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This Campaign's a B-Movie with a B List of Characters
Friday, 01 February 2008 00:32
by Dave Lindorff
With the presidential race now effectively pared down to four candidates, thanks to the departure of John Edwards and the departure of Rudy Giuliani, we’re left with a really “B-grade” contest: a bomber (John McCain), a bummer (Hillary Clinton), a betrayer (Mitt Romney) and Obama (that’s Barack with a B).

McCain, the bomber, wants to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” ensuring not just mayhem in Persia, but chaos, bloodshed and disaster across the Middle East and surely retaliation here at home for a generation to come. Here’s a guy who made his name by getting himself shot down while committing war crimes against the people of a backward nation in Southeast Asia, who glommed onto Sen. Russ Feingold’s clean government initiative after carting off wheelbarrows of cash from Charles Keating in the savings and loan scandal (McCain was one of the infamous Keating Five), and who claimed to be a renegade Republican and “straight talker” until he decided in 2004 to cling tightly to President Bush and become the mad Texan’s biggest apologist during his second benighted term. And, after months of pandering to the Christian right and the neocon loonies, he now wants us to believe he’s a maverick and “middle-of-the-roader.”

Hillary Clinton, the bummer, wants to bring her “experience”—that’s the eight years of her so-called “co-presidency” with hubby Bill—to the White House again. That “experience,” for the benefit of those suffering short-term memory loss, includes kicking off the first term by caving in to inappropriate criticism from the generals and backing down on a promise to end the ban on gays in the military, undermining habeas corpus with the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, gutting welfare benefits for the nation’s hard-pressed poor, locking up millions of black and Hispanic Americans on non-violent drug charges, allowing the clearcutting of original growth forests on national lands, giving away mineral rights to mining companies, establishing the precedent for unilaterally attacking other nations (Sudan and Afghanistan), expanding the military budget in peacetime, failing to defend abortion rights, appointing hacks to federal court posts, failing to stand by good appointments to those courts in the face of right-wing attacks, and of course, in Hillary’s own case specifically, throwing away for a generation a unique chance to establish a nationalized health care system in America. The very idea of re-“experiencing” any of that eight-year national disaster is my definition of a bummer. Meanwhile, her "experience" as a Senator has included voting for the illegal and unwarranted invasion of Iraq, the criminal "PATRIOT" Act, the funding of the illegal war in Iraq, and even the dangerous defining of Iran's Revolutionary Guard army as a terrorist organization (an open invitation for Bush to bomb them). It also included her right-pandering vote for a bill outlawing flag-burning, and her vote in favor of tightening up the bankruptchy laws.

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Mitt Romney, the betrayer, spent his years in Massachusetts at least pretending to be a New England liberal. He introduced a kind of state-based health insurance plan that at least had the potential of making health insurance available to every person in the state, but has since been running away from it in practice, for fear of sounding too liberal. As governor he supported a woman’s right to control her own body, and to seek and obtain an abortion if she wanted one, but when it came time to run for president, he claimed to have undergone a miraculous conversion to the view of the hard right: that a woman is nothing but a vessel for growing and delivering babies. Claiming to care about the workingman, Romney, as a venture capitalist, actually betrayed workers, eliminating their jobs in the interest of his own and his partners’ personal profits.

And then there is Barack Obama, a man who is trying to gain the presidency on sheer sophistry. “Change” is his mantra, but change to what? He doesn’t really say. His whole campaign is a feel-good exercise in ducking the issues. The United States has been pillaged relentlessly since at least the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon paved the way, with his recognition of China, for the wholesale offshoring of American industry to Asia. Administrations since then, Democratic and Republican, have been competing with each other to hasten the hollowing out of the American economy. Will Obama “change” this? No. He has no plan to undo the North American Free Trade Act, or to demand changes in the World Trade Organization rules. American labor unions are dying. Does Obama plan to “change” that by undoing decades of one-sided laws and regulations making it easy for employers to crush unions? No. He hasn’t said a word about defending, much less expanding the rights of workers. Health care is in crisis. Does Obama have a solution? No. He is wedded to the same approach as Hillary Clinton, which leaves the blood-sucking insurance industry in charge of financing (and denying) care. The US is being bled to death by military expenditures, which in total account for more than half of the US budget when honestly accounted for in full. Does Obama plan to slash that spending, which is greater than all the military budgets of the rest of the world’s nations combined? No. He has not said a word about cutting military spending (nor is he committed to ending the Iraq occupation). The Constitution has been undermined, particularly over the last six years, to the point that it is unrecognizable, with the presidency now more appropriately called an elected dictatorship, and Congress now little more than a talk shop. Does Obama plan to “change” that by voluntarily restoring the presidency to what it is supposed to be: just one co-equal branch of a tripartite government? He hasn’t said a word about restoring checks and balances. Obama’s “change” rhetoric is as empty as was Ronald Reagan’s talk about America’s being a “shining city on a hill.”

