Sunday, November 4, 2007

Obama '08

by Pa Rock
Opinionator


First, let me clear the air on the question of my political leanings: I am a Democrat, a proud, totally-tilted-left, and, not ashamed to wear the label, liberal Democrat! I wasn't born into the party. My mother and father were Republicans, and I suspect that all of their forebears were also, probably as far back as Lincoln. My eighty-three-year-old father still likes to rail on unions as being "the ruination of America," and any positive mention of FDR will also send him into a sputtering tirade.

So, with this fine conservative background, where did I begin to stray? Easy answer: Nixon. Yes, Richard Nixon made me a Democrat. (Opening China to the West, lowering the national speed limit to fifty-five, and causing Rocky Macy to make a sharp left turn in his political life were undoubtedly Tricky Dick's top three achievements - meeting Elvis and giving Okinawa back to Japan were numbers four and five.) Okay, it wasn't only Nixon. Attending college in the sixties had a major impact on my political thinking as well, whether I admit to inhaling or not!

While I am very comfortable identifying with the Democratic Party, I will split my ticket on those rare occasions when I know that the other party has the better candidate. Thankfully, those situations are rare. All things being equal, I stand comfortably with the Party that historically, at least since FDR, has been focused on those in society who haven't been invited to the table for their slice of the American pie.

So why am I supporting Obama when Hillary clearly seems to stampeding the Party? Is my reluctance to tumble into the landslide some "anti-woman" thing? I really don't think of myself as being sexist, though my age and gender might lead some to speculate otherwise. I was one of the participants in this year's third annual MS Magazine Cruise, and I made if from Tampa to Belize to Guatemala to Mexico and back to Tampa without being thrown overboard or being forced to walk the plank, and I managed to take in most of their workshops along the way. America could definitely benefit from a leader whose perspective and values are something other than those of a morally stymied, white, male frat boy.

No, it isn't that Hillary is a woman, she is just not the woman to lead our nation out of the Bush morass. She very likely could win the Presidency, but she is such a lightening rod that every greed head and fundamentalist goober in the country would turn out to vote, and a lot of good Democratic congressional candidates would be defeated - in a year that should see a massive Democratic majority in both national houses and many state legislatures. What a shame to let the country submit itself to eight more years of gridlock, when it is clearly time to pull ourselves out of the muck and move on.

The true picture of Hillary developed at last week's debate in Philadelphia when she was asked about releasing her correspondence with Bill while she was First Lady. Instead of a definitive "yes" or "no," she equivocated grandly, trying to serve up some mishmash that said it couldn't be done because the National Archives works too slowly. Never mind that Bill had written a letter to them asking that those records not be released until 2012. George, Bill, Bill, Shrub, Shrub, and now Hillary, Hillary. What goes around comes around - and it just keeps coming! (Is anyone naive enough to rule out Jeb, Jeb, Chelsea, Chelsea, and then maybe Jenna, Jenna?) I am so tired of the Bush's and the Clinton's and their endless drama! And don't even get me started on Hillary's shameless milking of the health care lobby! It's long past time for national health care. Hillary can be most effective in bringing that about by getting out of the way!

So why Obama? He talks about ideas, as outlined chapter and verse in THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. He recognizes problems and puts forth challenges, rather than the feel-good pabulum that has been our national staple for years. He is new enough to the political scene that his soul is still his own, and not the personal property the lobbyists and corporate scumbags who regard government as their personal property and operate unchecked and unencumbered by conscience or the will of the people. Barack Obama is not only a fresh face, he is also a new voice with the potential to make bold moves and actually lead instead of being led. He is an eloquent visionary whose coattails will bring congressional majorities large enough to actually govern. Obama is the leader who truly has the potential to take us beyond the self-serving politics that have been the norm since Reagan.

Most importantly, Barack Obama is the only top tier candidate in either party who is younger than me - and I know that I am too damned old to be President!

"Vote early and vote often." -- Al Capone

3 comments:

Bruce Arnold said...

Obama? Oh, Rocky...

After all these years, are you still supporting socialists at the federal level?

I'm afraid you're deluding yourself if you really believe that Obama hasn't "sold his soul." His soul was bought and paid for long before he ever got to Washington, that actually how he got there! Granted, he hides it better than Hillary - but who on earth doesn't? (Heck, Giuliani hides his overtly fascist views better than Ms. Clinton disguises her faustian alliance with K Street!)

