Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fallibility of Politicians

Sultan Knish has a post up in which he accuses liberals of treating their politicians like infallible idols. Not at all like conservatives and say, this guy.

Particularly charming were his comments on Al Gore:

a political hack who went crazy after losing the election and decided that he's the environmental messiah

As opposed, of course, to our present Commander in Chief, a political ignoramus who went crazy after "winning" the election and decided he's the messiah, period (or maybe just Pope, it's hard to tell).

For the record: I know full well Gore and Obama are fallible. I also know I have no interest in electing McCain, particularly as he shifts ever rightward to convince evangelicals and war/immigration hawks to forget his "maverick" past. The new McCain will not fight against the conservative pet issues that I oppose, and will appoint judges that take the country in a direction I feel is misguided.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter how slimy or pseudo-Muslim you say Obama is. I'm not interested in shoring up the Republicans for another eight years. So I will vote for the other candidate (Clinton or Obama), fully aware that they are probably not even a fraction of what their spin doctors say they are (ditto for McCain). But simply because our pet issues coincide more. I can't speak for other Dems, but I get irked with the Wright stuff (and the closet Muslim stuff, and all the other bull-crap) because it's poisoning the well, it's dirty politics, and because, more than anything, they're all so obviously acts of false outrage and clutching at straws. Most Obama-bitching has more to do with politics as usual than any real principles of transparency or truth, or concern about "extremism".

The reality is conservatives don't want ANY Dem anywhere near the White House, they were panicked that nothing seemed to stick to Obama, and now that they can smear him as a would-be terrorist who spends his free time burning (instead of wearing) miniature American flags while French-kissing Farakhan, they're going to keep it up until November. The right can bleat away all it wants but it shouldn't expect us to keep paying attention while they scream the same old conspiracy theories for the next five months.

More from the peanut gallery at Political Mavens:

Are you really comfortable with Michelle Obama not being proud of America as an adult? She felt no pride as an American when she heard how Todd Beamer said “Let’s Roll” when trying to overcome the terrorists on the plane that went down in Shankesville, Pennsylvania?

I'm not sure I feel "pride" at that. More than anything I feel sorry for the people who were on the plane and their families. I suppose I'm "happy" that they were able to make the most of a bad situation. But pride? Not specifically.

No pride, when the Berlin Wall came down, freeing hundreds of millions of people, because of Ronald Reagan’s tough policies towards Socialism? Is “no pride in America” what you want in a First Lady?

Socialism and Communism aren't the same thing. Am I supposed to feel pride that you don't know what you're talking about? And no, I could give EIGHT THOUSAND CRAPS about the First Lady. She has no official function whatsoever. As long as she isn't getting driving drunk, making a sex tape on the internet, or helping Bin Laden tunnel under the White House, my standards for her (or him, hi Bill) are pretty low.

Can you overlook the “post-racial” Obama’s revealing “typical white people” slip? Imagine if John McCain had said “typical black person” in an interview: The race would’ve been over.

No it wouldn't, because the spin doctors would have immediately jumped in and accused Obama of hypocrisy for bringing up race, and then wrapped it up in an anti-PC veneer. And speaking of spin, what about the fact that people are still carping on about Obama's Jackass Reverend while ignoring McCain's shameful about face on Jerry Falwell and embrace of John Hagee? How's that for a double-standard? I can't figure out if that's a racial thing or a liberal/conservative thing, or just a giant honking blind spot, but it's been driving me batty for months.

Can you overlook the candidate’s personal trashing of his living grandmother, as a way to deflect attention from his association with Reverend Wright? If he would throw overboard the woman who sacrificed all to raise him and give him a good life, why should we think he’d be loyal to America? He can’t even bring himself to wear a small pin with an American flag on it!

"Trashing" your relatives: bad. American flag pins: utterly irrelevant.

Read my lips: I DON'T CARE about American flag pins. They have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. These are all distractions. The right is so desperate to keep a liberal out of the White House they will bring up anything they can think of. How have we gotten to the point of quibbling over LAPEL PINS?

Can you overlook the clearly elitist sentiments that small town America is a bunch of gun and G-d-loving nuts? Oops, scratch that: most on the left already do think that.

