Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My take on McCain

"I say very mildly, we have only one political party in the United States, the Property Party, with two right wings, Republican and Democrat." Gore Vidal
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The other day there was an interview (in Spanish) in my Newspaper with the emminent historian and director of the Remarque Institute of NYU, Tony Judt. They asked him, a fire-tested progressive, about the presidential elections in the USA.

His opinion was that if Hillary Clinton were elected and re-elected president it would mean that two families, the Bushs and the Clintons, would have dominated American politics for over thirty years and that wasn't acceptable in a serious Republic. As to Barack Obama, Judt found him simply too inexperienced for serious consideration.

Judt said that the only interesting candidate was John McCain, although, "I don't agree with almost anything he says." I am glad that Tony Judt said it first.

I opened this post with a quote from Gore Vidal to which I subscribe fully. I would that the Republicans aren't fooling anyone, which is why they win elections and the Democrats are trying to fool people into thinking that they are a 'progressive' party, which is why they lose elections... Not enough people are fooled.

I find myself against almost everything that the Republicans stand for, but at least they seem to truly stand for what they say they stand for (although many evangelicals doubt this). I respect that quality, even in a jerk like Bush... He defends his people (the very, very rich) to the bone. But the Democratic Party to use highly technical language, really, really, sucks: with few exceptions, a herd of Judas Goats leading the poor to slaughter, bells a tingling.

Full disclosure: I wish there was a party of the left in the USA like the German Socialist Party, although if I were a German voter, I would probably vote for Die Linke (to keep the SPD honest).

Now to McCain.

The next few years are going to be truly, truly, rough. Nobody knows what is really happening nowadays or why it is happening, or even how it is happening, much less what is going to happen tomorrow. This is the time for a man or woman that has really been tested by life. Knows exactly who they really are and how they will react when the caca hits the fan. That is certainly McCain's case, I have to admit that I am really impressed that he spent five years in prison being tortured in Vietnam because he refused to be given special treatment as an Admiral's son and take an early release. Anyone who has lived through that has to have seen deep into himself,all the way to the bottom. A karma yogi.

I would be happier if the Democrats were running Teddy Kennedy or Al Gore than Hillary or Obama, both Teddy and Al have had some hard knocks, have shown that they have got real fiber. I would vote for either of them before McCain on the issues... better half a loaf than no loaf at all.

The real and in my mind most serious objection to McCain is Iraq and his seeming willingness to attack Iran. I am fairly sanguine on this. It seems to me that if the United States has not attacked Iran yet it is simply because it can't, if it could, Bush and Cheney would have. That simple. The next president will probably have even less options than Bush has right now. What I don't think McCain would do is to put American military personnel in harm's way frivolously. Or bomb people just to prove he is "tough". He is not going to be living out some macho fantasy as to war. In this I think he would be as judicious as Colin Powell would be.
"It's a difficult thing to say. But now that I've seen what the bombs and the napalm did to the people on our ship, I'm not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam." John McCain to NYT reporter R. W. Apple, Jr. Saigon 1967
As to Iraq, if he comes to think its time to leave, again I don't think he would lose any sleep about people calling him a wimp. Basically, with Democrats or Republicans, the USA will finally leave Iraq because it will not be able to afford to stay a moment longer.

What really make me sad it that now that John Edwards has dropped out of the race, nothing is really ever going to happen on health care for America's working poor. Gore Vidal will have to explain it to them. DS


kelly said...

You wrote that "Die Linke" would keep the SPD honest... must be why after the elections last week in Hesse - no one, not one of the parties invited "Die Linke" to coalition talks. Nice insight.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Yeah, but I think everybody and especially SPD got the voter's message. Certainly it will be difficult for any "Tony Blair" type "socialists" in Germany now.

Hans Fruck said...

McCain's bellicosity is more than enough reason to disqualify him IMO. But there are plenty of other reasons not to vote for him. He's anti-choice and a McCain presidency will almost certainly lead to the appointment of at least one -- and probably more -- right-wing justices to SCOTUS. Then you can kiss Roe v Wade goodbye, among other things. Also, ask yourself this: who is more likely to address the healthcare debacle in the US? McCain or Clinton/Obama? Who is most likely to make meaningful countermeasures regarding global warming? Who was it who spoke at Bob Jones University? Who was it who, after describing them as 'agents of intolerance', made nice with the right-wing zealots? Who will be the more competent economic manager? Who was among the Keating Five? Etc.