Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election on Tuesday its close will be welcome. Presidential politics have been in the forefront for almost two years and in recent months the calls, the mailings, the emailings and the television and radio ads have become burdensome. At the same time, the number of voter registrations and anticipated voter turnout should be a high mark in our democratic tradition. There still are concerns about Republican attempts to disenfranchise voters not prone to the GOP and unreliable voting machines, but these potential disruptions can lead to systemic improvements if the activism seen in this election remains energized. Safeguards for voter rights and voting systems require an upgrade.
McCain and Obama continue to offer striking differences in content and demeanor. Obama concentrates on issues important to Americans. The McCain campaign concentrates on characterizing Obama as a Socialist, a Marxist and a supporter of terrorists. Perhaps Mr. McCain does not sufficiently believe in his own platform that he has to emphasize empty issues that lack gravitas. Obama’s tax plan, ideas for economic recovery, foreign policy strategies, energy solutions and prescriptions for health care inadequacies and inequities is what most of us care about. A poll on Thursday indicated that 59% of voters felt that Sarah Palin was not prepared to be Vice President. The Palin selection was emblematic of a McCain candidacy constructed to appeal to a narrow base and plagued by impetuous execution. The Palin nomination understandably brought into question McCain’s judgment and ability to make sound decisions. Questionable economic stances and neocon/myopic foreign policy have not added to his appeal or credibility. The John McCain candidacy has proven to be a disappointment for many Independents, Republicans and even Democrats who once admired the long-serving Arizona senator.
* Under the radar ~ Leadership and Organization – The polls indicate that McCain is still within striking distance to win this election. What the polls do not show is the comprehensive ground game that the Obama campaign has designed and implemented. The Obama campaign has established offices and built an army of volunteers across America that is beyond the scope of previous national campaigns. One aspect of this effort was registering voters and it did so in record numbers. The other aspect is directed toward voter turnout. This weekend millions of registered Democrats will be visited by Obama volunteers. They will be reminded to vote, provided with information about voting locations and hours of operation and offered rides to the polls where needed. On Election Day these same registered Democrats will again be reminded to vote and a huge number of legal experts will be deployed around the country to protect against voter intimidation and vote stealing. The Democratic Party will be far better prepared this year to deal with Republican shenanigans than it was in 2000 and 2004.
* McCain ~ Change you don’t want to believe in – The McCain-Palin campaign did not invent racism and hate in America. Evidence of these ugly facets of human behavior can be seen throughout American history. However, one would think that a national political party seeking election to the highest office would go way out of its way to avoid any taint of such negativity and divisiveness. John McCain proves this premise incorrect. A survey of news outlets and blogs provides numerous examples of increasing expressions of hate and meanness, racism and homophobia - a result of the pandering McCain/Republican political campaign. I lay responsibility for these cancerous expressions at the feet of Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Regardless of the outcome of this election their candidacy was a big step backward for American principles, a regression stained with shame that will not disappear like political lawn signs on November 5th.
* The Bush Effect ~ Lest we forget – President Bush is still in office and still intent on his damaging policies and reign of error. A Washington Post article on Friday provides the details. “The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.” If there was not such a damaging track record by the Bush administration I would have thought the article was a Halloween trick. It reminds one of an April 1st fool: lift constraints on power plants, mines and farms; clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities; ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming; relax drinking-water standards; and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining – a type of mining that damages the environment and has destroyed communities.
* Karl Marx meets Grouch Marx – Representative Steve King (R-IA) tells an audience in Sioux City that Obama is even more extreme than a Socialist. With Obama America will wind up with a totalitarian dictatorship. And, bless his little heart, he informs the audience that only Republicans have a legitimate claim to representing freedom as America knows it. From the Farm Belt – it’s Saturday Nigh Live. If one does not laugh at this crap one would cry.
* Let freedom ring – My efforts and my vote support Barack Obama. A number of Republican/conservative friends have told me they will vote for John McCain. I am disappointed in their decision but understand that all of our votes are valid. When the election is over we will move forward together. One cannot ask for more in a democratic society.
* “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.”
William E. Simon (1927 – 2000) 63rd U.S. Secretary of Treasury