Friday, October 10, 2008

Hey, a political rant

It's pretty amazing (disheartening?) how much of a difference just a couple of months can make when it comes to this year's Presidential election. Over the summer, I was legitimately excited about the election. Two candidates that I liked were going up against each other, and no matter what, history would be made (for the first time ever, either a black man or a female would hold office as President or Vice President, respectively). Even when the V.P.s were announced, my enthusiasm didn't falter. I thought Biden provided the experience and confidence necessary for his ticket, while Palin brought the energy and relative youth that was lacking with McCain. I honestly hadn't decided who I would vote for, but as far as I was concerned, I was in a win/win situation.

Now, I really just can't wait for the whole thing to be over with. And I can't help but feel like no matter who wins, I'll feel disappointed. At the moment, I don't believe that the issues our country is facing will change within the next four years. So if McCain wins, I detest the idea of Obama supporters saying, "See, told you he wouldn't fix anything." And if Obama wins, I can't help but feel like McCain missed out on his one opportunity to become president.

This election has just turned into such a bitter, angry, insecure mess, as far as supporters go. It seems like McCain supporters are grasping at straws, trying to spout out any reason whatsoever why we shouldn't be voting for Obama, while Obama's supporters are so insecure about the attention and (at one time) momentum McCain received following the Palin announcement that they began to make the same arguments against Palin that they had regarded as ridiculous when they were directed at Obama.

I still don't know who I'm going to vote for. But there is a lot about both candidates, their V.P.s, and their supporters that I absolutely cannot stand.

To McCain, Palin, and their supporters:

Remember in the 2004 election, when Bush couldn't think of anything bad to say about Kerry, so he'd simply say "he flip flops" with this dumbfounded look on his face?? I'm beginning to feel the same way about McCain. For McCain to continuously state "Obama's going to raise your taxes" just screams that he doesn't completely understand Obama's tax plan, and that he can't think of anything else to criticize him about. There are a lot of undecided voters out there, and many of them are well informed. If they DO fully comprehend Obama's tax plan, and they repeatedly hear the tired -- and misleading -- argument from McCain and Co. that Obama plans to raise your taxes, you're probably not going to get their vote.

Despite what Obama's mass audience may believe, he's not perfect. There is a lot you can criticize him about, so why keep harping on this one mostly inaccurate point? It's certainly not not doing you any favors.

To me, it just feels like somebody isn't doing their homework. Hell, with Obama's camp keeps comparing McCain to Bush, so why isn't McCain's army doing more to alert voters that not everything that sucks is because of Bush. With everybody up in arms about Sarah Palin's religious views, why not bring up the fact that it was under the Clinton regime that an Act was passed that would allow states to not recognize same sex unions, while it was under the Bush Administration that that law was deemed unconstitutional? And how about the war in Iraq? Is the average voter aware of the fact that President Bill Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act into law in 1998? This Act, practically verbatim, expressed the exact reasons we went to war in the first place (and yes, the term "weapons of mass destruction" is used).

And if you're going to constantly refer to yourself as a "maverick," go out of your way to emphasize how you're NOT going to be four more years of Bush. And don't just say it, provide actual examples. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an example in which he or Palin have effectively done this, and that means that the point wasn't hammered home.

Another thing about the war: At this moment, I don't necessarily believe that McCain/Palin's plan is wrong. I know some people who work for the government in DC, and I once noted that, when the primaries first began, Iraq was the talk of the town. But by the end of the primaries, it was barely discussed. Somebody (who I consider very well informed) then told me, "that's because right now it's working." I trust that assessment, so I couldn't help but scratch my head when Palin said, "what you're suggesting is a white flag of surrender" during one of the debates. The fact of the matter is, your average American is so fed up with the whole Iraq thing that if you said, "hey, we're just going to surrender and get out of here," they'd be fine with it.

When it comes to a war you're not particularly fond of, and you don't agree with, I daresay that the average American is not very prideful. So why not continue to emphasize what has worked?

To Obama, Biden, and their supporters:

When did this election become Obama vs. Palin? It's not. So will people PLEASE stop acting like it's a foregone conclusion that McCain will die in office, and that we're ACTUALLY voting for Sarah Palin? I cannot even express how idiotic that mentality is. I mean, if we're just going to assume that McCain will die, how about we also assume that Joe Biden will die? I mean, he does seem to have a brain aneurysm every leap year, so why aren't we on Obama's case about who he's going to pick as his alternate V,P.? For that matter, having a black President may upset extremists and racists. Isn't there a chance he could be assassinated? In the past few months, McCain hasn't had any health issues, yet there's already been a planned assassination attempt on Obama. If Biden dies, and Obama gets assassinated, we may get a President who wasn't even on the ticket.

