Political Grump of the Week

I'm not going to make any excuses-I am and always have been a left-leaning Democrat. I wasn't excited about John Kerry in 2004, but I voted for him anyway because he was better than the alternative. I am excited about Obama this year, not because I think he's a rock star, but because, for once, there is a candidate that actually matches most of my values and views. I don't believe he's perfect, I don't worship or love him. He's still a politician. But I feel pretty good about him as my option. There's nothing John McCain could say or do that would make me vote for him.

Critics of Obama say that he's full of empty rhetoric and political promises without a clear or plausible way of reaching any of his goals. I don't agree - most of the policies and ideas that I've read seem to be well-researched. Obama is nothing if not an academic - he does his research before speaking. However, I believe that no matter how well-intentioned a candidate is, very little of what they say prior to being elected matters. When it comes down to it, a President still has to work with the rest of the government to get anything done. That means compromise. That means committees and task forces.

I haven't seen any plans of McCain's that are any more plausible or clear than Obama's, some even less so. His "balanced budget" idea is not at all balanced and experts say that it will do nothing to reduce the deficit and is more likely to contribute to it. Obama's budget ideas aren't perfect either, but at focus more on tax credits for the middle class rather than tax cuts for the rich. When it comes to the budget, both candidates have a lot of work to do.

In any case, today's grump isn't based as much on policy as it is on character. I used to have quite a bit of respect for McCain, back when he was a "maverick" and stood up to the Republican party on important issues such as Bush's insane tax cuts and torture, even if I didn't agree with him on anything else. He's completely reversed positions on anything that I might have respected him for. And as I hear more about him, I dislike him even more. This is a man who left his wife to marry a rich heiress 17 years his junior. This really bothers me. NPR has done profiles of the potential first ladies - Cindy McCain, while having done philanthropic work, refuses to disclose financial and business information that has the potential to be an influence should her husband win the White House. I do respect McCain's military service, as well as serving in the Senate as long as he has. But I don't want him as President.

Michelle Obama is someone I could really respect. She's been open and honest. She has had an exemplary career. She's intelligent, an advocate for women, and down to earth. I think it says a lot about Barack's character to have a life partner like Michelle. I think she would be an asset to the White House, much like Hillary Clinton was. I think this is important.

There are a couple of other issues I'm grumpy about. I value education over military service. I don't believe that going to war is the answer to every international incident (despite the opinions of Arizona's 9/11 Memorial Committee). One of the primary things I admire about Obama is his education and intelligence. I've often said over the past 8 years that I think the leader of our country should be more intelligent that I am - I know I'm not smart enough or educated enough to be President. Yeah, I didn't go to Yale, but I didn't have rich parents, either.

14 April 2007

Finally, I have to admit that I'm concerned about McCain's age. I know a lot of septuagenarians. I respect them for their experience, their wisdom, their knowledge. But I also know that they're slowing down. They're set in their ways, many of which have no place in today's society, such as racism, fear of technology, out-dated ideas about science. It concerns me that in our increasingly high-tech society we have a presidential candidate who barely knows how to check his email. This, to me, is frighteningly out-of-touch. The President of the United States is an exceedingly demanding job. I don't think a 72-year-old man has what it takes to handle it. Not for long. That position ages people more than the years.

This post isn't nearly as organized as the arguments I was composing in my head during my bike ride to work this morning, but I suppose it suits as a rant. There was a letter to the editor in today's paper that said that Democrats should fight dirty in order to win the election, but I disagree. Another thing about Obama that I admire is that he's kept a mostly clean campaign. I hope he keeps it that way.


  1. I'm glad you have a candidate that supports your values, because that's what this campaign is going to come down to- values and ideology. I agree, character is really important. Politicians are scummy and the choices they make in the personal lives (with whom they associate, for example- Ayers, Rezko, Wright, Johnson, Holder) give us an idea of the make-up of their character.

