Thursday, March 13, 2008

Character attack x 2

The recent political races have gotten ugly and at the center of the ugliness are a few character attacks that I can't let go without comment.

First, Geraldine Ferraro. She makes a statement that some people disagreed with. I won't detail it but she basically says that Barack Obama would not be where is if he weren't black. I hear this and immediately agree with it. He is a first term junior Senator with zero national defense experience. His record is virtually nonexistant and he relies on incredible oratory talent rather than ideas and solutions to charm his supporters. His rise to the top of the ticket has been fueled by solidarity among blacks, something rarely seen these days. Because of this, he has dominated the southern states, a primary reason for his current lead. Take away the victories in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina and his lead vanishes. These are states with proportionately higher black populations. I strongly feel that a white junior Senator with the same talent and lack of experience would not have such solid support among blacks. Certainly not enough to overcome Hillary in these states. And a similar white candidate would have most definitely felt more scrutiny from the mainstream media for his lack of substance. Ferraro's comments were spot on and hardly abrasive or insulting.

However, the Obama campaign seized upon the moment to paint Ferraro as a racist. Of course, they didn't use those words exactly, but the implications were clear. Obama himself demanded Ferraro be removed from the Hillary campaign, all while maintaining his "high ground" position. This left a nasty taste in my mouth. I'm slowly losing my respect for the man. Geraldine Ferraro may be many things, but a racist isn't one of them. Yet she has been forced to defend her name and character for her insightful comment. This is most definitely a taste of things to come. My gut tells me that if Obama wins the nomination (which he likely will), the race card will be dealt many, many times...often from the bottom of the deck. This, of course, from a campaign who maintains that race is a non-issue in this election. Take it to the bank, ANY republican who criticizes Obama's record, lack of experience, or policy will feel the wrath of the racist witch hunters. Ferraro is just the first victim. Al Sharpton is quickly gathering his army of Betty Parrises and Abigail Williamses to launch their tirades against Obama's opponents. Bet on it.

The other victim of political spin is John McCain. Again, I have my differences with him but I do feel he is an honest man with a solid career and a solid record. I believe my tax dollars are safe with McCain, something I rarely say about any politician. The Air Force decided it was time to upgrade their fleet and, of course, Boeing was there ready to sign the contract. Boeing is an American company. McCain was bothered by the fact that Boeing was about to get a no-bid government contract. He felt that was unfair to American tax payers. So he takes action to get the Air Force to open the contract to bids. After all, competition lowers prices and the tax payers win. The Air Force listens and they open the bids, and European Airbus beats Boeing in the bid. And so the big stink begins. McCain is painted as crooked, as anti-American-business. He is criticized for "cheating" a US company out of a huge contract. His critics cry about the loss of US jobs, etc.

Well, McCain was right. When the government has a big contract they should open it to bids. The idea is to save tax payer dollars. McCain knew he was opening himself to criticism but he did the right thing despite the risk, and I stand by him for it. There won't be any loss of jobs. The planes will be built in Alabama by American workers. The problem is these workers won't be union, and that's likely why the Democrats are crying foul. This, along with the NY Times slander and Obama's recent behavior, has now put me firmly in McCain's corner in the upcoming election.

I'd also like to point out that the same people criticizing McCain for demanding bids on government contracts also attack Bush-Cheney for granting a no-bid contract to Halliburton (a US company) to do a job that only a handful of companies worldwide were capable of doing. They attack Bush for one thing, and attack McCain for the exact opposite. Where exactly DO the Democrats stand on government contracts?

These attacks absolutely sicken me. The Democrats have proven time and again that politics is a nasty game and there are NO limits to the depth they will stoop to gain political favor. They will eat their own if the need arises, Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton can now attest to that. The Democrat party has devolved into a party of pimps, hustlers and snake-oil salesmen in fancy suits. There is nothing these people won't say or do to win an election and the day America rejects them as a legitimate political party is the day America becomes a better country.


Dan Trabue said...

I won't detail it but she basically says that Barack Obama would not be where is if he weren't black. I hear this and immediately agree with it.

John, it is incredibly naive and below you to make the assumption that Obama is where he is because he's black. That IS a racist statement.

"If he wasn't black, why, no one would vote for him!"

Besides making the person saying such sound like a racist, it's not especially logical. Jesse Jackson was black, not many voted for him. Alan Keyes is black and no one is voting for him.