Yes, I do think there's some truth to it, just like I thought there was truth to Kerry's comment last year. I think Obama was stupid for saying it in public, certainly in such an un-nuanced way (I think you could rephrase it in a way that didn't sound condescending). And I also recognize that there's an elitism present in the sentiment. But I still think there's a grain of truth there. And incidentally, small-town, or "heartland" America is just as elitist about cities, and particularly about California and San Francisco, so my heart is hardly bleeding over it.

So yes, I can overlook a whole bunch of things. And NOT because I love Obama so much. Months ago, yes, I thought he was "super-inspiring," and he might still have a chance to reassert that image. But at this point, it simply is a matter of political expediency. If the Republicans can do it, so I can I. Am I irked by Obama's political mistakes? Certainly. Am I mad that he is less squeaky-clean than originally represented. Yes. Is all this enough to make me support John McCain? Hell no. Do I think Obama is actually a closet-anything? Absolutely not. Do I think he will bend over if America is attacked again? No. At this point, any of the candidates (including McCain, because of his past image) will have to work pretty hard to shore up credibility vis-a-vis terrorism. So no, I'm not worried.

And, incidentally, I don't think we're getting out of Iraq anytime soon, and I don't think we'll fix the Palestinian problem anytime soon. But there's a difference between accepting these as livable status-quo scenarios and seeing them as problems to be addressed and worked through. Eight years of Bush only occasionally poking the Israelis and Palestinians doesn't seem to have accomplished much. Continuing in Iraq with little concept of an end-goal or how to achieve- and leave- a stable country behind is just stupid. Accepting from day one that we will be there for 100 years is madness. These are just a few positions that I have which dovetail closer with the Democrats than the Republicans. And I haven't even started talking about wedge issues like healthcare, economy, "social values", and the like. Obama is not Bin Laden, Stalin, Hitler, or any of the other strawmen you keep tossing up. Neither, for that matter, is Hillary. Incidentally, I don't think McCain is such a terrible person, either. But a McCain Presidency will assist people like this wacko in asserting their agenda:

What would our demands be?
  1. We demand an end to abortion – now.

  2. We demand Planned Parenthood be defunded and pay back all tax money received where they have violated state statutory rape reporting laws.

  3. We demand marriage between a man and a woman remain the only recognized, protected and subsidized union. All counterfeit unions will not to be legally recognized.

  4. Freedom of religion will be practiced unhindered in every facet of America including public schools, the workplace, media, Internet and the public square.

  5. Freedom of speech will not be relegated to "zones" but rather practiced in every corner of society including schools, the workplace, media, and the public square.

  6. Judges who usurp their authority will be automatically removed from office.

  7. Executive officers and legislatures shall not obey illegal court decisions but rather remove the judges who made them.

  8. We demand that any school who puts a minor in harm's way in violation of all 50 state laws by promoting dangerous behavior, including homosexuality and abortion, will automatically lose its public funding.

  9. Creationism will be taught in public schools as an alternative theory.

  10. The government school monopoly will be broken with tax vouchers for parents to choose their child's education including homeschooling.

Needless to say, I'm not buying. Specifically regarding points 1-3, 8-9, and, given past history, I'm strongly suspicious of 4-7. 10 I don't know enough about to have an opinion.

On international issues, I like to think that I'm slightly more fair-minded than your stereotypical "lefty." I don't necessarily agree with a lot of conservative positions, but I at least try to understand them. On domestic issues, I'm pretty far-left. With these two political orientations, the Dems would have to be really, really, bad for me to support any Republican. Because the reality is that I wouldn't be electing McCain, I would be electing his party, who, particularly in the past several decades, has come to represent quite a lot of things I strongly oppose. Had McCain stuck to his "moderate" path from 2000, things might be different. But he's a different guy now, and there's no reason to think he would defect back to moderate-ness if elected on the backs of right-wingers. So he's made my choice for me.

Back to Sultan's original point: Obama doesn't have to be infallible. Not by a long shot. He isn't a Republican and he isn't worshiping at THEIR altar of Guns, God, Gays, and 100 years in Iraq. That will be enough for me.

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