See how ridiculous all of this "what if?" stuff sounds?

Along those same lines, I thought it was stupid when McCain supporters used to go on and on about how Obama doesn't have enough experience. I think it's even worse when Obama supporters are now on a crusade to prove that Palin -- who is not running for President, mind you -- is inexperienced. Again, I refuse to adhere to this belief that we're voting for Sarah Palin. And if people are so concerned about how experienced the VICE PRESIDENT is, why not hold the PRESIDENT to that same strict standard? While I don't buy that whole "143 days in office" argument, the fact remains that Obama was sworn into Senate in January 2005 and announced his intent to run for President in January 2007. That's two years of experience. To become, arguably, one of the mo st powerful people in the world.

To me, the whole "experience" thing is a bit of a moot point. Is there any conclusive evidence whatsoever that the best presidents have been the ones with the most experience? Or that the worst ones have had the least amount of experience? For that matter, what experience are we looking for, exactly?

Along with that, I often say it's either "all or nothing" when it comes to experience. If Obama's camp wants to say you need experience to be President, then by proxy wouldn't that make the most experienced person the most qualified? Well, that's not Obama. On the other side of the coin, if you base your whole campaign around change, isn't somebody who hasn't been a part of the government exactly what you say we need?

I also can't help but roll my eyes when people praise Obama for the fact that he's running such a clean campaign. In my lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen the media and entertainment industry get so outrageously behind one candidate (for better or worse). It's awfully easy to sit back and run a "clean" campaign when you have a mass army of people willingly and voluntarily slinging the mud for you. Practically every time I visit, there's a video clip from The View, in which Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, and the chick that didn't know the earth was round go on and on and on and on about how wonderful Obama is, and how dastardly Sarah Palin is. And that John McCain guy? He's barely ever mentioned, except for when the woman who repeatedly gets abortions judges him for divorcing his wife and marrying another woman. Then you've got somebody like the ultra liberal Seth MacFarlane (who, creatively, I love). To this day he STILL constantly makes reference to George W. Bush's drug and alcohol abuse (on both Family Guy and American Dad), yet hasn't once issued the same commentary on Obama (who has admitted to marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol use).

You also have David Letterman making a spectacle of insulting McCain for canceling an appearance on his show so that he could devote attention to the financial crisis (and I also think it's unfair to bring up that he appeared, instead, on a show with Katie Couric, since the latter is a reputable news anchor, while Letterman is an entertainer). Meanwhile, SNL didn't appear to attack Obama for canceling his appearance due to the hurricane in Texas.

I've attempted to be equally harsh here, because I honestly haven't decided yet who I am going to vote for. I'd like to believe that whichever candidate gets elected to office will do a fantastic job to hush the naysayers. But the overall filthiness of this election has really soured me on two candidates I once felt very strongly about.


The Blog of Steel(e) said...

You're conveniently forgetting that McCain's people told Letterman that he was on his way to Washington, DC to deal with the financial crisis, when he a) stayed in New York for an interview with Couric, and b) did not leave for Washington until the following day. Canceling an appearance is one thing, but lying about it is another. I'm no die-hard Obama supporter, but I think the point you made about McCain harping on his tax plan, when the majority of his attacks about it aren't even true, is the real kicker in this election. It seems like most of your anti-Obama comments are more about Obama's supporters, not about the man or his policies, leading me to believe he should get your vote. Your anti-Obama sentiments remind me of people who say, "Oh, I would listen to Radiohead (or Tool, usually is another applicable example), but their fans are too pretentious and annoying" (which is also usually true in both cases), even though they like the music. You seem to like Obama's music, just not the people who praise it so much, does that make sense?

Matt Basilo said...

I will admit that when I saw that somebody left a comment, I got VERY nervous, so I want to thank you for expressing your opinions in a very civil and mature way.

Your point does make sense. However, I will also point out that my anti-McCain comments are mostly aimed at an overall poorly run campaign (harping on things needlessly, not mentioning things that should be mentioned, etc) and not about the man or his policies.

I did criticize McCain for harping on a tax plan he either doesn't understand, or he doesn't expect undecided voters to understand, but at the same time there are some critical things i can say about Obama. I was moderately surprised to see how many more people had confidence that Obama could solve the current financial crisis, when everything I read stated that he completely stayed out of the current negotiations.

Regarding the Letterman thing, all I can really say is that politicians, like all humans, lie and mislead people. During every debate, whenever either side spouts out these statistics and numbers, in almost every case they're misleading in one way or another.

Naturally, there are different levels of lies, some far more important than others. But in the grand scheme of things, being less than truthful to a late night host isn't enough to make me not vote for somebody.