People are voting for Obama for exactly two reasons:

1. His general politics (you are correct that he doesn't have a long record in the Senate, but he has a lifetime of being an organizer, a representative and now a Senator and his supporters agree with most of those positions - we need a more progressive antidote to the sort of sick "conservatism" of eight years of Bush)

2. His charisma. His spirit. His charm. The way he offers hope instead of despair. The way he is a true uniter, not a divider. The way he reaches out instead of attacking.

Now, more than ever, the nation is longing for an Anti-Bush. Obama is that person.

To suggest that people are voting for him because he is black is just ridiculous and unsupportable and it IS a racist statement, whether or not the person saying it is racist (and I don't think for a minute that you or Ferraro ARE racists, I'm saying that is a racist statement).

Dan Trabue said...

The Democrat party has devolved into a party of pimps, hustlers and snake-oil salesmen in fancy suits. There is nothing these people won't say or do to win an election and the day America rejects them as a legitimate political party is the day America becomes a better country.

I'd hope you'd agree that pimping and hustling in politics crosses party lines - that there is little that many in BOTH parties are not willing to do to further their perceived causes. And that there are those in both parties who try to rise above the fray.

If you think attack politics are limited to one side of the aisle, you're fooling yourself. If anything, it's much more vicious on the Republican side, but I see more than enough on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Doctor, Dan et al,

Having heard the term "experience" being bandied about and having heard Hillary Clinton's myth of her own "experience," it is time for me to go on record and state that as a criteria, experience in foreign affairs rates rather low.

Let us examine the presidents who were first elected during my life time.

John F. Kennedy, junior senator form MA. Low marks on the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam; high marks on the Cuban missile crisis.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, senior (I believe) senator from TX and then VP. Low marks on Vietnam

Richard M. Nixon, former VP: He probably took longer than necessary to get us out of Vietnam, so average to below average there. Summa cum laude for China.

Gerald R. Ford: not elected and had a short tenure in office. Good marks for continued detente w/ USSR and China; bad marks for giving green light to Suharto to invade East Timor; minor black eye for the Mayaguez incident.

James E. Carter: Governor of Georgia, graduate of USNA, will always receive flunking marks b/c of the hostages in Tehren.

Ronald Reagan: former governor of CA, no experience in foreign affairs although well defined views. I did not care for him much but he still receives slightly above average marks, if for no ther reason than his restraint after the disaster of the marine barracks in Beirut. President Reagan at best accelerated the the demise of the USSR by a few months. Bad marks for Iran contra and support of the contras. High marks for Grenada, as minor a walkover as that was. Mixed marks for support of the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. It was a good idea at the time w/ unintended consequences like OBL.

George H.W. Bush: highly experienced former head of the CIA and former VP. Slightly above average marks as I will explain. High Marks for Panama; high marks for relationship w/ post Commmunist USSR. Mixed marks of the Gulf War. High marks for the war itself but it can be argued that Saddam Hussein only invaded Kuwait b/c he received mixed messages from the Bush administration rather than: "If you invade Kuwait retribution will be swift, certain, and terrible." Some think we should have dealt w/ Saddam then. Bush I said he had no exit strategy. He foresaw the intractable issues facing us today. Would his son were as wise as he. If you do but the mixed messages to Saddam theory, then unequivocal high marks.

William J. Clinton; Governor of AR. No experience. Rather benign tenure. High marks for Bosnia; should have done something to avert genocide in Rwanda. Mixed marks on the reaction to the bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Mixed to low marks for Somalia--perhaps good idea, poor execution.

George H. Bush: Governor of TX, no foreign policy experience. Mixed marks but over all, low marks. High marks for Afghanistan. Absolutely necessary and warranted but subsequent diversion of resources to Iraq is endangering initial success there. Low marks for looking into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and getting the wrong sense of his soul or failing to see he has none. Clintonesque marks for advoiding more African genocide but high marks for foreign aid programs on that continent. Efforts in the Palestinian question come too little too late but this problem is intractable and until the Palestinians have some type of epiphany and experience a true desire for peace, no American president will be successful in brokering peace in that portion of the Mideast. Whatever high marks George W,. Bush may have achieved elsewhere, is outweighed by the invasion of Iraq. I realize that some will disagree w/ me on this issue, but my cost benefit analysis has the costs far outweighing the benefits. We have spent billions; lives whose value cannot be counted; and have committed a significant portion of our military indefinitely in that country. In return, we deposed a vile dictator who did not pose a clear and present danger to our security.

