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The rare political post
cap, captain miss america
I don't often talk politics in my livejournal, for the very reason that I try not to write persuasively on my opinions. Livejournal for me is a way to make friends, not to proselytize. However, I have been thinking quite a bit about the current presidential campaigns and I feel like I want to talk about it a little bit.

I will start by saying that I am a registered Democrat, but strongly Independent in spirit. In 2000, I would have strongly considered voting for McCain had he gotten the Republican nomination. My one strong concern at that point was his platform on abortion. I also really liked a lot of the things Ron Paul had to say during the Republican primary. I have a great deal of respect for numerous politicians on both sides of the partisan divide and those who fall outside of it.

I am voting for Obama. I have known I would vote for Obama since last summer, when I attended his rally here in New York, in Washington Square Park. At the time, I preferred Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but I had heard Obama's speech in 2004 and had paid attention to his defeated bill on the war in 2006-2007, which would have started bringing troops home a few months ago, and I liked those things about him. I was concerned about his age and experience, but I am one of those people who really tries to educate myself before voting, so I was willing to at least give him a chance to answer my questions about his viability as a candidate.

In the first ten minutes of his speech, he talked about just those concerns-- he admitted outright that he didn't have nearly as much experience in Washington as other candidates, but he put forward his experience in Illinois, and cited other presidents who didn't have a ton of experience. He talked about ways in which he felt he could educate himself or how he could fill his cabinet in order to make up for his own weaknesses. He admitted outright what his weaknesses were, and put out point by point plans for how he would address them.

That's not something I've ever seen a candidate for president do. That was when I decided that I would support him.

Now, I'll get one thing straight: I am not happy about his FISA vote. I really wish he had listened to Keith Olbermann's advice on this one.

On the other hand, I understand the FISA vote in terms of something Senator Obama has spoken about since the beginning of his campaign: the need for compromise to get things done. This was a compromise, and a risky one, one that a lot of his core supporters, including me, don't agree with, although I understand the argument in favor of it. But he has spoken strongly of the need for compromise since the beginning of his campaign.

I have seen a number of people become angry over things Obama has done or said since he became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party:

His choice not to accept public funds after pledging to accept them (which to me seems like promising to let someone buy you dessert and then saying you're not hungry, especially since the choice was made after McCain pledged to accept public funds and then decided not to, which, oddly enough, got very little news coverage compared to Obama's decision, which was a direct result of McCain's.

The FISA issue, which I mentioned above.

His statement, after review, that limited offshore drilling might be acceptable, which was definitely played up as a flip-flop.

A lot of detractors are seeing these things and saying that he is, underneath it all, just another politician, he's lying to his supporters, etc. But I don't see that at all. I see a man who is doing exactly what he promised to do from the beginning-- be light on his feet, adapt, compromise, and not pick one position and stick to in even in the light of evidence to the contrary, which is what our current President has been doing for eight years. You would think by now that people would get that changing your mind once educated on a subject is a good thing for a President to do.

This is still not politics as usual.

On the subject of offshore drilling: I find it despicable that McCain continued to push this the same week that there was a devastating oil spill in New Orleans. I also find it despicable that a devastating oil spill in Alaska nearly twenty years ago got more attention than a devastating oil spill in a populous city, based on the fact that the one in Alaska involved pristine wildlife and cute duckies, and the one in the Mississippi involved poor black people. But hey, we already left the poor black people to die during Katrina, right?

I think I know why Obama "reversed" his position, which was not so much a reverse as an assurance that he would never make a broad, sweeping ultimatum like other politicians who have come before him. Offshore drilling in the Gulf and in Alaska would so inconsequentially affect the oil supply in this country that if we allow it, it proves even moreso that we are in a crisis as pertains to fuel. As long as we don't drill, those in favor of drilling will be able to accuse those not in favor of drilling of deliberately keeping the gas prices high through stubborn refusal to open up natural resources. In reality, you can read estimates from our own governmental agency that show that offshore drilling isn't really a viable solution to reducing gas prices. But then again, it's online, and McCain doesn't know how to use the internet.

