Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama!!!

I am thrilled, almost euphoric!

America has made the right electoral choice, and has demonstrated that it is time to finally look forward. Retrograde policies have had their chance, and they have been shown wanting before all of our eyes. That 47% of the electorate does not see this is troubling, but it is now incumbant on those of us who see a progressive way forward to demonstrate that we are on the right side of destiny. As the results of "marriage" amendments in the various states show, there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, we should not concern ourselves to turn those injustices just yet. We have first to demonstrate that our ideas are superior and will lead the USA towards a brighter future.

There are so many issues on which Obama's ideas are superior, it would require a dissertation to describe them all. To focus on those where McCain was simply bankrupt, you can look at healthcare, foreign policy, the economy and economic crisis, and tax policy.

Our way to the future will involve universal and affordable healthcare. We would probably have gotten there after McCain completely destroyed any semblance of a just and workable system, but Obama can take us there without such a crisis. Hopefully, that will happen.

Our foreign policy must be willing to take risks by showing apparent weakness. Belligerent policies lead to conflict, as Bush II's policies have shown. Just today (11/5/08), Russia is acting to counter the missile shield the US is installing in eastern Europe by deploying new missiles. In fact, the US missile shield will not protect us, and it will hurt us. I know that Obama is pro-BMD, but I also believe that he will talk to and respect our adversaries as much as our friends. Those dialogs will lead to increased mutual understanding and reduce the need for costly and likely impotent defenses. There are many challenges, and it will take a long time to resolve them---much longer thanks to 8 years of belligerence---but Obama can take us in the right direction. McCain would lead us further down the path to another global war.

On the economy, remarkably McCain still does not recognize the bankruptcy of deregulation. Not only does he want to destroy the healthcare system with such policy, but he would continue such governance of the economy. Self-regulation has led us to an economic crisis that is unprecedented, except by the 1929 crash. In 1929 (and later in 1932 when FDR took the presidency), the US was running budget surpluses, so government intervention was more realistic and affordable, albeit in a deeper (to this point) crisis. But the fix is not in re-regulation; that will only maintain the economy once it returns to strength. Re-invigorating the US and world economy will require confidence amongst the holders of world capital. To that end, Obama has a little of Ronald Reagan in him. Reagan, in spite of his espousing of ultimately failed and dangerous policies, engendered confidence in the people. Obama will have to do the same, and it seems to me he has the makeup to do so. Success in this area will require a steady hand and consistent policy, neither of which have been demonstrated by McCain over the course of the campaign, while Obama has appeared much better.

Tax policy is a difficult area where I hope that Obama will break through. We have been through 28 years of class warfare when it comes to taxation, and now it is not only possible, but likely, that your millionaire boss pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than you do from your "pay as you go" middle-class salary. This is grossly unfair, regressive, and economically unsustainable. We have created an aristocracy in our country, something that our founders rebelled against. McCain supports tax policies that would not only perpetuate this situation, but make it far worse. Change, recovery, will not be painless, but the holders of wealth in our country are more capable of supporting such pain, and they should be willing, even enthusiastically, to accept such pain. They will pay higher taxes, but in the long run, it will be best for them, just as it will be for the rest of us. Paying taxis IS PATRIOTIC! Borrowing from China is not.

My final thought is on the choice of running mate. I am still in denial that a coherent, rational person would consider someone of such thin qualifications for such a crucial post. However, even should Palin not have been so shallow in her preparations, her political and personal beliefs are precisely those that have brought us to the edge of a second great depression. Her choice was a disaster for the McCain campaign, and it could have been a disaster for the whole nation. It was her choice that convinced me that the John McCain of 2008 was not the competent and rational man who ran in 2000.

Republicans have consistently shown a desire to rule. They have tried to mandate from narrow majorities, and as a result, they have divided the country with false "facts" and, frankly, incompetent ideas and governance. On the other hand, Democratic presidents have shown that their goal is to govern. Governing means taking a broader view of issues and the world, and as a result, forming consensus for good ideas. Remember, our government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people".

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