I am not convinced by Barack’s brand of self-inflating rhetoric of hope and change. In policy terms it seems to mostly mean a growth of spending and regulation. Some proposed regulation is necessary and welcome (on expanding health insurance for example) but there is no sprit of restraint. Despite Obama’s presentation of himself as above politics, his campaigners were caught out assuring the Canadian government that his anti-free trade line will not be followed in office.
The Republicans have had 8 years and it has not been a good eight years. The ‘War on Terror’ has been used to attack the liberties of US citizens, particularly through the Patriot Act. Foreign prisoners have been tortured by presidential permission at Guntanamo Bay. Iraq has been turned into an eat all you can buffet for a variety of Islamist gangs, who have tortured and murdered Christians and rival Muslims under a weak Iranian oriented government of soft Islamists, northern Iraq has continued to be a based for Kurdish separatists in the PKK terrorist movement. Theşr continuing attacks on Turkey are a great evil in themselves and are poisoning Turkish politics, contributing to the revival of a neurotic and defensive nationalism (earlier today I saw a beautiful black Lamborghini in Nişantişi with a red Turkish flag symbol replacing the usual blue EU sşde field on one end of the number plate, all a bit ironic and very indicative) The region continues to be dangerous and unstable for Israelis and Arabs. The US economy has declined sharply form the condition in which Bush inherited it. Government spending had shot up on both defence and social programs, at the same time as a huge cut in taxes on share dividends had weakened the tax base. Scientific advice on the environment has been ignored or overruled by administration members. AIDS programs and sex education at home and abroad has been slanted towards trying to impose pre-marital virginity as the ideal, under the influence of religious extremists. This is a record of incompetence and bad policy which needs to be punished.
The Republicans showed pragmatism in selecting McCain as their presidential candidate, in some circumstances I could support his election, but the overriding priority now must be to put the Republicans in the doghouse for a minimum of four and maybe eight years. The Democrats must get the White House and strengthen their hold on both houses of Congress. The Republicans need to purge, or at least marginalise, the Theocons, the national security conservatives and the militant forms of Neoconservatism (which in its more moderate forms is is a benign form of universalist democratic idealism) and this will take time. The party needs to establish a large amount of distance from policies of torture, restricting civil liberties, enforcing conservative and intolerant forms of Christianity, and fantasies of defending US interests through: reinventing foreign states, attempts at unilateral restructuring of whole regions, attempts to turn conflicts between the US and other countries into reruns of World War Two. There must certainly be an end to insults and humiliations directed at those European governments which see some of these problems differently.
It has to be Obama Barack . Getting the first African-American into the White House would be wonderful, and I hope that some socially tolerant Republicans will support Obama Barack to counterbalance the kind of blue collar conservative Democrat who apparently can support Clinton but never Barack. Barack needs to choose a Vice-Presidential candidate with Reagen Democrats of that kind in mind.