Sunday, 13 July 2008

Polls Before The Convention

For those of us avid political junkies it SO easy to get hung up on the day to day fluctuations in the two main daily tracking polls (Rassmussen and Gallup), and the state by state polls from quite a few competent agencies. I try to remind myself daily that such polling is quite nearly meaningless until both parties have had their respective nominating conventions. I am in the camp that firmly believe this election is all about Senator Obama meeting or exceeding a perceived "comfort" threshold with the US electorate akin to that of Reagan in 1980. If Obama does meet that threshold he is quite likely to cruise to a comfortable popular vote win and probably a spectacular electoral vote margin, if not then the "safe" McCain may well eke out a win despite the prevailing winds. God help us all if the US voting public cannot reach that comfort level or if something totally off-key and not pertinent distracts them. I honestly do not think this country will even resemble any more the "last, best hope on earth", which I truly love if it must endure another 4 years of neo-conservative rule.

Please do not fool yourselves, John McCain, image manipulation aside, is in every way that matters a more thorough and dangerous neo-conservative imo than Reagan or either Bush. The reason this must be true is because he has no core ideological position other than some amorphous notion of "America First and Foremost By Devine Destiny". It is true that both Bush'es and Reagan also shared that amorphous notion but quite differently all three came from similar ideologically fixed positions from which the voting public had fair warning and from which they pretty much governed. Most crucially none had anything like the military cache held by McCain to execute the "America... Devine Destiny" credo. With McCain my central fear is that voters may well be sold that McCain is a centrist with vast foreign policy experience and aversion to war that will keep us safe. Instead I believe it far more likely that he would make decisions of war and peace based on his perception of a Vietnam era US "weakness" never being repeated and not feel constrained to either seek or obtain the consent of the governed in making or prosecuting war in the Middle East and elsewhere. Let us face the fact that this is NOT the 1960' or 70's, and the world is in far graver and more dangerous peril in so many potential flashpoints that we cannot hope to see them one year let alone four in advance. Let us all hope that Senator Obama reaches that threshold and prevents this rogue McCain scenario from playing out as anything other than a mental exercise.

Friday, 11 July 2008

This Is The General People

As I look at the quite extreme bashing of Senator Obama from bloggers on the left and the MSM over his FISA vote, his analysis of Iraq, his reactions to the US Supreme Court's decisions re: the DC gun law and the death penalty for child rapists it occurs to me that most of this criticism seems to DEMAND ideological purity from Obama that he never espoused and in fact has from the beginning summarily rejected. In fact he has made his candidacy quite transparently as much as ANY other factor on his own belief that he can and WILL transcend the blue-red divide and actually accomplish progressive goals as opposed to meeting anyone's score on ideological perfection. I personally applaud Senator Obama for each of these decisions especially with his being entirely aware most of these stances would create sharp critique from the left. Do I agree with Senator Obama's position on each of this set of issues or indeed of any broad set of issues? No. Definitely not. That said, if I were to wait for a candidate who DOES, I would very likely never support anyone and in this case my belief is that I would be sacrificing a potentially great US president in Obama upon my own vain altar of what is right. Thankfully I am not burdened by a belief that my opinions reflect the best possible position on any complex issue let alone across a group of complex issues. Perhaps the best of these, as an example, is that I do not believe and neither did Obama believe that the telecom's should have been granted immuntity on FISA. In reviewing Obama's statement of his decision to vote for the final bill after voting to strip immunity and failing with three seperate failed amendments was that his vote was quite reasonable in the vein of not holding the good hostage to the perfect. In sum I don't think Senator Obama has shifted, lurched or even moved to the center since the primaries. Rather he has been exactly what he has always claimed to be, a new type of candidate intent on changing the way both politics and government is practiced.

Lonnie Thomason

(retired) Engineer

Rochester, NY area