Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Presidential Race

We're FINALLY down to the last few hours before the Iowa caucuses. I'm getting really tired of the general mainstream media reporting, both from real news stations and from the Fox propaganda machine. The only things the media reports are (a) poll results and (b) gaffes. They may as well put it on their sports reports, since they're only reporting on the race, not the substance. And only eleven more months of this to go, too.

The other day I watched one of the Big Three evening news programs. Their headline was the Iowa race, with latest poll results, pundits, a few interviews, and other human interest stories. Then they went into some human-interest end-of-year reporting. Basically, they wasted their half hour on non-news. Then I switched over to the BBC. What a difference! They reported on things like the violence in Kenya over the stolen election (a very big deal for the African continent and our interests there), some substantive new information about the Bhutto assassination and what it means for Pakistan, and how 2000 people were stranded in Colorado due to a blizzard ... none of which was mentioned by the American mainstream media ... and then they had a few words about Iowa, not one word of which was "poll". Good stuff.

Now that we're about into the first contest of the election year, I wanted to go on record with my picks and pans. This is how I like them, not how I think they'll do in the elections. So here goes:
1. I like Obama. Yes, he's light on experience, but the past seven years has proven that experience is vastly overrated. Obama has a positive, unifying message that is inclusive in nature and reaches out. He's a little short on details, but then, as President, he doesn't pass laws, he only suggests and then implements after Congress is done mucking around with it. He's been beaten up a bit during the campaign over the past year and has come out of it looking strong, steady, upbeat, pretty honest, and a good leader.
2. My number 2 pick goes to Edwards. If you want details, look at his plans: he was first to spell out the nitty-gritty of what he would do, and I like what he says. I also like his populism, the fact that he is campaigning for the little guys against the big guys, and his concern about the growing shift in wealth from the middle and lower classes to the richest. On the negative side, he had the worst attendance record of any Senator and didn't really accomplish anything. And his mega-million damage awards he won as a trial lawyer have upped insurance premiums for businesses across the country.
3. My number 3 pick is Hillary. She's smart and knows her way around Washington. Of all the candidates, she best knows how to get things done between the White House and Congress. Her biggest issue is her last name, which automatically sparks rabid hatred from the right-wing loonies. I'm tired of that sort of thing, and this country desperately needs to put the Bush-Clinton-Bush years of partisan extremism behind it. If she's elected, she'll do a good job as President, but the Republicans will have you believe she's Satan incarnate, regardless of what she accomplishes.
4. Bill Richardson comes in next. Every time I've heard him talk, or read something he says, he's made sense ... note that I certainly haven't heard all that much simply because the media doesn't give the second-tier candidates any coverage.
5. Any of the other Democrat candidates would be my #5 choice.

Note that I haven't mentioned any Republicans yet. None of 'em have said anything that would make me vote for any of them even if they were the only ones in the race. Although they claim to have a "big tent", in reality their whole platform is built on exclusivity and Nancy Reaganism "just say no". You want to immigrate into this country? No. You want a peaceful resolution to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, Israel/Palestine, Pakistan, or Sudan? No, bomb the crap out of 'em. You want to work with the rest of the world, instead of ordering them around? No. You want to work for a cleaner environment? No. You want to reduce our crippling budget deficit? No. You want to make sure our health care system reaches everybody? No.

And look at the things the Republicans are for: banning gay marriage, building a wall across our borders (they're not really doing anything about the root causes, or improving port security, or any of that stuff; they're just handing out big contracts to build a frickin' wall), handing out monstrous no-bid contracts in the name of "downsizing" the government, and staying the course in Iraq. Any of that make sense? No.

The candidates themselves are frightening. John McCain would've had my vote seven years ago, but now he's older than even Ronnie Reagan was (and Reagan was probably going senile during his last couple of years in office) and he's wedded to the Iraq fiasco. Rudy is a nutcase, a certifiable loonie, who ran New York like a capo runs a mob family and on September 10, 2001, was about the least popular man in the city. Romney will say and do anything to get elected and all I've heard out of him is pandering to the right, which is not exactly my direction of choice. Huckabee seems like a nice guy, but when you dig deeper into his personal beliefs, things get alarming. Anybody who believes that the earth is only a few thousand years old, as he does, should be barred from the post. And then there's Fred "I'm not a politician but I play one on TV" Thompson, who might or might not be actually running a campaign.

So there ya go. For me it's clear: any Democratic candidate is better than any Republican candidate, hands down. At least this year.

You want real change? How about Dennis Kucinich versus Ron Paul? Wouldn't that be fun?

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