Anyway, there is a larger reason for this post. Being the very open-to-opinions Independent voter that I am, I am on the mailing lists for both campaigns. I also read a lot of news. A lot of news. And I read all the policy information on the candidates' websites.

I am really angry at the emails that the McCain campaign sends out. And it is not because I disagree with their core values-- there are still some things I like about McCain's platform, although he has swung far to the right since he first burst onto the scene with the Straight Talk Express in 2000.

It is not because I disagree. It is because they outright lie. I have received one email saying that Obama's increase of the capital gains tax is a flat double across the board. Obama's proposed capital gains increase is only for people who individually make over $250k a year, or couples filing jointly who make $500k a year. I'm sorry, but my parents are wealthy enough to own the most amazing house I have ever seen, I live in expensive New York City apartments, and I know for a fact that no one in my family would qualify, and we are some of the wealthiest people I know. No one except the insanely, insanely wealthy would ever see this tax, and yet the McCain emails are trying to scare-tactic people into believing Obama is planning to double their taxes. He's also running televised ads that maintain the same.

The email from McCain's campaign that I received today is dredging up stuff from Obama's Berlin appearance (hello, old news!) and stated that Obama's support of the bill to reallocate more funds from our country to help extremely impoverished nations around the world was harmful to Americans. This is at the same time that news about how the Patriot Act has been harming private non-profits aid initiatives in the most impoverished and devastated countries in the world-- and the new bill would make sure that that money could go through the UN since our government has seized the assets of numerous Muslim aid organizations.

I know that things are difficult in our country right now. I know that there are hungry people, people without jobs, people who are getting their homes foreclosed on because of the abuses of a corrupt mortgage practice. But I'm sorry, when, as rainy_day points out, people in Cambodia make 59 cents a day, the problem in this country is not poverty. Most of us at least have access to drinking water. We have systems in place that protect us from a great deal of the extremes of poverty, even if they are still sorely lacking. We would have access to food and homes and a lot of other things if we weren't at the mercy of large corporations acting sans regulation. As opposed to other countries where people are literally dropping dead every day, dying of sicknesses that our pharmaceuticals companies refuse to provide free medication for, but gee, we'd better talk about how re-allocating money that wasn't even being spent on fighting poverty in this country is going to hurt Americans.

I understand negative campaigning. If you really believe that something another candidate is saying is bad, then please, criticize the hell out of it. As much mud was slung during the Democratic primaries, I do believe both Senators Clinton and Obama at least kept it honest and talked about real concerns they had based on the personal histories, platforms and records the opposing candidate had. Lying? Not cool. McCain's pretty much lost all the enormous respect I had for him in 2000.

And to end on one very small note of proselytization, you can get a Free Obama Button here.
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He must know he's not going to get it so that's why he's fighting like a cornered rat. The guy's insane and I'm loving this rant.

I don't know about that. I have met quite a lot of intelligent people who are shocked that anyone thinks Obama would win. He's not getting the most favorable portrayal in some circles, and I've heard numerous Obama supporters who've become disappointed with his campaign.

Hey, I just signed up for that button.

McCain has really been disappointing since this started. Remember when people thought that between Obama and McCain, whoever won, we'd feel satisfied? T=Yeah, that's pretty much wasted away.

Haha, I never felt that way, because War Forever and No Abortions= bad, bad, bad. But I was definitely rooting for McCain to get the nom because Huckabee in office would be far, far worse and Ron Paul had no chance.

Hear, Hear! It really is the lying that gets me too. The outright, bold-faced lying. That and when the very next day you hear someone repeating the lie they heard.

I have been an Obama supporter for a while and I agree with you completely on the FISA issue. I don't see it as a complete about face but rather a conscious decision to compromise.

And I really appreciated your post.

Yeah, it disappoints me, and I would have seen him handle it differently, but I also understand that protecting telecom agencies who should have blown the whistle but were also in all honesty just doing what the government told them to do is not the worst thing he could compromise for.

