Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wanted: Decent Presidential Candidate


Reward: My political support (for whatever that counts).

Over and over again, all I keep hearing from everyone is how the Republicans have such a "weak field" and how the Democrats are so inherently stronger. Rubbish. The Republicans have a very bad war, but their candidates are not inherently weaker than our's - because our candidates have been greatly overrated. Name me the one candidate who's truly anti-war, pro-equality and doesn't mince words? Not a single candidate supports marriage equality and our current front-runner, Hillary Clinton, who is leading by wide margins in today's polls (which are as meaningful as my political support at this point), was as much of a war hawk as anyone in the Senate. She wants to leave Iraq as much as Senator Lieberman did; let's not make the same mistake as the people of Connecticut and think her pandering is any different than Holy Joe's. Hillary's plan calls to leave troops in Iraq, to 'train' and 'counteract terrorism.' That, my friends, would amount to over a hundred thousand of them in Iraq, permanently.

So, who do we turn to? Sadly, there just doesn't seem to be that much else. Looking for a candidate seems to be reminiscent of those commercials from that Christian charity organization, showing the family searching the garbage heaps for some hidden treasure - when the far greater likelihood is they will be met with useless stink. For a while, the Obama buzz was really buzzing. Now, it seems more like the buzzing noise are flies surrounding a political carcass. The man never won a tough election - and it shows.

However, I could deal with inept campaign moves - heck, sometimes they can be endearing. When John Edwards has screwed up, he kinda looks cute. 'Whoops, sorry guys, you caught me building a real, big house.' It sort of reminded me when my Governor, the very progressive and awesome Deval Patrick, was lambasted by his campaign opponent for building a nice house. That campaign opponent got big media excitement for calling it the "Taj Deval," while he was firmly whooped in the actual primary. Edwards's house may have gotten bad press, but anyone can relate to someone who grew up poor wanting a very, very nice house... so those words fall on deaf ears, especially when every man (and woman) running for President owns a very, very nice house.

The real problem here isn't stupid moves. Like I said, I could deal with a few stupid Obama mistakes. However, it's these kinds of mistakes that really get me. Here's a gist of what Americablog had to say,
I never thought I'd have to be calling out Barack Obama for race-baiting, but herewe are. And he's not race-baiting whites, or Asians, or even Latinos. No, the African-American Senator from Illinois is race-baiting dark-skinned people. (A bit like me race-baiting Mediterraneans.)

And sure enough, the Obama memo talks a good deal about outsourcing, though in ways that do seem to skirt the line of racism or at least xenophobia (calling her "HILLARY CLINTON (D-PUNJAB)") and noting that "Hillary Clinton Accepted Almost $60,000 In Contributions From Employees Of Cisco Systems, Which Laid Off American Workers to Hire Indian 'Techies.'" (I was a bit uncomfortable with the use of the word "Indian" over and over and over again in the memo.) But I still wasn't sure that we had moved from outsourcing to racism until we hit the paragraph about all the money and support that Hillary has received from "Indian Americans." Sure, the rest of the memo deals with how one of Hillary's top Indian-American supporters is allegedly a bit shady, and that's fair game, but the memo is about more than that. The memo is clearly trying to make the point that Hillary gets lots and lots of support from Indian-Americans, and apparently there's some kind of problem with that. I guess because their kin back home are stealing all of our good white jobs. (No word on whether they're sleeping with our women too.)

This is more than a stupid mistake. This is, well, revealing. I'm not even going to pin this on Obama himself, but even if this came from his campaign people it's disturbing. First, these are the guys he is hiring - that does not inspire confidence. Second, it truly invokes the win-at-all-cost-now attitude that Obama has created for himself during this entire campaign. He didn't want to create a large Senate record - so he's running now. He's afraid of, well, standing on the issues - and it shows. Not to mention the fact that he's convienantly the "anti-war" candidate without ever making so much as a peep before he decided to run for President. Just as bad, as a minority who's likely had to deal with racism at some point in his life, he refused to truly support glbt-equality by not standing up for gay marriage.

Clearly, Barack Obama doesn't want my support. However, John Edwards - a man who is bleeding his support in the polls - has little in the way of credentials and while solidly anti-war, just 'isn't there yet' on marriage equality. The real weird thing here is he supports the repeal of DOMA - the Defense of Marriage Act - which would effectively create marriage equality by mandating every state honor marriages from Massachusetts. Is it some sort of code that Edwards is using? I'll be honest, I don't want a President who speaks in tongues. If you fully support equality, don't shy away from it - embrace it.

Governor Bill Richardson's poll numbers are improving - and, in many ways, they should be. Out of all the candidates in this race, his credentials are by far the most impeccable. He's been the Ambassador to the United Nations - clearly someone who would make a great President-Diplomat and could do a lot to restore the leadership of this country around the world. In just the last few years, he's made deals in both Darfur and North Korea. The day Richardson would be elected, Iraq would be all but over. He's the popular Governor of New Mexico - and helped make a good deal of progress in that state. He was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Energy and has a decent track record on green issues.

