array of superb, proven sources like Warren Buffett, Robert Reich, Joe Biden, Robert Rubin, and many others. Republican military and foreign affairs expert COLIN POWELL HAS EVEN ENDORSED HIM, as have Republicans like Susan Eisenhower, Scott McClellan, and a number of others. All cite his intellect and steady, composed manner of studying and dealing with problems as an important reason for their support. Were OBAMA to die in office, he would, unlike McCain, leave the country in very good hands. Experienced and competent Joe Biden would become President, and the cabinet would be filled with able and proven producers not of the disastrous neocon realm.
Obama has expressed the strong desire to revamp our federal government, cut out inefficient programs, and greatly reduce the power and influence of special interests lobbyists. He has pledged to return the Judicial branch to its pre-Bush nonpartisan status. Obama is pro-choice, which concerns me because I view abortion on demand as a form of murder for convenience. But I am encouraged greatly by the fact that he is pledged to provide much better sex education and will push strongly for other alternatives to abortion. He is devoted to important quality of life issues like higher wages, better educational opportunities, and health care for all, not just the privileged few. I find that, for all of these reasons, Barack Obama is the better choice for President, and so I hereby endorse BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT. But there is one more very important reason I do this.
The United States, more often than any other country in the world, is looked up to for its opportunity and moral leadership. How, I ask, can we rightfully and convincingly claim to be bastion of morality and opportunity if we deny a candidate the office of President solely because of his or her ancestry, race, gender, or creed? We demonstrated religious tolerance by electing a Catolic, JFK, President in 1960. After a past history of slavery, bigotry, and civil rights strife, we can now demonstrate racial tolerance by electing our first black President. I CHOOSE BARACK OBAMA NOT JUST BECAUSE HE IS BLACK, BUT BECAUSE HE IS A VERY COMPETENT, INTELLIGENT, FAIR-MINDED AND ENERGETIC PERSON WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE BLACK.
Electing a qualified black man President will send a powerful signal across the entire globe: The United States is TRULY an open and desirable country, where freedom, opportunity, and equality really DO exist for ALL! Though Christian and American, Obama is viewed with curiosity and interest by many moderates throughout the Muslim world. What better way to demonstrate to the Muslim peoples that America is NOT the "great Satan" which many of their extremists portray us as, than to elect Obama President? As evidenced in my blog from last week, Europeans and others view Obama as a unique type of "world citizen" which appeals to them. But last, and definitely not least, electing Obama will prove a powerful blessing to our own black citizens. It will prove they are NOT automatically shut out of our system. It will raise the bar for them and inspire them to take part in and contribute to America as never before. It will show they really BELONG are truly VALUED for their intelligence and vision, not merely for their athletic ability or entertainment purposes.
This is why I say "ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT ON NOVEMBER 4!" Thank you.
Sunday Morning Bobblehead Thread
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