Now, if you've really got the courage to elect an honest person... Donate to Ron Paul's campaign. He has a 30-year proven track record of always following through on his word. Unlike Clinton or Obama or anyone else that could win (and yes, Ron Paul might win) - Ron would actually pull the troops out of Iraq and Afganistan the very first day he was in
the oval office. Do you really believe the lies that CFR Obama and CFR Hillary tell? I sure hope not. Their "planned withdrawals" will take YEARS, if indeed it ever happens. (And it probably never would.)

From as well as I know you, I suspect that you don't agree with all of Ron Paul's positions... But you must give him credit for being the most honest, trustworthy, and principled candidate. He expects and insists the federal government actually follow the Law - the U.S. Constitution. Wouldn't that be great? States could have the right to work out all the various social issues themselves, without Big Brother telling them how to live.

(Doesn't this all sound familiar? I recall us throwing back a few beers and having that conversation about a decade ago...)

Now, aren't you glad you sent me an email invitation to your Blog? Brings back the good ol' days... :)

Bruce
www.4Noel.com

P.S. - For anyone reading this that doesn't know me, I'm not a hard-core Republican... I never voted for either Bush, and in the 2000 race I voted for Ezola Foster, a black woman, to be Vice President of the U.S. (yeah, I voted the Constitution Party - I couldn't stand either Bush or Gore.) My dislike of Obama and Hillary has nothing to do with race or gender. I just expect candidates to be principled and trustworthy. And with the possible exception of Kucinich - and maybe Gravel - none of the current Democrat candidates meet that criteria.

Finally, after years of waiting, we have a great candidate from one of the "big two" political parties that we can feel good about voting for... Let's put an honest statesman in the White House - Ron Paul.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Bruce,

Good to hear from you. I had checked out your page and thought the piece on Obama might shake a response out of you. The fact that you wrote on a Friday night leads me to think that neither of us have changed much over the years!

I have read a lot about Paul and think that he is a highly principled candidate. The trouble for me is that I just don't buy into his libertarian basics in three areas: 1. We are a nation of immigrants, and they continue to make us diverse and strong. Shame on us for trying to close the door now that we are already here. 2. I don't believe that we need to be armed to the teeth, either personally or nationally, in order to be safe. Arms races, for the individual or the nation, only begat arns races -not safety. The only winners are the arms merchants. We are made safe by talking to our enemies and interacting with them, not by trying to be the biggest thug on the block. And, 3. Taxes are a necessary part of social existence. I like driving on paved roads, having a government that (occasionally) strives to hold onto our national resources so that they may be enjoyed by my grandchildren and by their grandchildren. I like knowing that I have easy access to libraries, and colleges, and public television, and Amtrak. I also like knowing that some of my basic needs will be met by government when I am too old to fend for myself. None of us can do those things alone - it takes the communal effort that we call taxes.

If you ever roam out West, come see me.

Rock

Bruce Arnold said...

Rocky,

Yep, not too much has changed over all these years.

And from your response, I'm guessing that you're still relying on the Big Corporate-controlled MainStream Media to get your information about Ron Paul. Despite the fact that the MSM absolutely despises Ron Paul, because he'd actually bring about reform and change (and thus, threaten their death-grip hold on the opinions of the average American) - Dr. Paul's solutions are also too complex and nuianced to fit easily into a sound bite, or even a 30-sec response during an interview. You have to actually read what he says to understand what he'll do. For instance:

#1: Ron Paul isn't anti-immigrant at all. Much the opposite. He understands that immigration is necessary for the positive growth of a nation. But he also insists that we follow the law, and he wants reasonable, controlled immigration... Not coyotes charging $1500/head to sneak people across to America, usually to then be exploited by corporations like Tyson - and I know you know what I mean. The United States already has the most welcoming immigration system in the entire world, in terms of numbers of new immigrants allowed to legally enter and eventually become citizens. There are already an abundance of "Guest Worker" programs, and no new programs are necessary. If it weren't for the constant flood of illegal aliens coming in each year, the legal immigrants and other low-skilled American workers would be paid more and treated better, without a significant impact on production costs and service/retail prices. As with all of Dr. Paul's positions, he simply expects everyone to play by the rules, and follow the law. Illegal immigrants cheat those legal immigrants that are good enough to actually play by the rules. Surely you don't defend that? Look at Ron Paul's positions on the issue and you'll see what I'm talking about. His positions on this or any other thing hasn't changed at all over the years. (*With one exception - see below.) They haven't "changed with the tides" like most of the other candidates, he has consistently insisted that the law be followed.

