Monday, October 06, 2008

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty nice, but went by too quickly.

It sounds like the economy continues to struggle today, with the stock market sinking amid news of continuing financial problems in Europe and the realization that the $700 billion bailout isn't going to occur overnight. Of course, with the way things have been going lately, the market may swing back up and level off by the end of the day. Who knows? Not me.

And I'm desperately trying to remember a time back before the presidential campaign when I still had respect and admiration for John McCain even if I didn't agree with all of his politics. I remember thinking of McCain throughout most of the Bush presidency as a Republican who was actually willing to stand up to the Karl Rove/Dick Cheney political machine from time to time in order to try to do the right thing (taking stands against torture and legislating for campaign finance reform both spring to mind as admirable moments when he went his own direction). But somewhere along the way McCain started to seem willing to trade honor for ambition and principle for power. He started running smear campaign election adds filled with misleading information and outright lies, and he made a cynical, calculated pick for his VP candidate who was utterly unqualified to hold the office of president, but who would appeal to a far right, religious fundamentalist base (which McCain was having a hard time bringing on board).
And McCain continues to disappoint me. He's smart enough not to do it himself, but he has Palin out there hate mongering and still trying to drum up and prey upon feelings of divisiveness and xenophobia. Just this weekend, Palin made statements accusing Obama of "palling around" with terrorists. Her statements were in reference to Obama serving on a charity board with Bill Ayers, a former member of The Weather Underground (a group which violently opposed the Vietnam War in the '60's, including a series of bombings) who now serves as a professor at the University of Illinois.
Well, there may be an element of what Palin says that is technically correct (depending on what you see as "palling around"), but no more so than saying that McCain spent time in the Senate "palling around" with known racists (I mean, Strom Thurmond, a vocal and unapologetic segregationist, was a Republican Senator at the same time that McCain was serving, correct?). Is it fair to say that Palin is in favor of teen pregnancy because she's against the use of abortion once teens become pregnant? Ayers was a member of a group that did some questionable things, but even when they engaged in criminal behavior, they attempted to avoid any casualties and carried out their activities with an eye toward stopping a massive loss of life (both American and Vietnamese) in a war which they saw as immoral and pointless. There really isn't any evidence that Obama knew about Ayers being involved in these activities or that he supported them in any way.
And yes, I know that Obama runs attack ads against McCain, but Obama's ads, from what I've seen, seem to be more centered around issues and policy standpoints than these fearmongering personal attacks (fighting about healthcare plans is one thing- calling someone a terrorist sympathizer is something else).
Palin's comments about Obama over the weekend are the stuff of a desperate campaign, but worse than that, they're significantly weakening my belief that McCain is still basically a good guy and that he would make a decent president, even if he doesn't share all of my political views. McCain's campaign has also mischaracterized Obama's tax and healthcare plans (which I kind of expect), and tried to stir up wariness and discontent on the right by stating that Obama wants to teach sex education to 6 year olds (he actually wanted a program to teach them how to avoid sexual predators). All of this while the McCain camp continues to fabricate material about Palin's background and credentials (e.g., McCain said on The View that Palin didn't ask for earmarks while governor- this year alone she asked for 197 million, Palin took credit for killing the Bridge to Nowhere when Congress had already killed it, Palin claims that Alaska produces 20% of the nation's energy, when it actually produces less than 4%, and so on and so forth).
Anyway, the election hasn't occurred yet, and even though Obama seems to have the lead at the moment, I really do feel like anything can still happen and that there's a chance that McCain could still end up with this thing. That's why I'm writing this bit. Not necessarily to attack McCain in terms of the election, but because if he does end up in the role of commander-in-chief, I'd like to have somebody in that role that I still respect - not someone who I chiefly remember as running a "win at all costs" swiftboating campaign full of smear tactics and deception.


Meredith said...

I wouldn't worry too much...your boys are still ahead.

Did you happen to see the SNL debate sketch this weekend with Biden and Palin....I swear I was in tears at them was hilarious. You need to find it on YouTube and see it.

J.S. said...

Well, my stupid cable company is in a battle with our NBC affiliate, so right now I can't watch SNL. I guess I'll have to pull it up on YouTube. I'll definitely check it out, though!

mcsteans said...

You can watch it on hulu. NBC doesn't allow any of it's stuff on YouTube.