So if foreign plociy experience is used as criteria, I think the results are very mixed. Recent lack of experience has us in Iraq, but looking at Clinton and Reagan, lack of experience seemed not to have been a deteriment.


The Loop Garoo Kid

John Washburn said...

Dan, Obama has a thin record and has not clearly defined his platform. He DOES have amazing talent at public speaking. I'm not saying people vote for him just because he is black. I'm saying (as did Ferraro) that if Obama were white with similar credentials he would NOT have beaten Hillary in the deep south and thus would not be in the driver's seat in the primary. A white politician would not have attracted so much of the black vote, especially not from Hillary. I just don't see that happening. I don't think that's racist to say. The only way a junior, inexperienced senator from Illinois beats Hillary Clinton in the deep south, where she is beloved by blacks and where people don't particularly care for "yankees", is if that person is also black.

I stand by the comments.

And yes, the GOP is guilty of nasty politics as well, but I disagree on the severity. The Dems are MUCH nastier. Just read the Daily Kos and other lefty blogs and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Dan Trabue said...

I agree that the places where ugly commenters post nasty comments have nasty comments. But that is true for the nasty, vile comments on both right and left.

It is purely anectdotal, but from the places I visit, I see it more from the Right side than the Left.

Shane said...

What Geraldine Ferraro said was not a racist statement - but the reaction to it is testament to how difficult it's going to be to avoid the sensitivity of those who see racism everywhere. If Barack Obama is the nominee for the Dems, get ready for months of bitter, personal attacks on anyone who challenges Barack. His supporters are already attacking their own party members who won't punch the ticket (listen to Tavis Smiley tell of the threats he's receiving). My concern is that not that America isn't ready for a black president, it's that the Democratic party isn't mature enough to manage the breakthrough without damaging race relations in America for generations.

Why is it not a racist statement? Because if it was only about change, Hillary Clinton would certainly be enough. But we're seeing a man with no experience who has been able to run through primaries gaining 90% of the black vote and nearly 40% of the 'other' vote. I've heard it from so many liberals that I talk to - his black skin is seen by them as a chance to right racial wrongs, with the added bonus of dumping the Clintons. As is understood by anyone who has followed Democratic politics - gender and racial politics have been used to morally blackmail voters into supporting the party. Hillary's last name is both a blessing and a curse - Clinton fatigue has knocked her gender card down a notch...

There is nothing wrong with his skin color being a reason for his success in this race - unless you believe that experience and ideology are important.

Anonymous said...

Politics is nasty.

As for the Obama gets votes because he's black debate, there's probably an element of truth in both sides.

A lot of people take his views into account, which is good, even though I disagree with them. But it would be naive to assume that people don't take his race into account. Some people do vote for him just because he's black. Or against him for the same reason. Whether we like it or not, race plays a huge issue in the American psyche, and some people can be manipulated by exploiting race one way or the other.


A measured response from robert m
and shane, good! The best yet from
LGK, after a year of smart-ass ridicule; forgiving his usual Iraq Conclusions, and scathing
Hate "W" Routine Gibberish.
Most notably, Loop's Omission of JFK's Responsibility for sending the first 25,000 "military advisors" into Saigon, Vietnam.
Then LBJ Escalation to 550,000 troops!
Tell the Whole Story, Loop Garoo!
Eight yrs, Sec of Defense Robert McNamara! ("We Were Terribly Wrong" (1991 Book) 'In Retrospect'.
JFK was an Admixture of Greatness & Playboy, and his brother RFK, might have been a better president, who's to say?
Vietnam/10Year/No-WinPolicy/58M - Dead. Compare IRAQ/5Yr/4M - Dead!
FACTS: N.Y.C. 9/11/2001, 2972 Die!
Bitter (Instant) Hate-Peddlers from CodePink
and UFPJ in 2002 w/Heavy Communist Influence, then, MoveOnDotOrg, O.S.I./George Soros.
(Research It Carefully w/o Bias).

Now, YOU Come to an Independent Conclusion,
if that's possible.

Find an error! Accurate History Is Important. Your opinion is valued. reb