Briefly, why I’m supporting Obama.
- The Economy. McCain, despite his recent mumblings, is a laizzes-faire deregulationist. He voted for the 1999 Gramm Deregulation Act, which basically let the brokerages get away with everything that fell apart this week. (Yes, Clinton signed it.) His chief economic advisors are lobbyists. His major campaign donors are large business. He has mouthed words of reform, but his actions in his campaign show that his approach to the economy will be to continue to steer the government’s money to the wealthy, from tax policy on down. I appreciate his stance on earmarks, but all the earmarks in the budget don’t match what we just spent to bail out AIG. Obama has shown that the role of Government is to regulate and moderate markets. His economic advisors are academicians, think tanks, and economists. His go-to guy is Joe Biden, who voted against Gramm in 1999. He’s raised nearly a billion dollars from individuals within the $2600-per-person cap, without tapping corporations. His tax plan restores taxes on the super-wealthy. Digging us out of this hole is gonna be hard, but McCain seems to intend to keep digging us in.
- War. We thought that that would be the big issue, and it might be in the next 6 weeks. But Obama is right, we have to end it, if for no other reason than we need to spend the money bailing out failed banks here at home. Bush is quietly implementing Obama’s plan. And McCain’s approach to Iran is war-war, not jaw-jaw, and I don’t think we have the men or the money for a second front in the War On Their Oil.
- Oil. Yes, I’m disappointed with Obama’s newfound affection for drilling. I want drilling stopped, because I want petroleum stopped. It may take a century (and we may not have a century), but we need to use live-earth power (solar, wind, tidal) instead of dead-earth power (oil, coal, gas) to power humanity in the 21st Century and beyond. Because the dead-earth power will run out, and it inevitably creates CO2.
- Choices. McCain has forged a three-way coalition among the monied conservative elite, the militant neocons, and the movement conservatives (the latter missing until Palin was brought on board). He’s shown that his choices for cabinet positions will follow suit: the same crowd of hacks, cronies, zealots, and self-dealers that clot the Executive branch today. Bush has driven out the people who respect the craft of governance and replaced them with ideologues and opportunists. The Justice Department became an arm for Christian fundamentalists to rig elections. The Defense Department became a more-than-usual direct funding pipeline to campaign executives and donors through mercenary armies. And there is no sign that McCain will be any different. Our one hope with Obama is that his people will get in before the Bush folk burn everything to cover their tracks, so we have a ghost of a chance to find and prosecute the malfeasants.
Obama says it’s about hope. I hope for a Government that serves its people rather than serves itself. I hope for an Administration that respects the Constitution and the law. I hope for Cabinet officials who see science and facts as tools to guide decisions, rather than obstacles to deny, conceal, or twist beyond recognition. And so far, from the McCain campaign I’ve seen little but the most cynical, deceitful, desperate political calculation in recent history.
McCain of 2000 might have made a Republican president acceptable to Democrats; the McCain of 2008 is so devoid of integrity and so under the command of the people who wish to destroy the parts of government they can’t exploit that it’s extremely dangerous to consider him as a possible Executive.
I value and respect good government. I revere the Constitution and the rights of individuals. I’ve been extremely lucky to work at a large, successful corporation that has not had one hand in the Government’s pocket, and yet has thrived. The Government has built highways to my house, airports for my vacations, schools for my kids, and (up to 8 years ago) an image of America as a land of opportunity, freedom, and hope. I want that back, and Obama tells me he’s going to try to deliver it, so he has my vote.