1. I’m tired of too many pundits and too many of the voters interviewed after debates saying the candidates are not being specific or explaining their policies or answering the questions directly and specifically.
Not always, not necessarily consistently, but in general, they are. They did last night. Obama more than McCain, but that’s partly because McCain’s proposals are less detailed in general, and he’s changed his positions on major issues a few times since the campaign began.
But anyone who has paid attention to the campaigns, or even just to the debates, or even just the debate last night should have come away with several specific differences in the candidates’ proposals for how they will handle tax policy, health care, the issue of abortion, and Supreme Court nominations, as well as energy policy, jobs creation, and the federal budget. Among other issues.
And in previous debates their foreign policy proposals, especially concerning the two wars the USA is fighting, but other foreign policy issues as well, were made clear and are distinctly different (they were briefly referred to last night as well).
This is a stark choice between two very different approaches to governing and to the policies the executive branch has any power over, even if just the power of persuasion.
2. Which leads me to the obvious superiority of Obama’s policy proposals, unless you are a major corporation or big business and are more interested in tax cuts than in sustaining your business’s viability and profitability.
Under a McCain presidency, it is clear there will be some minor changes from Junior’s administration, but not many. Under an Obama presidency, there will be major changes. So it is perfectly fair to portray McCain/Palin as representing more of the same (especially in the case of Palin whose handlers are all from the Bush/Cheney circle of advisors).
Obama has won every debate because his ideas are better for the country and the average citizen, and he has stated them more clearly and specifically. And because he has displayed the temperament, the intellect and the resolve we need in a president, now more than ever, while McCain has appeared temperamental, often intellectually at a loss, and more sarcastic than resolved.
3. Which leads me to renewed fears.
Liberals, by definition, are humanists. They believe in equal rights, solving problems with reason and compromise, intellectual curiosity and openness, etc.
Moderates, by definition, believe in a balance, a middle way, a repudiation of ideology in favor of practicality and, obviously, moderation.
Independents can have varied beliefs, but again, they do not succumb to the ideology of either major party, though they may adhere to another ideology (libertarianism e.g.), and have never had the power of controlling any branch of our government so have no history of schemes and tactics to maintain power.
True conservatives, of which there are few these days, believe in fiscal responsibility, smaller government, personal responsibility, and generally in ideals that have been better represented by Democrats in the past several decades than Republicans (e.g. the most fiscally responsible administration in most of our lifetimes was Clinton’s, the least fiscally responsible were Reagan’s and the present one).
Rightwing Republicans, so-called neo-conservatives, the ones who have been dominant in the Republican Party since Reagan, and on the rise since Nixon, and entrenched in the past eight years in all branches of government (it continues to be one of their big lies that the Congress is controlled by Democrats for the past two years, when they know that because of the almost even split in the Senate, the Democrats cannot override Republicans in Congress to get bills passed the Bush administration objects to, etc.) have demonstrated clearly they are only interested in power.
If it was the ideology they profess to believe in, then why didn’t they move to overturn Roe v. Wade in the first six years of this administration when they controlled the Supreme Court (witness the stealing of the 2000 election), the White House and the Congress. Especially after Roberts became the Chief Justice, a man who is anti-abortion.
They didn’t even attempt it, because they are not interested in that, they are interested only in getting and keeping power. Which is where the fear comes in for me.
When LBJ was faced with the possible loss of power, he chose not to run again. When JFK was faced with the rightwing faction of the federal government wanting to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro as well as escalate the war in Viet Nam, he was assassinated (no, I’m not defending conspiracy theories, I’m just stating the circumstances).
When Carter told the country the truth about our dependence on foreign oil and the measures needed to detach from that dependence, and for the first time brokered peace between Israel and one of its Arab state neighbors, and healed the rifts in this country caused by the Viet Nam war and by a corrupt administration (Nixon’s) bent on gaining and maintaining power by any means necessary (i.e. their “dirty tricks” team, Watergate, et. al.), the rightwing elements in the CIA in conjunction with the ones Carter had purged (the so-called “shadow” CIA and other rogue elements of the various intelligence agencies) sabotaged Carter’s policy initiatives through various secret and often illegal methods, while the rightwing propaganda machine ridiculed Carter’s seeming powerlessness in the face of these rogue elements (leading to the hostage crisis becoming a negative—despite the fact that the Carter administration managed to keep them alive etc.—and only being resolved when Reagan was inaugurated because of the eventually exposed secret deal these rogue elements made, Iran-Contra, etc.)
What I am saying is, just because it looks like Obama may indeed be elected president, rightwing Republicans will not just accept that reality. As we have seen in every election since 2000, despite the scientifically proven accuracy of exit polls as conducted up to that time, in cases, and only in cases where Republicans have lost in key districts, have those exit polls proved inaccurate because voting machines have failed or been suddenly faulty or polling places have delayed opening or not had enough machines etc. etc.
And when the rightwing “dirty tricks” fail to accomplish their goal of getting and keeping power, they will stoop to any means necessary, (e.g. attempted impeachment even after the most expensive government investigation in history turned up no crime on Clinton’s part, other than keeping an affair secret, the original investigation about Whitewater cleared the Clintons of any involvement in any crime involving that minor investment).
There will be many voting irregularities. The rightwing push against ACORN already shows their strategy, questioning the registration of voters only in those districts that seem liable to swing from Republican to Democratic.
The reality is that many more cases of voters being disenfranchised at the polls have been recorded in the past several elections than cases of “voter fraud” i.e. voters not being who they say they are. The disenfranchisement has always been, historically and more recently, cases of probable Democratic constituents being turned away and kept from voting or their votes not being counted, ala Florida 2000, Ohio 2004. Cases bought against “fraudulent” votes cast over the past decades add up to so few you can count them on two hands, while cases of disenfranchisement, the rightwing preference for keeping Democratic votes from being cast or counted, have numbered in the hundreds.
If Obama wins and the vote count is so overwhelming they cannot turn the election results around through voting irregularities or a close decision being decided by the Supreme Court again, etc. I do not put it past them to try some other means of maintaining power.
While the most thoughtful Republicans lately have been saying they intend to vote for Obama, or at least accept that an Obama victory might be for the best and they’ll regroup and come back in four years or in the mid term Congressional elections, the more strident rightwing Republicans have been making it clear an Obama victory will be a victory for terrorism, socialism, communism and gangsterism, all legitimate targets, in their minds, for vigilantism.
Let’s hope they’re too busy dealing with their own financial problems to actually do anything extreme. But I do not put it past them.