Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Showing Up

Eighty percent of success is just showing up. – Woody Allen

In the short time he’s had a central role on the national stage, it certainly seems like John McCain has developed a habit of not showing up—or trying not to.

First, he tried to cancel the first presidential debate with Barack Obama, citing the urgency of the national economic crisis. Then he cancelled on David Letterman at the last minute (much to his subsequent regret), only to be busted a few minutes later getting his makeup done in Katie Couric’s studio. Just yesterday, he cancelled two appearances in Pennsylvania due to weather (although Obama kept his promise to the 9,000 supporters who were willing to wait in the icy rain to hear him speak).

As polls indicated that his popularity was dropping last week, McCain announced that he doesn’t plan to show up at his own election watch party. What kind of a message does that send to the hundreds of people who (for reasons that are beyond me) have faithfully followed him, believed in him, and held out every hope for his success? Doesn’t he at least owe them the courtesy of being there?

Clearly, courtesy is not an attribute of John McCain, as evidenced by his habitual rudeness to his opponent during this campaign. One can only imagine what effect it could have on American diplomatic relations if, as president, he failed to show at a summit of world leaders (or referred to one of them, dismissively, as “that one!”).

America needs a president who behaves like an adult—who thinks with his mind, not his emotions. In the unrelenting spotlight of a national campaign, the “Maverick of the Senate” has shown himself to be impulsive, erratic, and ultimately untrustworthy.


Idna said...

Citizen Jane,
I have looked at all your postings during this election and one thing is perfectly obvious ... you don't ever talk about issues, it's all about bashing John McCain or Gov. Palin. You are swept up in the media adoration of THE ONE and don't pay attention to what this man is going to do to our country.

So here are just a few issues you might consider.

Do you agree that the country should move toward more of a socialist welfare economy and the Nanny state should take on more and more ownership of what should be private enterprise?

That "the evil rich" should be soaked and their wealth confiscated and redistributed?

That Death Taxes should be increased?
(Bush has cut them back progressively, but BO wants to put it up to 45%. Actually the way that the current estate tax timetable is set up is that in 2010 the tax is 0% ... then in 2011 it pops back up. So 2010 is a good time to die if you have any kind of an estate to leave your kids!)

Do you believe that union vote with secret ballots should be taken away?
If you are a union member, I'm interested about your input.
Obama is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate (totally misleading name)
This Act would take away the privacy of a secret vote to decide whether workers want to be unionized or not. Union thugs could come in and publicly intimidate workers into signing union cards - called "card check". If organizers browbeat enough employees to collect cards from a majority of workers, all workers must join the union without a vote. This Act has already been shoved through the House by the Democrats. Now it awaits the Senate and signed into law by a Pres. BO.

Do you want to silence dissenting voices?
The "Fairness Doctrine" (another completely mis-named act) which is meant to silence dissenting views (esp. talk radio) is something the Democrats have been trying to pass and Pelosi swears it's one of her priorities.

Do you think judges should interpret the Constitution as written, or do you think that judges should have "empathy" for certain minority groups in making their decisions (as BO has called for)?
The Constitution was written to protect individuals from tyranny of the government. It says what freedoms the individual has. Obama doesn't like this. He said that is "negative liberties" ... what the government can't do to you. He says it's a tragedy that the Constitution isn't interpreted to mean what the "government MUST do on your redistributive change". He actually said this! Can you say "Nanny State?)

Do you believe in school choice?
Barack Obama, like most Democrats, opposes school choice and voucher programs. He believes that all children should be forced to attend the public school system where they will be properly indoctrinated into the mindset of government run everything. He, of course, went to private schools ... as will his kids. What a hypocrite!

There are many more issues, but this is a start. I'd like to hear your stand on any or all of these. Let's leave the name calling and childish accusations alone. God knows there's a LOT I could say about Obama's shady past and questionable associations.

Citizen Jane said...

Hi, Idna!

Okay, if you insist on the shotgun approach to argumentation, here goes--the short answers to your many questions.

1)The word "socialist" is inflammatory and misleading. Please define exactly what policies you would regard as "socialist." How about the multi-trillion-dollar bailout now going on because the current administration went so far to the extreme in terms of deregulation and lack of oversight?

2) We already have a system of graduated taxation. I see nothing wrong with eliminating some of the many loopholes that have allowed huge corporations and the richest of the rich to escape paying their fair share. I'm especially supportive of Obama's plan to use tax incentives to encourage companies to keep jobs and manufacturing in this country instead of shipping them overseas (where inconvenient issues such as human rights and environmental responsibility can be ignored).

3)Regarding the estate tax, very little has been said about it because it potentially affects very few people. But as I read Obama's position (feel free to log onto his web site if you'd like to know what his REAL policies are), he's proposing to freeze the tax at 2009 levels and fix any problems once the economy has stabilized. I fail to see how that policy represents any immediate threat to anybody!

