What was once an inspiring, hopeful campaign has degenerated into a typical election. Lots of name calling and mudslinging with new ideas and fresh viewpoints the first and costliest casualties. What happened?
First, the most outspoken and different were marginalized and painted as kooks. On the republican side Ron Paul is the most obvious. During the debates he was rarely asked any substantive questions. Off camera his name was rarely mentioned along with the heavy-weights. So despite the intense interest and excitement he generated, especially with younger voters, a large part of this country was denied access to his ideas.
Another candidate, Mike Huckabee, also brought new ideas and fresh insight to the race. I do not remember anyone discussing his tax plan but we all heard about his religious views. Personally I don’t care if someone thinks the moon is made out of green cheese if they have a fair and sensible tax plan. To Mr. Huckabees’ credit he did stay in the race but the news outlets never discussed his positions but instead focused on how he couldn’t win.
On the democratic side candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, Bill Richardson, etc. were also all but ignored at the debates and in the mainstream media. Mr. Gravel was labeled the grouchy old man, Dennis Kucinich the guy who saw flying saucers and the others as being unable to generate enough interest to win the nomination. And now we have two candidates in the Democratic party, one on the Republican side. What are their stances on the issues?
According to many this is the number one issue among voters. But the economy is affected by so many variables this ’issue’ simply clouds other real issues. The war in Iraq by some estimates is costing the US 720 million dollars a day. If we were to put that money back into our schools and infrastructure I don’t think the economy would be such a problem. The issue I think most important?
John McCain is for it. Even though he himself is a victim of Vietnam he wants to extend the war in Iraq for a hundred years if necessary. I can’t even imagine the incredible loss of life that would entail or the associated costs – financial, spiritual, mental and moral. I would have more hope if he was opposed by a strong anti-war candidate.
Problem is, he isn’t. The two Democratic candidates are too busy sniping at each other to articulate a coherent anti war campaign. And worse it looks as if neither have any real interest in doing so.
The leader in delegates, Barrack Obama said to PBS’s Charlie Rose in November of 2004 “Once we go in, then we’re committed,” adding: “Once the decision was made, then we’ve got to do everything we can to stabilize the country, to make it successful, because we’ll have too much at stake in the Middle East. And that’s the position that I continue to take.” He is taking a harder line now but how much is the question.
Earlier this year Obama said to Tim Russert on NBC, “As commander-in-chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.”
Hillary Clinton’s stance on the war is even more confusing. She has voted for the war, against funding the war and now seems to be taking the populist approach – whatever the people want. As she told Kentucky Democrats last December, “I reject a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit, and I reject an open timetable that has no ending attached to it.” In common terms – hedging your bet.
Both Clinton and Obama seem to be backtracking on hard line anti war stances even though a majority of US voters oppose the war, over 60% according to a recent Gallup Poll. And it doesn’t appear that only the US public are against the war, here’s an interesting fact for you: Ron Paul received the most money from donors in the military, collecting over $212,000 in 2007. Dr. Paul has been one of the most outspoken critics of the war in this campaign. Second in military fundraising – Barrack Obama, another anti war candidate.
It is time for this war to end. Don’t let the candidates or media distract you with ’character issues’ or ’the economy’ , demand the real problems in this country be addressed.