    I suppose McCain would seem out of touch to a well-educated, career-oriented, childless thirty-something (AMP, you are far from the "average" American and you rock on with your bad-self.) I feel the same way about B.O. I could care less if the president knows how to use a Blackberry. I want experience, a history of bipartisanship (McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Lieberman to name a few), a demonstrated understanding of the US military and international affairs and, of course, values shared with myself and my family. You value intelligence (which is hard to measure, by the way) over military service. That's fine and I'm sure there are many Americans that share that value. I, for one, have met many highly educated people without the sense God gave a goose. I like the idea that J.M has devoted his life to his country through military service and then as a Senator. And I really, really admire that C.M has devoted her life not only to philanthropy but to her family. But again, this just illustrates values. For example- you mentioned the tax plans. I have real issues with B.O.'s tax plans. I am NOT a fan of the equitable distribution of wealth -like taxing the "windfall profits" of oil companies, (who have the same profit margin (or even smaller) as companies like Microsoft or PepsiCo) and then Robin Hooding it away to low-income families. Or the World Poverty Act, which sounds nice but I'm not keen on the federal government taking over $800 bil and spreading it around the world. That would certainly raise taxes, wouldn't it. And don't get me started on the Fairness Doctrine (which is unrelated to taxes but illustrates the growing role of government in everyday life). I do support efforts erase global poverty, but I don't think that it's the place of the federal government. His ideology of what a government should be and mine just do not match (I also don't think they are what the founding fathers envisioned either, but that's another post).

  2. I do agree with one thing you said- that campaign promises mean sqaut and the proof is in the pudding. And I love our system of checks and balances (when it works, that is). I have confidence in our country. If B.O. is elected I will be disapointed because he doesn't represent me as well as I believe his opponent does, but he's the president, not a dictator. I can always hope for a conservative Congress.

  3. First, I fail to see how assigning several demographic labels to me has any bearing on your argument. Are you saying, then, that supporters of McCain are uneducated, unemployed, stay-at-home mothers who AREN'T thirty-something? Somehow I doubt that. I'd venture to guess that among McCain supporters you'd find quite a number of people for whom those labels fit like a glove; similarly, among Obama supporters, you'll find quite a number of people who fall into a wide range of educational and economical statuses, as well people of any age who do or do not have children. By cataloging me and setting me on an assigned shelf, you belittle my values and beliefs. Whether or not I have children, for example, has no bearing on my political views - I would feel the same regardless. Similarly, while I do have a career, I would never consider myself "career-oriented". I work because I must, and my job is certainly not the first priority in my life. It ranks pretty far down on the list, honestly.

    Secondly, I disagree that I am not an "average" American. What exactly is an "average" American? Our country is blessed with a wide diversity of people, and I am at a complete loss to come up with anything that sets me apart.

    I'm not going to refute your arguments point-by-point, suffice to say that I disagree with them. However, on one point I do agree - that "he's the president, not a dictator." This is a concept that our current Republican administration has had some difficulty grasping, which makes me fear that McCain will continue the trend of avoiding the system of checks and balances by hiding behind bloated Executive privileges. Fortunately, I have no such fear with Obama.

  4. You're right. My post was condescending and no way to treat a friend. I was trying to make the point that while you feel that McCain is out of touch others do not. You are an exceptional person, someone I really admire and I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. Please forgive me, AMP.

  5. Apology accepted. :-)

    Considering McCain and Obama are pretty much neck and neck in the race thus far, it's quite evident that a large number of people don't feel the way I do about McCain. I accept this, but I don't agree with it.

  6. I am just so glad to see there is a candidate that represents my values and ideas. I have waited for years for a president who would stand up on the issues that I myself feel are important to the country's and the world's progression into the future. His name is...oh, crap, wait...Never mind, I will just pick one of the two who are running.

  7. McCain's affair with Cindy while married to his forst wife speaks volumes about his character, or lack thereof. If Obama had done anything remotely similar, his campaign would never have gotten off the ground.

    Nick L.

  8. Don't forget, a vote for a president impacts the courts and all the executive agency appointments. I am leary of Obama's glossyness but am happy he can speak elequently (vs. our W now) and feel strongly he will appoint people in key positions who I would appreciate. He has my vote.

    Regarding world experience, as a person who has traveled, and traveled with other Americans, it is not how much you travel it is how much you are open when you travel, how much you THINK about what you see/experience and apply it to the world as it is right now and could be. McCain, locked up in a cage for 5 years, may be a hero--if that is your definition of a hero--however it doesn't mean he can apply how the world is evolving now to our future as a country. Obama, now, I think he can.

    Until I see a presidential address by Obama, I won't believe it is possible. Sadly, I don't think our country is capable of voting in a man with his vision of our nation.

    Do you remember the optomism of life pre 9-11? Don't let fear rule you. We are the safest nation in the world (no help on that from W). If you could pick anywhere-anywhen to live where would you go? I love my country and my abilities to participate in my country right now. I pick right now to live in and that means it ain't bad, but boy oh boy could it be better. Obama has that vision.

  9. Sadly, I feel the same way - I am trying to be positive, but since I have yet to vote for a winning president, I have a sinking feeling that I will be disappointed yet again.

    I do truly believe that we are the safest nation, and I refuse to let fear dictate my decisions.


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