The part when other people believe the lies is definitely the most upsetting. My uncle outright screamed at me a few weeks ago over the public funding pledge and would not listen to me explain that his facts weren't correct because the news programs weren't reporting the entire story.

Let me preface this by saying that I very much respect your opinions and I am by no means out to "convert" you, as it were.

The biggest problem that I have with Obama is not the perceived inconsistencies of his platform or whatever the Republican scare story of the moment might be, it's his fundamental lack of experience at large-scale politics. And while I find it very encouraging that he believes that the Washington political environment can and should be changed, the problem that I see is that the system will not change simply because he says "make it so". The reality of working within a toxic environment will likely greatly hinder his efforts.

I think that if he had waited out his current Senate term and possibly served a second, he would be a tremendously strengthened candidate with the knowledge of how to work both within and outside of the DC political culture-- and would be a candidate with a very real chance at achieving the ambitious Presidential agenda he's set for himself.

I also have problems with his national defense and foreign policy platforms as well as his Iraqi troop withdraw plan, but those are issues outside of the scope of your post, so probably better to let those dogs have a rest :P

No, that's completely valid. That was my biggest concern, too, but like I said in my post, the rally I attended definitely made me feel like he knows that's a problem and already has a plan to deal with it. You're actually saying exactly what I was telling people last summer. But I think this is someone who understands that that's his biggest stumbling block and will work actively to address it, whereas I think John McCain doesn't acknowledge his inadequacies as inadequate, and that concerns me.

When McCain criticized Obama's foreign policy and said he needed to visit Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama actually took it seriously and went to Iraq and Afghanistan, and met with world leaders. I don't see McCain trying to get experience with issues like domestic inner city poverty or internet literacy, which are in my opinion very easy to address.

I would definitely want to hear your concerns about defense and foreign policy, actually, because you know more about those things than I do. I am definitely more educated on domestic issues.

The reason that the McCain campaign is makin such bold-faced lies is because he knows that the people that matter, the people that take up arms and vote, will NOT check into it. They will believe it because the TV told them so.

I'm so weary of this election already. -__-

See, New York is amazing. If someone starts playing a recording of Obama's voice, everyone turns around and looks, and walks up and asks which speech they're playing, and starts talking about how wonderful it is that we are going to have an intellectual for a President, without questioning that he'll win.

The problem with this, is that New Yorkers tend to be oblivious to the rest of the country. And I know that there are huge swaths of the country that don't feel this way. They're not going to see this post. And I realize that's why the McCain campaign is lying, because it's very easy to lie when it requires time and effort for people to disprove your lies, and the average American doesn't have time to educate themselves on issues beyond what they see on television. And this turns the issue into one of the responsibility of the media to report honestly. That's their job, and it distresses me that our media is so dependent on their advertisers that they can't do this.

This was awesome. May I link it in my f-list?

Firstly, thank you for saying all of this. It's good to hear this coming from an Independent rather than the Democrats since people don't seem to listen to the 'natural' enemy of who they're supporting.

I'm with everything you've said here, but I'm going to expand a bit more (that is, if you don't mind. :))

The real, underlying problem I have with American Politics is that it often comes down to what people interpret as the average American. Supposed Republicans- and by that, I mean the poorest, least educated demographics- are swayed by conservative values. Anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro death penalty, pro free market, etc. These people are not thinking about themselves. If someone is really PRO or ANTI something, it's fair to assume that they will not or will engage in these activities. I'm a very social Libertarian, so I think all of these possibilities should be open and we should allow everyone to choose individually. But Republicans want to be the moral police and regulate other people's behavior. I wonder and worry (so much) about why, in America, you're voting for your values rather than other (sorry, but, more pressing) issues that candidates stand for. I think that the focus has certainly shifted now that the economy is suffering, but it is still prevalent amongst voters. The Republicans have them tricked. :(

Obama, sadly, is also right. McCain really is an extension of the fear mongering and dishonest campaigns (re: Bush) Republicans have run in the past. While I've certainly never agreed with McCain's politics, I always respected that he seemed to be a stand up Politician. The way he's spreading this trite bullshit has really changed my mind about that, though.