Furthermore, he's wined and dined with the likes of the Human Rights Campaign, the highest-funded GLBT rights organization, but his record sadly doesn't match his rhetoric. When Richardson was a Congressman - did I mention he was a Congressman yet? - he voted for the most vile piece of homophobic legislation ever, DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA is the reason why people with a same-sex marriage or civil union can't, for example, receive federal benefits - like filing federal taxes together. It's why if one partner dies, when he or she worked for the Federal Government, the other won't receive that partner's pension, like any married couple would. It's why gay citizens can't bring their married immigrants to this country. The worst part of this whole thing is that Governor Richardson still sticks by that vote today.

So, who? Mike Gravel? Good on gay rights and Iraq, crazy as a bed-bug - he wants the freaking Flat Tax. He wants English as the Official Language. Don't even start about Kucinich: one of America's worst mayors ever, and while the fact that he believes weird mystical crap isn't really a problem, the fact that he'd turn that into a new Federal Department is a big one. Oh, and he was pro-life until the day he first ran for President - even a man with no chance panders.

There isn't a single candidate in this race that inspires me. There isn't a single candidate who's built a true netroot following, either. The candidates, this year, have divided everyone - none of the major blogs seem to be all that supportive of anyone. Barrack Obama could have so easily been that person, but his friendship with Joe Lieberman clearly made an impact - and not the good kind. If someone had a gun pointed to my head today, I'd vote for John Edwards. Let's just say, I'm proud to be in favor of gun control, because this race is really starting to scare me - hence, the Wanted Sign.
Cross posted at Progress Now

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ryan, you need to stop relying on blogs to get your info. Most of the stuff you're throwing at Obama are untrue. Look into it a little more and you'll find that for yourself.

There was nothing race-baiting about the outsourcing memo when you actually read the thing (and I say that as an Indian-American)

Obama publicly opposed the war before it started and has consistently said so ever since. He has also, with time, ratcheted up his calls for withdrawal as it has become clearer that Bush has no plan for success.

Obama did not chose Lieberman as a mentor, he was assigned to him, just as every freshman Senator is assigned a mentor. There is no evidence that they are friends and no real connection between their political career. It's just a weak connection that lazy opponents can exploit.

Ryan Adams said...

Anon,

That a) doesn't account for the fact that his campaign did advocate for Libby's pardon (for whatever warped sense they view) and b) the fact that he was certainly not drumming up his anti-war bonafides for the years previous to his deciding to run for President. Nothing he's done indicates, to me, that he would have voted against the initial resolution.

Furthermore, he endorsed Lieberman. 'Nuff said.

He's run a poor campaign and has never proven, in any campaign he's ever run, to be able to win a tough one. He's far from the progressive hero and - as David notes at Blue Mass Group, if he's not easy to contact from huge blogs like Americablog, he's clearly not doing his job campaigning.

I'm sorry, but I'm just not jumping on the Obama wagon... and I can't really call it a bandwagon, because it's not picking up that much steam...

And this is coming from someone who REALLY doesn't want to see Hillary win the primary. She's wrong for this country in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

Ryan,
It doesn't look like you spent much time looking into this stuff. Once again, almost everything you've said is false. The way you keep pulling out these false Obama smears makes me think you have no intention of considering him, but I'll give it another shot.

His campaign didn't advocate anything. That was his lawyer speaking for himself, and he wasn't really advocating anything either. He was just pointing out that Libby's pardon might benefit us politically.

In case you missed it, he gave a speech an anti-war rally before the war was launch saying that it was a stupid war that he opposed. Of course he would have voted against it. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. You might as well say you don't know how any anti-war person would have voted.

He endorsed Lieberman in the primary and endorsed Lamont in the general election. So there is more to be said.

He has more important things to do than talk to AmericaBlog especially when they have the nerve to call him a racist. Why should he talk to people like that?

And if you don't think Obama's campaign is picking up steam, you must have missed the latest polls showing him gaining on Hillary.

I don't care if you support him or not. Just inform yourself better. That way, you'll probably end up supporting him.

Anonymous said...

I agree, you really need to evaluate your sources.

You've been corrected on this crap about Kusinich being the worst mayor ever in the past. What was his crime according to teh lazy survey? OMG, he opposed privatising energy! That makes him a commie! Cue stupid headlines about "Worst Mayor' the Boston Herald hates him Ryan!

But Jeez, he hasn't been mayor a good many years now--and yet, his city has lower energy costs than the rest of Ohio to this day thanks to his efforts.

But who cares, it's ideology not results that count. If he'd privatised and now everybody in Ohio was in the same lousy boat, he'd be regarded as mayor #1, and you'd probably be endorsing him, good press is good press.