In the choice between a bomber, a bummer, a betrayer and Obama, it hardly matters who comes out on top. My guess is whoever wins, we get more military spending, more war, fewer jobs and fewer rights.

Rep. Ron Paul, for all his flaws (and they are many, including a racist attitude on immigration, a sexist attitude on abortion, and a doctinaire view of primacy of the rights of property), is looking better and better. At least he would end the Iraq War, cut the military budget significantly, and restore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Let’s hope he quits this B-rated presidential campaign and runs as an independent or Libertarian.
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Comments (6)add comment

letma peoplego said:

His attitudes are pure even if you disagree with their conclusions
His attitude on immigration is not racist. The call to revisit birthright citizenship is a practical answer designed to avoid the racism in this current backlash. He laments the immigration backlash saying that we are scapegoating immigrants. (doesn't sound racist to me)

Paul's view on abortion is informed by the fact that he delivers babies for a living. I disagree with his view but I would give him more room to have it given his experience and profession. He stared at the issue every day of his career. I don't think his opinion is born out of racism.

I applaud the rest of your observations. He would be a great 3rd party candidate. But 3rd parties are barely legal in this country and legally prohibited from fair competition. Paul has pointed this out every time someone as made this suggestion to him.
January 31, 2008
Votes: +0

letma peoplego said:

"born out of sexism"
January 31, 2008
Votes: +0

Rebecca said:

Actually, if you want to know Obama's policies, you need only visit his website. Change to what? Well, to a Congress who can finally get good legislation passed after almost 16 years of being gridlocked into party lines because of divisive Presidents. Politics has never been lily white and the parties will always have very real fundamental differences. But when Obama graduated from law school, he took an unbelievably low paying job as a community organizer instead of a quite decent pay as a beginner in a corporate law firm - in spite of the fact that he had huge student loans to pay off. He excelled in that job because he has an enormous aptitude for bringing people together from different sides of an issue to find whatever common ground exists that could work to the benefit of everyone. This is exactly what our country needs most urgently right now, both in Congress and in foreign affairs. An added bonus is his ability to inspire people to do more than they ever have before. To fix all of our country's many problems we need all the help we can get. And anyone who can get me - a white, 54 year old female - to donate to a political campaign and volunteer many hours of my time, as well, neither of which I had ever done before in my life, that is someone very special. We need someone special as President right now. The same old way of doing things has gotten us into a really big mess.
January 31, 2008
Votes: +0

David said:

I Like Mike
Hey, lol i'm assuming you have no beef with Mike since he aint in your profile? smilies/tongue.gif Another thing Ron Paul isn't racist on immigration, or sexist on abortion(all republican canidates are pro-life),Ronald Reagan once said that US needs Ron Paul to keep fighting for there national defence, and also Mitt Romney isnt a traitor i've looked at his record at Govenor it was pretty conservative...
January 31, 2008
Votes: +0

Carbon Tax said:

Ron Paul / Obama

Ron Paul wants government out of everything. We should leave privatize security with Blackwell, environmental policy with British Petroleum/Exxon, social security with Citibank, right? He does seem to be the only candidate who knows about the pitfalls of fiat US dollars circa 1971 vs. the stability of the gold standard.

Obama has certainly pledged to end the war in Iraq (within 16 mos.).
Now that Edwards has left the race, Obama is the clear choice for me and my wife.
February 01, 2008
Votes: +0

Charles said:

Dearth of Choice
I won't comment on Ron Paul, enough people are doing that. I will say that I hope he runs as an Independent in November, just to siphon off votes from McCain. As for the 2 major parties, none of the possible candidates is a rational choice for President. Obama, Rebecca, wants bipartisanship - well we have bipartisanship now in Congress. It basically means caving in to the Republicans. Obama is not going to magically make the Republicans compromisers nor will they meet him halfway because he's a nice guy.

I live in New York, so there is no contest here - the Democrat wins, regardless. I refuse to vote for someone who is not committed to an end to empire and a drastic reduction in military spending, a return to Constitutional checks and balances, universal single-payer health care, restoration and expansion of the rights of workers and unions, and strong regulation of corporations and financial institutions. That may mean voting for some Green or Socialist candidate, but at least I won't waste my vote on someone who is committed to the status quo.

February 02, 2008
Votes: +0

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