I like McCain.

Okay, I know this post is two years old. Sorry I haven't gotten around to it sooner. But there are a lot of reasons why I thought, two years ago, I could stomach McCain. Before Obama came around, I thought, of all the Republicans out there, I, a life-time Socialist-Democrat, could perhaps vote for McCain. He was more against the war than Bush. His stance on immigration and the environment were palatable. (It's hard to remember how much higher the standards have risen with the rise of Obama.) But most of all, because of his background, his stance on torture was actually right, and not in pursuit of crimes against humanity as the Bush regime desires.

Which is why I get exceptionally angry at the recent rise in accusations of flip-flopping directed towards Obama. Many of us remember how we once (relatively) liked McCain, if there were no other options. Many of us have been astonished at how very much he has reversed his positions, and, I say this with no political gloss, truly become a clone of George Bush. I today see really no difference between the two- except that McCain hasn't actually done the sins of Bush. Which I suppose is marginally better- that you only want to commit the sins, but haven't yet done so.

For the alternative, we have Obama, who has begun to move towards the center, as you do in any general election, but it is more glaringly obvious because of this super-long primary season this year. Yes, my left-wing bleeding-heart self is disappointed at these moves toward the center, but in truth, they are quite minor. Fox and other Republican establishments are all over the airwaves now, declaring that Obama is now calling for a responsible and gradual withdrawal, instead of an immediate one. They seem to have forgotten all of Obama's debates, where he said he would immediately begin withdrawing, but we should be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. I remember. I remember thinking, I wish he would just withdraw everyone immediately, but I understand how that isn't possible to say, if you want to be elected President. I understand that I could never be elected.

Saddest of all, the Republicans may be able to sway the American consciousness, stricken as it is with Short-Term Memory Syndrome. They woke up and realized their candidate was flip-flopping all over the place, and decided in Rovian style that they had to immediately accuse their opponent, en masse, of the sins of their candidate. But truth has never been an impediment to these ideologues. They fear the light, for they do not understand it, but they are intimately familiar with the ways of darkness.


Beholden to No One

Everywhere today people are talking about Obama withdrawing from the public financing system. Let's just put the cards on the table right off the bat. Yes, he broke his word, and yes, that's disappointing. He should just admit that. He did say that he would accept public financing, and rigorously pursue this with the Republican candidate.

But it would have been political suicide to accept public financing. Whereas he has raised vast amount more than McCain, and Obama and Clinton together more than double McCain, the RNC has a war chest about 10 times larger than that of the DNC. And the National Committees have no limits on what they can raise and put into the national campaigns. And yes, so far, the only outside groups who have supported candidates have been Democratic ones, most notably MoveOn.org. Does anyone beyond poddy training seriously believe the Republican outside groups aren't far behind?

We seem to be in such great pursuit of the letter of the law that we have forgotten the spirit. Why do we support public financing? For finance reform. And why do we support finance reform? Because we want everything given in Presidential campaigns to be completely honest and ethical. Obama is the only candidate who has refused all money from PACs and lobbyists, insisting on small donations only. Through that method, he has raised more money than any candidate in history. This means he is beholden to no one, and no special interests will control him when he is President- unlike McCain. Which after all was the original purpose behind campaign finance reform. Yes, Obama went back on his word- because he found a better way to be ethical about financial support.

Oh, and thank you Obama, for insisting on only money from those supporting your campaign, rather than from taxpayers in general. I wish the Republicans would get on board with reducing unfair tax burdens, but then, that's why I'm a Democrat.


Why should I be proud of this country?

Cindy McCain has recently started a smack-down on Michelle Obama, over Michelle's words, months earlier:
...for the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country. And
not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry
for change.”

I am so tired of the same old politics. Why can't the media look at the meat of the issues? Since they won't, let's break it down.

Michelle at no time said she was proud of her country for the first time. Let's just get it out there- Cindy and others are lying, and knowingly. Michelle said for the first time, she was really proud. Anyone who has a basic knowledge of English understands that this implies that the speaker has been proud in the past, but is now extra proud.

Why was she proud? Not for a self-serving reason, but because, for the first time in her adult life, there is a move to change the status quo, to shift our paradigms, to do something new. I echo this. For the first time in my life, since I didn't live in the 60s, I'm seeing this too. And this is really what the media should be focusing on- that Michelle was pointing out a sea change in the way we do politics. Instead, sadly they chose to focus on the lowest common denominator, and rallied around the Fox flag.

Let us go deeper. I think it is great that our country is ready for change. But what is the problem with pointing out that there are reasons to lack pride in one's country? When did that become an evil? How can we grow unless we recognize our faults? Though Michelle didn't say this, she would not have been at fault to say, "For the first time, I'm proud of my country." There is nothing wrong with saying you are not proud of your country; that your country makes mistakes. Just as with individuals, it is a sign of maturity if you can recognize errors, and work to change them.

