Friday, September 12, 2008

McCain Bounces

McCain Bounces

What to make of the McCain bounce in the polls? Not much, it’s way too early to fret. Thoroughly frightening prospect, though, nonetheless.

I love the way the Repug’s convention was centered on bringing “change” to Washington, as if they hadn’t been in power (or aided in their destructions by their fawning consorts in the so-called opposition party) for most of recent history. When 80 percent of the American people think the country is going in the wrong direction and a mere 25% approve of the president’s job they have to do their best to flee reality.

And Sarah Palin, beauty-queen mayor of a town under 10,000 less than two years ago, supposedly ready to take the reins of power from a geezer with a sketchy medical history, doesn’t know much about Iraq because she’s been busy with Alaskan issues. Maybe she’s a fast learner, or maybe the Rovian wrecking crew, thinks it can sufficiently manipulate her if the geezer pops a fuse.

Ah but the media love her. Though she’s railed against sex education, because abstinence-only is the sole legitimate moral position a rightwingnut conservative Christian political leader can take, she’s now hailed as courageous for standing by her knocked-up teenage daughter - who obviously didn’t get the message. She’s suddenly become a liberal, at least this time, at least in the context of her own family. Very similar to “family-values” Repugs caught soliciting sex in public bathrooms, life has intruded into her regressive bygone-era ideology.

Meanwhile, Obama says family is off-bounds. If he loses it’s because he’s too good. This is more than family, this is public policy that leaves many less fortunate teenagers in dire straits. The Repugs gleefully berate minority teen mothers as promiscuous and deserve to be called up on their duplicity and hypocrisy.

Meanwhile Obama has humanized himself by taking some truly awful stands, especially his capitulation on the FISA – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – spying bill. The court was set up twenty or so years ago in response to illegal warrantless spying on international communications by federal agencies. Out of more than 19,000 applications for spying received by the court during its tenure, only a handful were refused. The government was even allowed to do the surveillance for 72 hours before it was required to get approval.

This wasn’t good enough for Bush so he got congress to give the government unlimited powers to spy on international communications. Obama obviously thought he needed to fold his principles – he had previously opposed the changes – for political reasons. I believe he lost more fervor from his strongest potential supporters than he might have gained from a few undecideds.

I caught most of the Dem convention while back in the states. A lot of populism was on display and a lot of talking about real people, elements that were sorely lacking in the Gore and Kerry campaigns until too late. Both losers, and they were truly lousy candidates whatever you think about them as individuals, started their runs thinking the bushman was so bad they couldn’t lose for trying.

Nonetheless, it’s important noting that, in spite of their monstrous failings and the general worthlessness of the Democratic party, they both, in fact, did win their elections only to have them stolen. While fraud has been reduced in some states, the bottom line is that Obama has to win by a large margin or the thievery of the last two presidential elections will be repeated.

Obama has been amazingly deferential toward Hillary, even bordering on obsequious, in spite of her nasty, futile campaign and childish whining about how the world was so unfair towards her. She could’ve won the nomination with better organization and a smarter strategy, but she was outmaneuvered fair and square, by, in my estimation, a much better candidate.

Meanwhile the BarryO, who sometimes seems almost a transcendent being, heaped so much praise on Hillary it almost made me gag, but effectively mollified her and Bill and got them on the proper political track: Was she going to take her marbles and sit out the election or help elect the geezer? Impossible.

While Obama’s mantle of above-it-allness has been strained by some of his recent positions and the reality that he is a Democrat, and thus beholden in many of the same ways to the same corporate controllers as the Repugs, he remains far superior to any candidate for president in a long time. In office I believe he’ll listen and learn and more often than not steer the correct course.

Unfortunately, he’ll not be able to accomplish the bulk of his promises, partly because the Republicans have left the country in such a sorry state of debt and debility and partly because his pledge to lower taxes on everyone earning less than $250,000 per year, now supposedly middle class, cannot possibly leave sufficient resources to right the country’s course. Raising taxes on the wealthy is a proper beginning but it can never be enough to reduce the deficit and pay for the infrastructure and development changes that must be done to meet the challenges of the near future. That’s going to have to come from everyone but the poorest.

Almost every speaker at the Dem convention spoke of conversion to sustainability, a far cry from the past when the subject rarely surfaced - even from Al Gore during his run. Obama is proposing a ten year $150 billion program for alternate energy programs. While far greater than anything that’s been done in the past, it’s only about 10% of what will actually be needed to save the US from economic disaster and the world from the worst of climate change.

It’s a good start, but honestly, starts are not enough; yet proposing an adequate program would be unthinkable politically and financially. Will he respond sufficiently at points of crisis when hard-boiled reality on the ground meets his politically plausible but woefully inadequate previous stands? That’s our only reasonable hope.

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