#2: I'm guessing you're thinking of some other candidate on the arms issue, as Ron Paul does not support increased military spending, or supporting the existing military/industrial complex. On the contrary, he would make massive reductions in the military budget; insisting on bringing all the troops home, stop trying to enforce a defacto world empire at the point of an M16, and reduce the role of the military from "world police" to a reasonable and vigilant defense force. As for personal gun use, as always he insists that the U.S. Constitution be followed - and the 2nd amendment is very clear. You personally may not agree with it, but you are welcome to encourage your congressmen to amend the constitution to better suit your liking. However, until that is changed, we have to follow the law as written. Because without the rule of law, we only have "rule by man" - and that inevitably leads to tyranny. Remember, a ruler that is willing to cast aside a law you don't like (private gun ownership), will be equally willing to cast aside a law you do like (freedom of speech).

#3. On taxes I believe you've misunderstood the difference between federal income taxes, and state and local taxes. True, Ron Paul has stated on many occasions that we suffer under an excessively high tax burden. We work over 5 months out of the year to pay all the various forms of taxes we endure today, and that percentage keeps rising... (Here's a historical contrast for your consideration: Medieval SERFS only paid 25% - so at our current 40+% we are worse than serfs!)
What Ron Paul proposes is the elimination of PERSONAL (not corporate) INCOME TAX. If we simply stopped the unconstitutional behavior of trying to be the "world police" (and in the process stopped inciting the hatred of the rest of the world), that alone would reduce spending enough that we would have no need of the Personal Income Tax... He has also pointed out that if we just reduced our national federal budget spending to the "pre-Dubya" levels of the Clinton years, that alone would make up for the lack of a Personal Income Tax. The Federal Government has become amazingly wasteful - and that must end. He has a good plan to end it: Stop doing all the unconstitutional things that the federal government is doing, let people and the States retain more of their own money, and let them decide how to spend it. You'll still have your paved roads kept up in good condition. Your state will retain and wisely use its own natural resources; and if your state doesn't do that well enough in your opinion - it will be much easier to affect positive change at your state capitol than it will be (or has been) in Washington D.C. by far! Your library and colleges are already funded by state and local taxes, so they will only improve when State and local governments have more money and more discretion on how to spend it. PBS & Amtrak are government-sponsored monopolies that are ineffective and wasteful mostly because of the govt meddling and regulations, they wouldn't survive in a marketplace of free competition and therefore should be allowed to fail; so they can be replaced by better and more efficient alternatives. Dr. Paul understands that our society has become dependent on all these various safety nets, so he has a good and realistic plan to gradually reduce our forced dependence on such things, and allow people to make their own decisions (like opting out of Social Security in favor of individually-managed retirement accounts). He won't pull the rug out from under anyone that has been promised Social Security... In fact, by slowly phasing out the big-brother-type mandated Social Security programs in favor of free-market retirement solutions, he is in fact SAVING the Social Security program from its upcoming insolvency.

Now, if you want to be an elitist, and claim that people are just too stupid and therefore shouldn't be allowed to make their own decisions because they might just make too many bad choices, then you've forgotten what it means to be an American. We are (or at least used to be) a free and independent people, with the right of self-determination without oppressive government or rule of tyrants. (Even the tyranny of good intentions.) If you want to live under a monarch that will program your life for you, then there are already hundreds of other countries that will be happy to do that for you. But we used to be unique... Just let America be America, and let Americans all make our own choices. (Even if you think they're the wrong ones.) In fact, under a Ron Paul presidency, your state would be free to pursue whatever socialist-wet-dream-fantasy of government it wants (within the constraints of law, of course). Another state like New Hampshire may choose to adopt a libertarian course. And Hawaii may choose to revet to a tribal system of State government... And to each their own. Let each State succeed or fail on its own merits. We should have more variety between the different states, so we can learn from the successes, and failures, of each.

I hope I've genuinely given you some things to think about. I know you've been hearing the liberal side of things for so many years you rarely question "why" - and the so-called conservatives like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck and their loathsome ilk only reinforce your opinion that anything other the the liberal view is wrong... But why not think for yourself and choose Liberty instead? :)

Bruce

*P.S. - The one and only position on a major issue that Ron Paul has changed his mind on is the Death Penalty. He used to be in favor of allowing States to decide this for themselves, but after a few years of seeing how badly most of the States have abused and over-used it, he is no longer in favor of its use at all.

P.P.S. - I don't have time to go back and provide links to demonstrate each point, but any questions you might have to any of them are easily found by doing Google searches, and looking up Ron Paul's positions on Wikipedia (and even on YouTube). I don't expect you to take my word of any of it. But I would expect that an avid reader like yourself wouldn't be shy about doing a little bit of research for yourself.

Once you look past the media-created labels, and into the actual substance of the man, I really believe that you'll be pleasantly surprised!