Deeper still. How is it even okay to be proud of your country? Here I go beyond what Michelle is capable of, for I recognize that the candidate and his family have to be patriotic, if they're to be elected. But for the rest of us, has everyone forgotten how often patriotism leads to war? Patriotism inherently entails putting my country first, saying my country is better than others just because it's my country. And this always leads to forcing other countries to see it your way. And for those who are Christians, patriotism is idolatry.

And this brings us to the deepest level. Why Michelle was wrong in her statement. This mass forgetfulness in our nation, where we no longer remember that pride is a bad thing. Sure, being proud in another is something different. But pride is one of the seven deadly sins, if the most overlooked one. It does come before the fall. Pride is where I focus on myself, or my group, rather than God, or others. I start to think I am great, and too great, when I am proud. To extend that to my group is precisely that- extending the boundaries of my own ego. And to Michelle's credit, the rest of her statement indicates that she's not supporting her own ego- rather, she's proud of what others are doing, and bolstering them up. Which leaves me with only one thing wrong with Michelle's statement- a grammatical error in the use of the word "pride". Which surely isn't the biggest issue of this campaign?


Have you chosen your VP yet? I have.

Now you can participate! New site, along the lines of March Madness but more fun, lets you pick from groups of two your pick for VP, and then advances on preselected dates based on popularity of participants. Totally unscientific, but interesting. Visit VP Madness. A corollary to my polls on the Left.


Why, Obama? Why?

Why didn't you listen to me, Barack? I said there was a reason I soured on Hillary. I liked her initially. I was hoping she'd be President. But then she went and heavily courted the Israeli vote in order to win the New York Senate seat. She even apologized for greeting Arafat's wife in the traditional manner. I was disgusted by such racism, and so decided at that point long ago to not support her. She could have advocated a neutral position on Israel and Palestine, continuing to be an honest broker, and able to argue that both sides need to be defended and supported. There are plenty of Arabs and Muslims in New York City as well. But she didn't do this. She went way over to the extreme, like nearly every other American politician.

Now, today, Obama, you started down the same slippery slope. I didn't even fully have a chance to get excited about you're winning the nomination. These weren't the words you expressed in Audacity of Hope. There you expressed something more equitable, at least, more equitable than we commonly see in American politicians. But today you spoke of an unending Jewish nation of Israel, and an undivided Israeli Jerusalem forever. You actually supported a racist state. I'm not here saying Israel is inherently racist. But rather, you supported the idea that Israel should be made of one race or religion only.

Yes, you are to be commended for speaking of the need for a contiguous and viable Palestinian state. But you missed an opportunity to speak of one state, uniting different factions, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, where the rights of everyone are guaranteed and protected. Isn't that what you talk about constantly here in the US? Why not speak of that in Palestine and Israel as well? Why not speak of the need for both sides to act justly, to speak against terrorism and also against Israeli apartheid?

I know you need to get elected, and so you need to speak in moderated terms. I don't expect miracles from you; I know you probably aren't going to be as equitable on this issue as most people are outside the U.S. But you could have taken that opportunity to strive for justice, and speak of being a good friend to Israel by calling Israel to act justly. Today I was disappointed.


Let every vote count.

Lately, Hillary has been stating, many times, that she has won the popular vote. She makes this assertion by including Florida (where she campaigned against party rules but Obama didn't), including Michigan (where she was on the ballot but Obama wasn't), and not including four caucus states, where the popular vote was estimated but never officially reported. Hillary has even run ads in South Dakota making the specious claim that she won the popular vote- and from the most recent polls, has managed to fool the voters there as well.

That a candidate can win a caucus state with no official popular vote reported highlights the difficulty in trying to argue that the popular vote is important. Rather, in agreement with Hillary Clinton (of October, 2007), the popular vote doesn't matter- it's the delegates. When you have a caucus state, there's a range of individuals voting for delegates at the precinct level, and then a range of delegates at every level representing the next level up. It's the system we run by- a system not guaranteed in any way constitutionally. The Supreme Court has regularly upheld that primary and caucus votes are private party votes, and so there is no constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, on that level.

There is a certain irony that, if Michigan and Florida had waited, considering the extended primary season, their vote would have mattered a good deal more, even ignoring being seated as full delegations. For that matter, Puerto Rico could have been more of a deciding factor if they had stuck with their original June 7th date, rounding off the primaries, in a cheaper caucus. There has been regularly a fear that states won't get their dues, so they act on that fear, and lose out on the reward they would otherwise have gained.

But still, I want my vote to count. If I'm in a state that followed the rules of the private party, that didn't try to jump ahead and steal the thunder of another state, I feel my vote ought to count.

But I'm in one of those four caucus states that Hillary would exclude in order to maintain that she won the primary vote. I'm in Washington. So I ask.
How dare you, Ms. Clinton, try to strip me of my voting rights within the party? How dare you suggest that my vote doesn't matter? You tell the superdelegates that you have won the popular vote, only on the back of my disenfrachisement. My state didn't jump the gun. We obeyed party rules. And yet you have the audacity to suggest that how we voted, and the vast numbers of us who voted, don't matter? What makes you think we would even consider voting for you in 2016?