Endorse who you want, but for goodness sake, evaluate the sources before you just repeat things that are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Consumerism

Yes, all these guys are imperfect, well even smelly. But you are not going to get a great deal on a Democratic Party presidential candidate. Lots of reasons. Money talks louder than you do. Anyone running for President has to be driven. The hostile media environment for Democrats trains Democrats to be mushy and Republicans to be bold.
Democrats remain diffident even with a President polling in the high 20s. After 1980, "liberal" became a dirty word and prevaricating a bad Democratic habit. Boo hoo.

If you want inspiration you are looking in the wrong place. Change is going to come from us not from them. Don't treat them like consumer goods advertizing the highest percentage of inspiration. You'll just feel cheated.

-KBusch

Ryan Adams said...

Anon 1:49,

When have I been "corrected" about Kucinich being one of the worst mayor's ever? Certainly, the case has been made and I sourced the historical author who wrote the book on all the worst mayors in this country. Kucinich comes in 7th. If you disagree, that's your perogative, but everything I've read about him seems like he was a pretty abrasive guy.

Then the fact that he was pro-life for so long, then suddenly switched REALLY rubs me the wrong way.

Anon 10:23,

Again, what "smears" have I said that are false?

If it's not one thing, it's the other. Is it false to say that not only was Obama supporting coal-to-liquid legislation, but he was one of the lead sponsirs? No. That's not. And that was a terrible decision, no doubt influenced by the fact that there's a fair amount of coal in his state. Yet, that's not inexcusable.

I'm well aware of his anti-war speech before he was Senator, but as Kos just said were was Obama (or Hillary) on the war supplamental bill. Neither of them leaded us anywhere - they waited until the end to vote and never gave a sign as to where they were going to vote. Now, we're stuck with this war - because of the way the Democrats turned coat and gave in to Mr. 28% - and Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obaba's leadership could have kept the party together, preserving a philibuster on Iraq spending until Bush gave a time line. The true anti-war candidate would have led on that issue, but Obama was mum. (I wouldn't expect a warhawk like Hillary to lead on something like that).

Why should he talk to people like Americablog? They get 65,000 unique visitors every day. People who are trying to win elections often want to have a discussion with, you know, people who want to listen. The exact constituents Obama should be looking for are the readers of a blog like Americablog: liberals, progressives, minorities and people who often vote in primaries. That's why.

Lastly, the latest polls have shown quite the opposite. Obama has fallen to 22% support and Hillary has pushed ahead a bit. Maybe you are the one who should be checking their sources.

To all readers,

I'm not out to "smear" any candidate. Like I said in my blog, if someone held a gun to my head and told me to pick, I'd vote Edwards. That isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

Each candidate has done SOMETHING to really rub me the wrong way - and none of them have really lead on any of the issues I really care about in the way that I'd expect a POTUS to lead. By God, if I can't find a single candidate who is truly Pro-Equality and Anti-War (and actually LEADS on things like the Supplamental), then I'm just going to vote for Al Gore whether he likes it or not.

Dan Farnkoff said...

What about Dennis Kucinich? He's ugly, sure, but as many Americans might not realize, a person can be physically unattractive but still have important things to say. Heck, they may even be a worthwhile person! Kucinich opposed the Iraq war from the start, which (perhaps to his disadvantage) makes about 80% of the American people look like morons. By the way, Ryan, what did you think od Vennocchi's column today? What is her story anyway? She always finds a way to do the conservatives a favor without really admitting to fall into their camp. She's a puzzling, infuriating columnist. I somethimes get the impression she's got something personal against Deval Patrick.

CentralMAGuy said...

Ryan,

I share your concerns regarding the current Democratic field. Regardless of whatever gaffes or missteps Obama's campaign has made as of late, the fact remains that he's only been a U.S. Senator for two years and is woefully underexperienced and underqualified to be President. Obama has great potential to develop into a great statesman, but now is not the right time for him to leapfrog from the Illinois State Senate over his U.S. Senate seat and into the White House.

John Edwards also lacks the experience necessary to be president since his only political experience was one six-year term in the Senate. Richardson is the most experienced executive and diplomat in the race, but he seems to buckle under pressure (if you happened to catch his "Meet the Press" performance a few weeks ago). Chris Dodd and Joe Biden are also immensely experienced, but can't seem to catch a break in the media.

And then there's Hillary. I'm not a fan of dynasties in politics. Call me populist. She's been all over the spectrum politically, so I can't really pin down in what she believes. However, as a Democrat, I'd vote for her should she be the party's nominee.

It's still excessively early in the campaign cycle. The public is going to get bored with the field and get tired of the attacks. By Labor Day, I believe that the political climate will be ripe for somebody new to jump in and steal the media's attention and capture the public imagination. The best option for that kind of a candidate would be Al Gore. (The use of the term "climate" prior to mentioning Gore was not an intentional pun.)

Ryan Adams said...

Centralmaguy,

Let's hope you're right.

I'm tired of this field already.

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