Monday, February 18, 2008

You Can't Spell Obama without a Big O (Part 1)

I have long said I support Hillary. I agree with her on the issues, and I particularly agree with her on issues where she differs with Obama. 5 in particular -- the War, Education, Health Care, the Environment and Social Security.

On two of those issues -- the Environment and Social Security, I think we will discover that Obama is not only to the right of Hillary Clinton, but to the right of John McCain.

On the environment, and global warming, and that set of issues, it is even possible that Obama is to the right of George W. Bush.

On education, I am married to a teacher, my cousins are teachers, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are teachers, I have relatives who are school psychologists, and on and on -- so I have a vested interest in it. I will save for another day my substantive arguments about why I think the "blame the teachers union for our failures in education" argument is a lot of hooey.

Suffice it to say, that on Social Security and Education and Health Insurance, Obama has been spouting the conservative Republican line since he was an embryo.

On the War, I believe Hillary's Senate record has been right, and that Obama's has been wrong. It is true -- as Bubba tried to say, but surprisingly quite didn't know how to -- that both Senators have misstated their records throughout the campaign.

It doesn't matter.

Hillary will not take the political hit required to leave Iraq. She will be able to say that the circumstances in 2009 are different from the circumstances now. During a war, circumstances are changing all the time.

Obama has continually said that "I want us to be as careful getting out, as we were careless getting in." Not the sign of a man planning on leaving Iraq anytime soon. Plus, of course, Obama has not ruled out going into Pakistan. President Bush has made a point to mention that as well. Bush thinks that the voters will be scared of going into Pakistan to wipe out Al Qaeda. I'm not so sure.

The only person who can get us out of Iraq quickly is McCain. McCain can come into office and say that after reviewing the super-duper, top secret, for Dick Cheney's eyes only, intelligence, that we should leave immediately. I doubt he would do that, but he could. And the American people would say OK.


Similarly, McCain is the only one who could admit that if we are going to meet our national security obligations properly, and maintain any chance at all of government of the people, by the people and for the people, we need a draft.

The Rumsfeld alternative -- the one that says that we don't need a draft to fight a war -- we merely farm it all out to outside contractors -- means that the core function of government -- the decision to make war or peace -- is no longer in the hands of the people. It is in the hands of the outside contractors.

It is unclear to what extent tactics and military strategy are being dictated by the outside contractors. Maybe Henry Waxman -- who chairs the House committee with the appropriate oversight jurisdiction --- can stop bothering Roger Clemens for a day or two to look into it.

(I digress)


Why is Hillary in so much trouble?

Have the times changed on Hillary, and on a lot of us who support her?

A 60-year old Democratic Senator from a major state, a liberal in the current setting, but not really in the historical setting. A professional politician, in both the good and bad sense of the word. A person who has spent a career in public service, paid dues and to whom a lot of favors were owed.

Except that it is a man. Or it is a woman who isn't Hillary Clinton.

Can any person, with that sort of resume, wrest the Democratic nomination from Barack Obama in 2008?

More to follow.

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