Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama: Can We Have a Choice, Not an Echo?

I have come out in favor of Obama, and have contributed to his campaign, just as I did to John Kerry's four years ago. But I have, like others, been very unhappy with Obama's flip on FISA, and his other moves to the "center." I always really hate this point of presidential campaigns when we seem to get an echo, rather than a choice, with the Democrats running to the middle and trying to look tough and presidential on war ("defense") issues, and the Republicans trying to act "compassionate" in their "conservatism."

Well it didn't really work for Dukakis when he appeared in an army tank. It didn't work for Gore when he chose as his running mate the warloving, empire-building de facto Republican Joe Lieberman. It didn't work for Kerry when he tried to convince us that not only was he a windsurfer, but also a hunter who loved guns. I wonder if Obama's new gunloving gestures will work. Of course, it is the Iraq and Afghanistan (and possibly Iran) wars and related issues that worry me most about our prospective new commander in chief.

Will we have the Republicrats and the Demopublicans again, as Ralph Nader has justifiably complained in elections past? I keep hoping that this time will be a real break, a real change, a choice not an echo.

Obama, please prove me wrong. I'll support you to the end. I supported Kerry through his flip-flops and his pandering to the "middle" and I will support you as well. But let's please have a choice, not an echo. The echos of Kerry and Gore to the "compassionate conservatism" of Bush led to close elections - close elections that, whether actually won by Bush, put Bush in the White House where he proved to be neither compassionate nor conservative.

We need to win by a convincing margin, by offering up a real alternative to more of the same bullshit. End the war now in Iraq, bring home the troops, and start no further wars for the neocons or oil industry lobbyists. Maybe after we change our foreign policy, we will then be able to make some progressive changes in spending and taxing priorities, after decades of irrational policies that have shifted more and more wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. I'm doubtful we will be so lucky to get to that point any time soon. But here's hoping.

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