Saturday, March 08, 2008

2008 Election Priorities: Obama, Clinton and McCain

Reality check. This is what we're facing in the 2008 election:

Bush wants a successor and John McCain is willing to oblige. Look at the picture and note how tired John McCain looks. After seven years of failure, this is the best the Republican party can offer the American people? This is the guy who's mind is going to be clear at 3 in the morning when the phone rings? Hillary Clinton has got to be kidding.

McCain, despite his many lapses in the last four years since he gave up being America's favorite maverick—a reputation that has more to do with the media than reality by the way—has been treated generously and very kindly by the media. He served his country well and there will be no swift-boating from Democrats of this man. But he has weaknesses and Hillary Clinton should not hand him phony ammunition for the fall campaign.

Hillary Clinton has been running on an irritating premise that I wish she would drop. She says she has experience and that she will be ready on day one, particularly when it comes to national security. During Bill Clinton's presidency, she dealt with some foreign policy issues (mostly friendship building) but never handled serious national security matters. She had no national security clearances. If she's implying that she will have Bill Clinton looking over her shoulder, fine. If that's what the American people want. But I wish she would be clear about it. Now Barack Obama has a pretty good sense of humor. Perhaps he should suggest that if he's elected, Bill Clinton could stay in the White House—say for two weeks—in the Lincoln bedroom—since Bill is willing to do considerably more than that for Hillary.

But Bill Clinton had no national security experience when he was elected president and he did fine. He had good people and many former officials to consult. Just as Barack Obama will if he is elected. Obama has already shown that he has an ability to pick a good team. Despite Hillary's fame, the advantage of the Bill Clinton machine and millions of dollars from big donors, Hillary's campaign has made mistakes and she has had trouble finding her stride, possibly because she made decisions that might have been fine in the last election but not this one. In contrast, Barack Obama has shown that he understands the times and that he knows a thing or two about running a big operation. He still leads in delegate count.

I would gladly vote for Hillary Clinton but she has to think about the party and what it takes to win the election. She should not win the nomination using fear tactics. She should not win a nomination by going negative on a fellow Democrat or playing games with the system. Hillary can quickly change the tenor of the nomination by releasing her tax returns. She needs to affirm her integrity and credibility. Americans have had seven years of incompetence, fraud, lies and nonsense. We do not need more of it. If Hillary can win the nomination by taking the high road, I'm all for it. But if she can only win by playing dirty politics and throwing roses to McCain, then it's time for her to fold her tent. Americans deserve change.

McCain does not represent that change. He appears to have won the nomination by default after several candidates imploded. Esssentially McCain won because he was every Republican's second or third choice. No doubt Republicans will rally around him but it is an odd nomination.

McCain has a number of problems. We're seeing more and more of his bad temper. I have also heard him make comments about Vietnam that suggest he's still fighting that war—he has not put it behind him. His voting record is as conservative as any Republican of the last two generations and he has no solutions for the colossal failures, incompetence and corruption of the last seven years. He knows how to schmooze with reporters but that ability is based largely on telling reporters what they want to hear and adjusting his comments according to the shifting winds. His votes often do not reflect what he says. He contradicts himself a great deal but he leaves no doubt that he is a friend of corporate lobbyists looking for a free handout. There is more. I hold McCain responsible, as an example, for his comment that we might be in Iraq another hundred years. Americans need to reject Republican-style neocolonialism.

Americans need to be realistic about what is happening to our country. A lot of ideologues and wealthy people have been sacrificing pieces of our country's future to make a few extra bucks. And people have died because of other people's greed and political indifference. We need reform and we need change.

Democratic leaders need to keep a sharp eye on our nation's priorities as the Democratic nomination continues. I'm concerned that John Edwards' progressive talking points are quickly being forgotten and his best points need to be remembered. This is above everything else an election about change. If Clinton and Obama play clean, let the chips fall where they may. But if either candidate starts going too dirty or forgets what the election is about, the party's superdelegates and elders need to say enough is enough and close ranks to maintain the viability of the Democratic party.

Let there be no doubt that Bush and his corrupt friends will be doing everything they can to help John McCain win in the fall elections. Without a democratic president, there will be no change come next year. The failures of the last seven years will continue. Once again, this is the future we're in danger of facing:

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"If Hillary can win the nomination by taking the high road, I'm all for it. But if she can only win by playing dirty politics and throwing roses to McCain . . ."

That's where I was up until about last Thursday. Then, Hillary Clinton went too selfishly far. Whether that was her doing or another dim-witted stratagem from her campaign team, I don't know. I do know it was where I had to get off the fence and start backing Obama for the nomination.

Yes, on the outside chance Clinton wins the nomination I will vote for her. Better her than McCain. But as of now, I'd cast my vote with a sigh, not a cheer. I've already seen all the anything-to-win politics I ever want to see from Bush and his cronies. I really don't want another round of it from Mrs. "It's me or else let McCain win, so I don't have to wait around until 2012 to run again."

12:28 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

S.W., believe me, I appreciate your comments. Through a fluke I had lunch today with a person in our group who's a longtime member of the local Democratic organization. He's in touch with other people in N. California. People are not happy. If Hillary takes the high road, and by some chance pulls out a win, people will support her but she's still going to have to mend some fences.

If I can carve out some time, I plan to write some letters this week. My guess is that letters are pouring in by the thousands. Those letters are going to have to keep coming all the way to the convention.

5:42 PM  

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