Thursday, May 22, 2008

Endorsements

I've spoken before about the utter contempt in which I held the media frenzy surrounding the Reverend Wright thing. I thought it was both ridiculous and ideologically inconsistent for folks to put so much onus on such a thing.

Ridiculous because I know plenty of folks who belong to congregations where the preacher or pastor is an advocate of things they might find disagreeable; and ideologically inconsistent because John McCain himself went looking for the endorsement of some equally crazy and offensive preachers, and seemed to be getting a pass.

Today, we learn that, while not too much has been made about the McCain/Pastor John Hagee relationship (at least relative to the Obama/Rev. Wright thing), the situation has warranted a similar disentanglement of association. The talking points are of a similar politically expedient variety, McCain having said - much like Obama when the offensive comments were 'brought to light' - "I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything."

I just don't get why a real candidate can't just say "well, I accept the endorsement on ________ grounds, because we agree on thus and such, while I absolutely do not agree with everything so-and-so has said." Much like the American voters, who, with perhaps a very tiny minority of isolated individuals, probably don't agree with everything their own family and friends say.

What really got my attention today was that one of John McCain's top political strategists is a cat who used to get paid money to make awful Third World Dictators more palatable to people who run our government.

Call me crazy, but I put a whole lot more emphasis on deeds than words. It may be problematic for Obama to have stayed in Rev. Wright's congregation while the former Marine-turned-preacher was ranting against America, but it really gets to me that McCain has such a close professional relationship with a guy who was paid by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos of the Phillipines, and Mobutu Sese Seko.

Matter of fact, didn't the US government's "anti-communist" support of such dictators and governments - and resulting oppression of all institutions possibly considered democratic (like voting, human rights and political parties) - actually encourage anti-American views both abroad and at home (possibly views held by such men as Rev. Wright)? Didn't the US government's support (at the hands of well paid lobbyists and Cold Warriors) for these types of governments, their corruption and their oppression of secular opposition parties give rise, at the end of the Cold War, to terrorist organizations (possibly ones that are currently planning the next big attack on America)?

Now, I don't want to venture too far into Noam Chomskyland, I know we did what we had to do to win the Cold War and I know a lot of those things weren't pretty. Realpolitik is a cold word for a reason. But with all the devastating problems that have arisen because of our behavior during that time, does it seem wise, now, to bring in folks who made money orchestrating our current unstable and dangerous world situation?

From the "experienced, national security" party and candidate?

Unfortunately, I doubt much will be made of this political relationship. For a very long time, a significant portion of our foreign policy (and voter motivation) has been to side with short term gains while running the risk of long term exposure.

But, for me, that seals the deal. McCain would be a better President than the current bunch of yahoos, but the philosophies on how to run foreign policy are being run by the same people that made this whole thing blow up in our faces.


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2 comments:

Dante said...

"Ridiculous because I know plenty of folks who belong to congregations where the preacher or pastor is an advocate of things they might find disagreeable; and ideologically inconsistent because John McCain himself went looking for the endorsement of some equally crazy and offensive preachers, and seemed to be getting a pass."

The relationship with Rev. Wright isn't what made the story what it was. It was Obama's response (or in this case responses) to his relationship with Rev. Wright that put him in hot water. How many different positions did Obama take on his relationship with Wright? I think the funniest one was when he tried to tell us he didn't know the Rev. took some pretty politically damaging positions on some issues Wright was very public about. Yeah. That makes sense.

Obama isn't being judged the same criteria as McCain or Clinton but they're not out there claiming to be the candidate of change. Obama is supposed to be different. He's supposed to be the one to stand behind his convictions, unite our country, change the tone in Washington, blah, blah, blah...

On top of that, we don't have much real info on how he'll react politically because he's only been a Senator for a couple of years. When something like the Rev Wright incident comes up and we get an insight into how he'll handle a policital situation, he botches it badly. Any of his defenses would've been far more effective if he had used exactly one of them. Instead, it looks an awful lot like he lied to us and the worst part about it is that we know he's lying by the same criteria we know any politician is telling a lie: his lips are moving. Some candidate of change...

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Let's see how I addressed this one:

The talking points are of a similar politically expedient variety, McCain having said - much like Obama when the offensive comments were 'brought to light' - "I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything."

I just don't get why a real candidate can't just say "well, I accept the endorsement on ________ grounds, because we agree on thus and such, while I absolutely do not agree with everything so-and-so has said."


I've been of the opinion that when you pick up endorsements from folks, it means they are endorsing you not the other way around. Yeah, there was a botch when it came to this - because it really shouldn't have been an issue. I'd rather Obama poltically botch the little insignificant stuff rather than see him botch the big, nation magnitude stuff.

Like the Phillippines and Congo, to name two examples...