Will anything change?

August 21, 2007

In the 2008 election a new president will be elected.

President Bush, hopefully the worst leader any of us will experience will leave office, most likely with his head held high, still proud that he stayed the course.

If we elect Democrats — hell, lets dream and say we have a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress — my question is: will anything change?

Because if I remember right things were supposed to have already changed when we “took back Congress” in 2006. We voted, just like they asked us to. We told our friends to vote, just like they asked us to.

Remember this? They said we needed a change in strategy. All we had to do was vote for them.

Then, they sent the President a funding bill without benchmarks. Okay, yes, he vetoed the first one. Did they not see that coming? When they told us they were going to take him on, and fight against this war, did they mean to add “unless he says no?”

The Democrat I elected, for instance, Claire McCaskill was one of 16 Democrats who joined with all the Republicans to expand the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and continue to continue to destroy our civil liberties and give an untrustworthy administration even more power.

So, I ask you: what is the point of having a majority in Congress if we are not going to use it.

… and expanding on that: what is the point of this party winning elections if they’re just Republican Lite, and will create no real change, even if that is what they campaign upon?

The Democrats can vilify George Bush as the root cause of all of this if they want to. His administration has done many evil, evil things, but let it be known: the Democrats have let him.

Kucinich really owned the debate, all things considrered. Clearly he’s in a position where he can say things like he’ll immediately repeal NAFTA and not have to later do that. He’s not looking for moderate appeal, he’s not doing much except for camping out on the left-wing, but his responses played well to the audience, and even at some points, to me. Clearly it’s sad that he’s a lost cause, but he is. He had the funniest line of the night though with the “I’m the Seabiscuit of this race.”

Obama stood his ground on Pakistan, which is interesting. He played it off well, who knows how long he rehearsed the answer to the inevitable question, but in a nation sick of being at war — threats towards our allies are not going to be well-received, except for perhaps Bush-weary moderate Republicans. He came off strong-willed and not wishy-washy, but it will probably still hurt his chance at then nomination.

Hillary ignores the lobbyist thing again, to her discredit. I know she can’t have a satisfying answer, given that she does take money from them and everything, but — talk about avoiding the question. She did well with audience reponse.

Edwards should have owned this audience, and could have owned this audience. He was right where he should have been on the issues, but he lacked the articulation the other candidates seemed to have in this particular debate. His comment about not being big businesses candidate and not being on Fortune magazine (Like Hillary Clinton), would have been perfect had she not been so poised in responding.

Rudy Giuliani has on his website a section called “12 Commitments to the American People.” He’s the leading Republican candidate, so on the chance that American votes for yet another Republican president, I thought I should look into what the next four to eight years could end up looking like.

I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on us.

First of all, kudos to his staff to the phrasing this as though we’re not the ones enacting that war. As Bush’s press secretary would remind you, we haven’t been attacked since September 11th, and, as i’d point out, Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist threat. Therefore, KEEPING America on offense in the Terorrist’s War on us isn’t even really a fitting promise, since that would mean that our military action was about the terrorist threat, rather than revenge, oil, liberation…. take your pick.

Secondly, on offense. Didn’t someone once say that the best offense was a good defense? Keeping us on offense just makes me think that this means we’re going to end up bombing more countries and being responsible for more civillian deaths in countries that haven’t attacked us.

I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.

That’s a pretty large promise. END illegal immigration. Really? Not one Mexican citizen will crawl over the border in hopes of finding a manipulative American citizen willing to pay them almost nothing for doing horrible work in order to feed their family and hope to start a better life? Call be fiscally conservative, but… how are we going to pay for this? Where is the money going to come from? … and why is it more important than say, taking care of our citizens?

I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.

Wait, doesn’t this kind of counteract the other one? Where is the money going to come from to find every single non-citizen? Are you going to do it personally, for free? Wow. That’s a busy man.

I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.

Firstly, cut taxes? Refer to above.

Secondly, reform the tax code how? Your predecessor did so and hurt the poor. Do you have a plan of doing it fairly, and if you do, why not outline it and show why “reform” means that it will benefit ME, and not the millionaires funding your campaign.

I will impose accountability on Washington.

This one doesn’t sound bad. I’d like to know the how’s and why’s, and what he means by that. Unfortunately, the “learn more” section isn’t working.

I will lead America towards energy independence.

How, exactly? … and how without raising taxes? … and what kind of energy?

I will give Americans more control over and access to health care with affordable and portable free-market solutions.

Unforunately, Rudy seems to have set himself an impossible goal. More Americans won’t have access to health care with free-market solutions, given the fact that that gives the health care companies more control over the health care programs. Poor guy doesn’t even know what he’s in for.

I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.

Doesn’t sound bad as long as abortion is still safe & legal and he means that he’ll decrease abortions by making Plan B and contraceptives more readily available… and increasing adoptions by making sure gay couples are included.

Also… by protecting the quality of life for our children, surely he means protecting free health care for them, right? Or wait… no, you already said that you’re against that.

