Adding Up the Score so Far

One person who commented said that that the social conservative wing of the Republican party in apparently controlling McCain’s choice for vice president had prompted him to leave the party, at least until it returns to champion more traditional conservative values. This view is commonly shared. Some of my friends have said they will no longer vote Republican because of the war mongering and corruption at the national level. All of these things depart from traditional conservative values.

The choice of Palin certainly appears to be an example of form prevailing over substance. Except that one can clearly discern from Palin’s record rather abject adherence of the tenets of the religious right. As to matters relating to governance and national issues there is a void.  Here is a disturbing explanation of the choice.

I have written how McCain has abandoned the principles that he espoused when he was labeled a maverick. He is now even campaigning on issues that he has actually voted against not just recently but for years! For example alternative energy, and minimum wage increase.

His choice of Palin demonstrates a commitment to do whatever it takes to get elected as opposed to adherence to any principle whatsoever. His economic proposals will only augment the policies that created our present situation by increasing the deficit and enhancing the decline of the middle class. His foreign policy is more martial than Bush’s policy and his history of positions with respect to the use of the military over the past ten years has been errant to say the least.

But this attention to style is not just a Republican preoccupation. Obama trumpets national health insurance and proposes a plan that fairly drips skepticism, as discussed in this article by Chris Hedges. Obama, like McCain, voted against a single payer plan that would actually provide national health care but which is ardently opposed by the insurance industry.

Obama obviously thinks that going against these powerful corporations would be foolhardy. With last year’s Energy Bill he supported largess for big oil and he voted for retroactive immunity for telecoms that violated citizens’ rights to privacy. When he talks about taking on the big corporations his plans are not as bold as some think.

My sense of it is that in terms of standing behind what they say, McCain is duplicitous and cynical, and Obama is Machiavellian and weaker than his oratory. Supporters of each candidate excuse this saying that it is what is required to get elected. Once elected there are also plenty of excuses.

In my mind the critical difference is that Obama in fact will depart from Bush’s policies and pandering to the so called “religious right.” Objectively his economic policies, like those of Clinton (the only president to balance the budget in decades), do offer a means of escaping the downward spiral of the national deficit and will benefit the middle class. On matters of foreign policy he seems more thoughtful and judicious.

My views of course may change over the next two months as we hear more from the candidates, but that’s how I see it now.


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