4) Secret union ballots? Wow! I guess we must have fixed the real problems in the world, such as the war and global climate change. A quick look at Google tells me that it's the extreme right-wing media outlets, like Fox News and the Washington Times, that care about this topic. If you really think it's urgent, we can discuss it later. However, neither MY union or the AFL-CIO seem to be much concerned about it.

5) As for "dissenting voices," don't even get me started. First, this is one of many examples of the so-called "conservative" pundits taking a few words out of context and pretending that that particular phrase is what the whole bill is about. Secondly, during the last eight years of the Bush administration there have been more examples of suppression of free speech than I can count. What I admire most about Barack Obama is his ability to build a culture of respect, listening to various points of view and finding consensus.

6) The Constitution is about many things, and as an attorney and professor of law, Barack Obama has been well respected as an authority on the subject. He discusses many aspects of the Constitution in his excellent book The Audacity of Hope. What I've heard him say (and I've been listening closely) is that he would not choose judges based on his best guess about how they would vote on any specific issue (such as abortion). Rather, he would choose them based on their deep understanding of constitutional law and their judicial philosophy. I approve of that.

7) If by "school choice" you mean charter schools, no--I don't believe in that as a national policy. I will blog about that soon. The Bush Administration has set us back decades in the area of education, and a McCain administration (or--God forbid--a Palin administration) would bring us back to the dark ages. Stay tuned...

Dear Idna, you conclude by saying, "Let's leave the name calling and childish accusations alone." Then you bring up Obama's alleged "shady past" and "questionable associations." For heaven's sake--can't we stick to the issues? I refuse to get into a discussion that might involve McCain's "shady associations." We'd be here all winter.

Idna said...

Hello Ms. Jane,
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

OK, so finally we are talking about issues! You objected to what you called the "shotgun approach." I just wanted to get going on discussing actual issues instead of personalities. So this comment will only respond to issue #1. That would be defining the word "socialist" and your claim of the deregulation and lack of oversight under Bush. (Hopefully we can go on to other issues later.)

Socialism: You claim that word is inflammatory and misleading.

Socialism - definition: An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise.

Capitalism - definition: An economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism encourages private investment and business, compared to a government-controlled economy. In such a system, individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control. The function of regulating the economy is then achieved mainly through the operation of market forces.

Now, be honest. Toward which of these two economic ideologies does Obama lean? Has he been out there cheering on business? Or castigating it and demanding more regulation? Has he been praising our free enterprise system or talking about confiscating profits and wanting government to tell corporations how much they can make and how much to pay their emloyees (windfall profits tax, CEO pay, minimum wage)? Has he urged government to get out of the way or does he plan to take more contol over certain industries and services from the private sector (Health Care, Energy, Communication, Cap-And-Trade bureaucracy)? Has he used his soaring rhetoric to talk about the great opportunities that this country holds, has he encouraged the competitive spirit that has led to great innovations, has he shown pride in a country that millions of people risk their lives to come to from their own oppressive governments? No, he's constantly moaning and complaining about how bad and unfair this country is.

If you answer the above questions honestly, what you have in Obama, my Friend, is a person who has a lot more socialist tendencies than capitalist, free market ones. Having government decide which individuals to relieve of their excess wealth and set up all manner of entitlements for those who the government in its great wisdom decides "deserve" them ... spreading the wealth around ... is straigh out of Marx's 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto. Check it out.

And what is that "civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded as the military?" Is that his very own secret police? What is he planning on using THAT for?

So if you don't like the term socialism, call it the new European welfare model, or what ever you like. A rose by any other name ..... CHANGE it is.

Now about the bail out. I agree the bail out is a total tragedy! I hate the idea of the government having ownership of some of our banks. I hope they divest of all that in a few years. I hate the idea of bailing out irresponsible lenders AND borrowers. But you know, because a lot of those derivatives that are floating out there were bought from Fannie and Freddie, there was a sort of "understanding" that the government wouldn't sell worthless paper. Sort of an unstated guarantee. So maybe it does behoove the government to clean it up.

You said the whole mess was caused because "the current administration went so far to the extreme in terms of deregulation and lack of oversight?" What exactly was that deregulation? When exactly did that happen?

In my opinion, as I have argued at length before, it was in fact REGULATION by the government that led to this. The Community Reinvestment Plan, originally started under Carter, expanded under Clinton, basically forced banks to lend to people who normally would be rejected as bad credit risks in order to expand home ownership to low income people. ACORN and other Community groups also intimidated banks to provide affordable housing. I also sent you lengthy evidence of the Bush administration and many Republicans from 2001 on, repeatedly asking Congress to reign in Fannie Mae. The Democrats constantly ignored the warnings and fought against oversight (while at the same time accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Fannie executives.) In fact, Bill Clinton said recently that his attempts to fix Fannie & Freddie were stopped by the Dems in congress also.

So I contend that it was NOT deregulation, but government INTERFERENCE (regulation) with the market that lead to it spreading and spiraling out of control.

But I really do want to know what all that deregulation was that you talk about. I have heard Obama talk about it also. Always a vague reference, never anything specific. So if you could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.