I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.

Once again, how. Also, strict constructionist judges has become shorthand for conservative judges, so far that it’s included in the Wikipedia entry. Seriously.

I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

I’m not against this. I do wonder how he plans to do it without raising taxes though. Also, when you look at his next commitment, it seems ironic that he’s willing to funnel money into protecting us from disaster and evil, but not funnel money into actually increasing the intellectual level of the American public through well-funded public education. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that people get more liberal with more education.

I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.

Why not just improve public education? Logically, some kids are always going to be in public schools, so instead of offering more choices, why don’t we make the FREE option better instead of funnelling it’s money into private schools while letting the other ones rot?

I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

The global economy hurts citizens. Being able to by cheap mass-produced stuff seems nice right now, yes, but when you’re trying to find a job, it doesn’t help. The global economy may seem un-avoidable, but free-trade agreements are hurting the American people, as well as people all over. Companies aren’t required to pay Mexican citizens minimum-wage, and therefore, you may find yourself out of a job. Outsourcing is another result of the global economy.

Strengthen our reputation? Doesn’t this kind of counter-act the whole, fighting the “terrorists” approach we saw earlier? America isn’t going to improve in the eyes of the international community until we grow up and learn a lesson in humility, as well as one in caution when it comes to war. Pre-emptive strikes are just a flowery way of saying “starting the war.”

I know it seems to be a Hillary vs. Obama race, and that it seems quite likely that one of them we’ll get the nomination, and potentially the presidency, but after watching the debates, I can’t say I truly prefer either of them. I mean, personally, I will be supporting the winning Democratic candidate. I’m just not blind to the faults of the people most likely to take it.

Hillary is not going to offer universal health care. It isn’t part of her plan, even though she’ll cite her “battle scars” from the last time any time it’s brought up and skirt the issue and not come out and say that she won’t offer it. She doesn’t want to offend us the growing percentage of people (especially the democrats she needs for the nomination), but no, she won’t be providing it. Republicans can at least breath a sigh of relief about that for her, I guess, but for me, that’s a deal-breaker. My other issues with her include her original support of Defense of Marriage Act, and her only being for civil unions, rather than full marriage benefits for gay couples, though I feel that she could open up on that eventually.

I certainly don’t agree with Satan in a pantsuit descriptions by the far right, but Hillary doesn’t have my vote this primary season. Honestly, I think the left has more to fear when it comes to her than the right. She’s hardly a liberal (even she rejects the term), or, considering her opposition to universal coverage, even a “progressive” as she calls herself.

Obama is also against gay marriage. He has even said that he, personally, believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Seriously, even typing it I keep wondering how it’s possible that in 2007, I have to say this about a Democratic candidate. The whole gay marriage argument is clearly a debate for another thread, but Obama is supposed to be the everyman candidate, or at least that is how he wants to paint himself, and it’s hard to accept from someone who discounts the rights of some men and women. It would be one thing (though still not perfect), if Obama said that civil unions were more feasible for the country right now, but his personal objection to gay marriage makes me feel queasy. A part of me thinks this springs from his religion, which is fair, it’s his choice, but someone who lets his personal beliefs dictate others lives when it doesn’t effect him at all isn’t somebody I can support when I have better options.

Obama’s health care plan is certainly more extensive and efficient than Hillary’s, but it’s still not truly universal. At this point, health care has become one of the most important domestic issues, and he’s still not willing to step up and offer America truly universal health care, which makes it very hard for me to support him.

Once again, I’ll support either of them, if I must. Of the two, I prefer Obama, slightly.

Kucinich charmed me somewhat with his outlandish behavior at the debates, but lets be completely honest here — he doesn’t have a chance. He’s currently getting about 1% of the vote, and, even if he was a major candidate, there is no way he could unite the country. Part of me wishes America was ready for a guy like him, but then, part of me thinks that he’s able to say pretty much whatever he wants when he doesn’t have to actually enact any of this later.

Who am I rooting for? John Edwards. I really wasn’t that impressed with him in 2004, but he’s won me over, and I never expected it.

[1] He’s going to offer truly universal health care.
For Five Decades, Jamees Lowe lived in the richest nation in the world, unable to talk because he couldn’t afford the procedure that would allow him to talk. When are we going to stand up and do something about this?
– John Edwards

[2] He is honest about being unsure about gay marriage (or marriage equality, as he calls it, and it’s my new favorite term), but is opposed to Constitutional Amendment banning it. No, it’s not the best progress. But he isn’t hiding behind pretty pre-constructed statements for his belief, he’s a normal person like us working out their beliefs, and on this one, I can let that slide, and hope that, being reasonable, he’ll come to fight for marriage equality. He is, of course, for complete Civil Unions with equal rights.

Like I said before, I don’t want to put to much energy into building up a hate for Hillary or Obama. Despite my issues with them, I’ll embrace them for their positives and hope to GOD that they change their minds on some things if one of them gets the nomination, but… I’d simply prefer someone else.