September 2008

The Candidates
Where Is “None of the Above” Now that We Really Need Him?

by Bruce A. Clark

The time has come when members of this country’s electorate must take a side and start pushing for a candidate in the coming November presidential election. For many, it involves deciding to get on the bandwagon of the person they despised a few weeks or months ago, instead of the person they really liked, but who dropped out of the race. People do all of this just so the person they really, really hate can’t win and become president. I say people must take a side, but truly the only ones who must take a side are those who choose to continue playing the game called “lesser evil” politics. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think that there is a lesser evil among the two leading candidates. For very different reasons, both Obama and McCain would be disasters for the country.

Obama

Barack Obama is the latest chapter in the Democratic Party’s great game on the American electorate. Anyone who has ever read James Clavell’s historical novel Tai-Pan, about the rise of a British trade dynasty in the far east, will remember a similar game played by Chinese pirates. They would have a captive on a pirate island, seized from some trading ship, and after a couple of weeks the pirates would tell the captive that rescuers were on the way, but as part of the release negotiations, the captive would have to give up a leg. The captive, given the alternative, would agree to having a leg cut off. After another couple of weeks, the pirates would say that rescue was even closer, but this time it would be an arm. Then another leg, then another arm, until the captive died of shock or blood loss. Later ships visiting such islands would would find corpses lying on the beaches in various stages of limblessness.

The Democrats have been playing the game admirably for half a century, at least.

The list could go on and on. From the FDR years through the Johnson administration, the Democrats could say that they had brought benefits to the common people of this country. Since that time, not only have the benefits been fewer and farther between, but the Democrats have participated in the dismantling of the good things the party had helped create in the past.

The Speech

Barack Obama delivered a terrific speech on accepting the nomination for president at the party’s Denver convention. He covered all of the bases and pressed all of the buttons, and had the attendees, whom he addressed as “Democrats,” cheering. Obama challenged his opponent, John McCain, and made lots of promises about what he was going to do to improve our lives. But what did it truly signify for real “change?” Not a great deal, I think.

The Democrats’ new candidate hasn’t really accomplished very much, despite his stellar résumé and academic credentials. We don’t really know if he has the ability to muscle his promises through Congress because he’s never demonstrated that; he’s obviously no Lyndon Johnson. We aren’t really sure if he would have the will even if he did have the ability, given the way he’s been slip-sliding on some of the issues.

In his speech and on his record, Obama has shown that he really isn’t all that different from other Democrats, although he is clearly different from the current occupant of the White House. He wants moderates, unions, liberals and progressives to support him but he’s offering very little other than a return to the good old days of Democratic Party dominance. Except for saying that he would prefer negotiations to war, his views on foreign policy differ not in the least from the mainstream. With the exception of describing the marriage of his parents, he didn’t use the work “union” at all, not even to throw a bone. He said nothing about fixing the erosion of civil liberties, nor about overturning NAFTA, nor about restoring American heavy industry, nor about actually returning the funds the government has “borrowed” from the Social Security trust fund.

One thing Obama did say will continue the distrust many people already have for him. He reiterated, using different words, his support for “common sense” firearms restrictions. Were he merely supporting current law, he wouldn’t need to mention the subject, so he was clearly talking about new restrictions. His record on this subject supports that contention, and it is worsened by his decision to take Joe Biden as a running mate. Biden is one of the Senate’s most rabid and vicious gun control advocates, who happily stereotypes law-abiding people in his bigoted desire to take their rights away. It makes his candidacy extremely worrisome to millions of Americans, even many who would otherwise find his politics attractive. Obama, like most of the rest of the Democratic leadership, fails to understand the visceral nature of this subject. They do not comprehend that it is not just another issue, but is one of the principal, fundamental liberties on which this country was founded. It’s a matter of character: a candidate who cannot be trusted to uphold the Second Amendment cannot be trusted for anything else.

The ability to make a good speech is not to be underrated, if it’s used the way FDR did in his regular “fireside chats,” to educate the electorate and to explain the measures he was moving through Congress. Speeches by themselves are, however, worse than useless, because they serve to maintain the illusion that the speechmaker and his or her party are trying to help the public when they are actually delivering a knife in the back, as the Democrats have been doing for the last two generations.

McCain

The Republican Party has never been a friend to the working person, at least not in the recent past. It is the party that

This list could go on and on, too. My parents were life-long Republicans, but they would not recognize the right-wing party of today and would despise the vile, mendacious propaganda machine that the Republicans use. That apparatus, with its dishonest characterizations of political opponents, character assassination and win-by-any-means attitude, would make Dr. Goebbels proud. This is not to say that millions of honest moderates and conservatives should not express their views and be represented in government! But the fact is that the Republican Party doesn’t really represent them anymore. They are the pawns of the Republican leadership in the same way that the leaders of American unions have been the pawns of the Democrats: giving much, getting back very little, and not having enough vision to break the habit.

John McCain is much more of a known quantity than is Barack Obama. He hasn’t given his big speech yet, but he has made his views and intentions clear:

A Big Campaign Mistake

A year or so ago, there were a lot of candidates for president. In general, they were worse and worser. There was, however, one candidate who was a little different from the others in his party, Bill Richardson. Unfortunately, Richardson never really realized (publicly, anyway, and not in terms of campaign strategy) the real value of the differences between himself and his fellow Democrats. The core of his program was similar to the rest. What he emphasized was his experience. He was heads and shoulders above the rest in that regard, especially the two remaining candidates. Along with an excellent educational résumé, he had not only been a governor, but had real-world governmental experience at the federal level, including foreign policy.

Where Richardson really differed from the other Democrats, however, was in his attitude toward the Second Amendment. He not only supported it but, as governor of a southwestern state, he really supported it. He not only defended the ability of law-abiding people to carry concealed firearms, he had a permit himself and exercised it. His candidacy would have been a clean break from the Democratic Party past that has caused so many problems for the party, not to mention the people who suffered from the organization’s position supporting silly gun-control laws. The Democrats have forced everyone who cares about their Second Amendment rights to vote Republican, regardless of their positions on various political issues.

Not all people who vote Republican support the party on all issues. Many would vote Democrat were it not for the candidates’ positions on gun control. Bill Richardson had the potential to subtract votes from the Republican column and add them to the Democrats’ total. In an otherwise even election, that could be the difference between winning and losing. Richardson never caught on to that and didn’t forcefully emphasize this distinction from the rest of the herd, and no one else in the party leadership figured it out, either. Unfortunately, that’s spilt milk. Perhaps in the next election, Richardson will make better use of his understanding of the needs of the public to stand up and see to their own protection, since no one else can or will do it for them.

Pick Your Poison

The two main candidates for president in 2008 couldn’t be more different. However, neither shows much promise as a president that will reverse the decline that this country has suffered over the last few decades. Moreover, neither McCain nor Obama offer much that the average working person can rely on to improve his or her future. The roots of the country’s modern problems lie with the effective control of the government by big business. The candidates don’t publicly recognize this, never mind try to correct it. Without curing that problem, the country will continue to slide into being a third-world type of economy with declining standards of living, education, environmental protection and on-the-job safety and health. What a choice!!

Help Unlooked For?

Both Obama and McCain currently face lawsuits that they are Constitutionally unable to serve as president, on grounds of not being natural-born citizens. Not being a lawyer, I have no idea of the likelihood of success of either of the suits. But it sounds interesting to me to have both candidates ruled off the ballot on such grounds, and have different candidates in new campaigns that are not so onerous in length. I wish them luck.