You should watch this:

It's a silly TDS/TCR-esque video, but it does make great points that aren't being discussed.

Thanks for the link to the Obama button. I was like, "What would I even do with one?" and I realized that having it would be a throwback to the possible first African American President. :) Duh.

The issues I have with McCain is that we always have to fall back on his military service. I thank him for serving, but at the same time, I don't want to elect someone because they were a fucking badass 40 years ago. What's McCain really done?

Also, I really really don't like all these stories coming out about McCain and his first and second wives. Especially since he called Cindy McCain a "cunt faced trollop" in front of reporters.

Also, I like Obama because he's not in the old boy's club. He's antiold boy's club in some ways. He wants to go after lobbyists, and to make peoople's lives better, and is very straightforward. His people are running an amazing campaign, because they understand how to use (OMG) the internet. McCain's campaign is trying to make McCain into a quasi-anti-Bush and it ain't workin.

Also, can I just say that, yes, mortages are very bad, credit companies willingly fleece people... but then we have commericals that literally say "We're a nation of consumers... and that's not a bad thing." I think we have a problem that needs to be fixed with the American people, and not just those preying on them. We've been greedy, and we're getting bit in the ass for it.

No man who ever speaks that way about any woman, except in private, in the heat of anger (because everyone says some awful things sometimes when they're fighting) deserves to be president.

I think that the greed you speak of isn't greed so much as complacency and a feeling of entitlement that comes from being raised in a very prosperous country that needs to now learn to cut back and stop profiting on the suffering of others. We're a nation of consumers because that's what we've been raised to be, we've been told we have to have these things. We're not being told we don't need them and then buying them anyway. But now we have to realize there is a world outside being a rich kid and that we can't just keep spending frivolously for the rest of our lives.

Good post. Thanks for the button link!

IAWTP. Both as a mild Democrat/mild Libertarian hybrid and all around independent-minded swing voter-type person.

I would have voted for McCain in 2000 as well, had he gotten the nomination. It's really disappointing to see a candidate that I liked 8 years ago swing so far away from his original platform. I figure the RNC is letting McCain run this time around knowing he probably won't get elected. He's sort of like Bob Dole in '96. Everyone knew he wasn't getting elected--it was just his turn, and it cleared the way for stronger candidates in another election cycle.

I wasn't happy with the FISA vote either, but the only logic I can see in it is that he may have voted the way he did because, had it not been voted for, it would have opened the telecoms to huge lawsuits that might have bankrupted and crashed the industry--something that would not have helped in the current economy. It's the only reason I can think of for voting for immunity there.

I was cool with the FISA thing. I'm the only one, I know.

His talking about funding social services through religious organizations rubbed me the wrong way, but, y'know. Nobody's perfect. He's still the same Obama.

It does make me nervous to hear so many voices saying that it's the Democrats' year and that they should win in a landslide, because, y'know, then if McCain wins, we look like dumb racists.

But (and I know I'm digressing here) I don't think white America is as concerned with the skin color of its public figures as it is with the skin color of the next door neighbors. My hope is actually that McCain will get the spotlight a little more as we approach Election Day, because I think he looks worse as a candidate the more he gets scrutiny. (And the more his comments to and about women come to light--yow!)

I know I took a long time to get back to this, but on the social service through religious organization thing-- there is a really good reason for this that he's not talking about too much in the news because it would give people more "terrorist" fodder.

The current government has slowly been freezing and seizing all the resources of Muslim-related charities in the US and even charities that work with Muslims. In one case, a Muslim-oriented aid society had their assets seized, and wrote a polite letter requesting that if they could not use the money themselves, they would like the federal government to donate it to Katrina relief, and the government refused. There are also documented cases of aid workers being forced to refuse aid to victims of the tsunami in 2004 based on the fact that they were Muslim and/or related to organizations or people on the governments 'suspect' list (you know, the one that includes Cat Stevens?). A lot of the way he presented his plan on religious charities sounds very much like he is trying to fix this, but he obviously can't say he wants to give Islamic charities back their funding and it is much easier to reach swing voters by appealing to Christian charities.

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