Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Some Final Pre-Election Loose Ends

I sort of made my case for voting against Sarah Palin in the last 3 posts.

I believe that even if he finds a way to steal the election, John McCain is a spent force.

McCain will find that not only will the Democratic Congress try to redeem itself after 8 years of Bush-McCain (why should we balance the budget? they never did!), McCain will also find that the Republican Party will look to Sarah Palin for leadership. They will require her blessing before McCain makes any moves that the base does not trust. Judging from the last few weeks of the campaign, Palin will not always give that blessing.

It is also impossible to bet on McCain physically surviving 4 years.

I don't know if McCain is 100% fraud. I am too young to remember if he was really a POW. But everything about him in the time I have been following him is based on lies. McCain's so-called "maverick" record is pretty light. Yes, he bucked his party a few times, but it was all on "inside the Beltway" issues such as campaign finance, and the appointment of justices. He never really bucked his party on an issue of importance to Joe The Plumber or even Joe The Biden. Sure McCain backed a "surge," but his criticism on the conduct of the War, like so much of his "maverick" image, was just stuff to say on Imus and Jay Leno. Where it counted, Johnny Mac always did what he was told, and let the Bushies torture whoever they wanted. Even on issues like immigration, where McCain got a portion of the Republican Party angry, he was simply carrying water for agribusiness and the Bush Administration.

What is most disheartening is that McCain never made his case for why he should be President.

I am pursuaded by the argument (not mine) that McCain believes that the War Against Terrorism, in particular, and war in general, is necessary not only to defeat your enemy, but also to help transform a nation successfully into the next era. If there is no foreign enemy to fight, then something else, energy, lets say, has to be put on a war footing in order to solve it in a way that helps us to achieve "national greatness"

Only, McCain never quite said that.

If Gore's mea culpa was called An Inconvenient Truth, then McCain's movie, if he loses, will be called You Can't Handle The Truth.

McCain should have trusted us. Even if he wins, his profound lack of trust in everyone who is not John McCain, his sense that he is the only carrier of truth and goodness in the entire History of the World, will make him, during his remaining months, a horrendous President.

And then we can expect Sarah Palin to explore the extreme reaches of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and FISA. It will be pulled from your bed time. Real Central American stuff.


I think if you have read this blog over the last year, you will find that I have had very little good to say about Obama. I liked the Philadelphia speech. But if you read my blog that day, I said that it carried the seeds of its own destruction, since it reminded us that the black experience is basically unknowable to white America.

I expect that if he actually gets to be President, and its a real long way to January 20, Obama will govern the way Jimmy Carter would have governed if Jimmy Carter was competent. While that is horrifying for people of a certain age, I would offer the following comforting thoughts.

a. Republicans elect Kings, and expect those Kings to do what they want. Democrats elect Presidents, and those Presidents are constrained by the Constitution. The Democrats were complicit in the Bush/Cheney abuses in a way that the Republicans would never allow themselves to be towards any Democrat. Nancy Pelosi, that bogeyman of all Republicans, talked a good game, but like McCain, she always did what she was told.

Cheney, at least, should have been impeached, just for the fun of it, when the Democrats took over the Congress in 2007. A case could be made that the Constitution demands impeachment when the landscape lays out the way it did from early 2007-early 2008. It wasn't as if the Democrats got any of their agenda passed anyway.

b. Jimmy Carter's agenda culminated a long line of liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans which date back to FDR in 1933 and maybe even back to Hoover in 1929. Even Nixon and Ford, domestically, were far more liberal than any Republican is today. There was a sense back in the late 70s that Carter was taking a lot of things one step too far. A sense that certain people weren't being accounted for and that other solutions had not been tried. After Reagan, after Bush-Cheney, you can't say that white people haven't gotten a nice long drink at the government trough, or that conservative solutions have not been tried. A lot of these Carter-type things that Obama is going to want to do may look pretty good in the current light.

c. Obama's biography matters a lot. If he decides that Gates and Petraeus need to stay on for the next 8 years, that is not continuing the current policies. Obama's unique biography and perspective in and of itself make it a new decision, make it one that people are forced to look at with new eyes.

I share all the liberal paranoia about how this election can be stolen, and how long Obama can stay upright in the circumstances.

But in the meantime, this can be a very uplifting few weeks.