Saturday, July 12, 2008

I am Barack's bitch

Can't help loving that man of mine

Obama owns me. Perhaps he suspects and is taking advantage of it. In recent days he's pissed me off a few times, but signed, sealed, delivered—I'm his!

This FISA crap? Maybe the statute needs revision and updating, but any version that pleases George W. Bush is guaranteed to be bad. We should have let it wait until we have someone in the White House who regards the U.S. Constitution as more than a scrap of disposable tissue. I'm sure, however, that Sen. Obama wants it off the table so that Republicans can't point at him and scream that he doesn't want to protect our nation. (He should protect it from George!) Obama's cover story is that he promised to oppose an earlier version of the FISA bill, not this new improved “compromise” version that's on its way to the president for his signature. Sorry, senator. That fig leaf is way too small. You are showing, bro!

Faith-based initiatives? It all deserves to be swept away with a broad broom. In case no one has noticed, nearly eight years of church-state entanglement has done nothing to bring God's blessings showering down upon our nation. Quite the opposite, in fact. If God exists (perhaps with the sort of twisted sense of humor that would explain George Bush), then he must support separation of church and state. Otherwise why would he smite us with fires in California, floods in the Midwest, home foreclosures across the nation, sky-high gas prices, and surging unemployment?

But Barack says he plans to mend it rather than end it. Oh, sorry! That's Bill Clinton's line about affirmative action. When Bill used it, it made sense. When Obama applies it to Bush's faith-based initiatives program, it doesn't.

It's absolutely inevitable that the mass media will fall in love with whatever narrative they enjoy the most. In 2000 it was mocking Al Gore as a liar and serial exaggerator just because they didn't like him. (Thanks a lot, guys! You stuck us with Bush!) In 2004 it was reporting the allegations of the Swift Boat liars without noting that none of them had actually served with John Kerry or had any first-hand information about Kerry's service in Vietnam.

Precisely what the agreed-upon narrative for 2008 will be we don't know yet. Presumably the press will shy away from anything too overtly racist. Those subterranean rumbles must be discreetly coded rather than broadcast in the clear. We can be sure, however, that the old reliable flip-flopping charge will get another lap around the track. It certainly applies to McCain, though he's been getting off pretty easy so far. Obama has made it easier for the media to latch onto the flip-flop meme because in his case he's actually changed his positions in some bad directions, as noted above. Now he'll be pilloried for changing his position even when he doesn't, as with Iraq. (He's being accused of backing off his 16-month timeline for withdrawal even though he's long been on record as saying it would be done carefully and in consultation with military commanders. How dare he! Obama should commit to a plan that he will follow no matter what!)

In brief, Obama has disappointed me in a few ways, some significant, others not. But he hasn't come anywhere close to turning me away from him. I supported Hillary throughout the primary season and I followed her into her rival's camp last month. Virtually all of Sen. Clinton's supporters did the same thing and are now lined up behind Obama. (The noisiest Hillary holdouts are, in fact, most likely frauds. You can tell from their websites, which exhort dispirited Clinton supporters to vote for McCain, but also sport links to Ha! You GOP shills aren't Democrats at all!)

Hillary Clinton made the point that it's time to end divisions in the Democratic ranks and devote ourselves to electing Sen. Obama in November. She's absolutely right. Our second choice is now the only choice. There is no alternative.

What? Did you say Nader? (Are you an idiot?) McKinney? (Yeah, you are stone-cold crazy—unless you mean Mark, but he's Canadian.) Barr? (I just want him to do well enough in Georgia to deny McCain the state.) Grownups understand that either Barack Obama or John McCain will be the next president of the United States. The fringe candidates are protest votes, and I have no interest in being a smug loser whose political purity is greater than that of the major parties. (Yeah, being purer than the major political parties is such a challenge.)

People have a right to cast a protest vote in some grand political gesture, but that's what helped George Bush claim the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore by half a million ballots. The whole nation has been a loser ever since. I want to win!

And it's not just winning for the sake of winning. There are big issues at stake. For me, one of the biggest is the Supreme Court. I don't want a court that will accept Bush administration policies on executive privilege, warrantless wiretapping, Guantánamo, executive signing statements, intelligent design creationism, gay rights, reproductive freedom, and habeas corpus. If Sen. Obama wants to lose my vote, all he has to say is, “You know, I think we need more Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.” That's what it would take to drive me screaming away and gibbering in my safe place until the election season is over. No more Republican appointments to the Supreme Court! If Obama can save us from that, a lot of the rest is mere detail.

It's that important. I'm voting for Obama. (I hope he doesn't kick me too often.)


Anonymous said...

People have a right to cast a protest vote in some grand political gesture, but that's what helped George Bush claim the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore by half a million ballots. The whole nation has been a loser ever since.

I actually have a question on this point (maybe suitable for its own post). How do you sway a Naderite who insists that he didn't cost anything in 2000?

Not that he didn't swing the election the other way, but that it wouldn't have made any difference at all over the last eight years if Gore had won. I hear this and I have to admit, it floors me. It's enough of a shock to the system that I'm basically reduced to sputtering "you can't possibly be serious", but I have no coherent points to make.

I think it might be connected to having so many instances of things that W (and his administration) has screwed up that it's hard to choose. But there's also an aspect of "how do you know what would have happened under Gore?"

So how do you solve a problem like a Naderite?

Zeno said...

Wow! People like that should be under the watchful eye of a brain care specialist. I suspect they're beyond the reach of reason.

Just one simple example: If Kerry had ousted Bush in 2004, Roberts would not be chief justice of the Supreme Court and Sam Alito would not be giving Scalia a reliable third vote (he already had a reliable second vote in Thomas). Several 5-4 decisions would probably have gone the other way.

A more complicated example, in the case of Gore versus Bush: During the transition period in December 2000 and January 2001, the Clinton administration tried very hard to persuade the incoming Bush people that keeping a lid on terrorism was going to be a major problem. The Bushies ignored them and downgraded the anti-terrorism effort. They downgraded it so much that even an August 2001 memo titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." was greeted with a yawn. Five weeks later it was 9/11. A Gore administration would have had several Clinton holdovers who would have given the anti-terrorism efforts continuity, with a much greater chance of having averted the attack on the World Trade Center.

We cannot know if things would actually have turned out different in the case of 9/11 or other major events in U.S. history, but the idea that everything would have been just the same flies in the face of simple reason.

And does your friend really truly believe that a President Gore would have spent eight years ignoring global warming and denying California the opportunity to set stricter emission standards? If so, there is no help for him.

For the rest, just make sure the Naderite doesn't neglect his meds.

Anonymous said...

I'd ask his wife to, but she seems to just ignore his bluster.

Yeah. I move across the country every year, razing what passes for a social structure to the ground and the Naderite has a wife. And they both have jobs at the CIA. Now you know what our intelligence community hires to do their math.

Zeno said...

Oh, damn! Unapologetic, that's one of the scariest things I've heard in a long time!

Amanda said...

What you don't get it that for centuries people have been trying to take on the power of the world (why do you think a history to present is war-filled?) These man are smarter than we (well in the sense that they know what's going on and we don't) we are like lab rats running around while they monitor and cage our freedoms...
everything actions they make is a direct watchful.