Liberal Americans: Make Your Vote Count!

In my last two posts, I dealt with the myth that Democrats are bigger spenders than Republicans (in fact the Republicans have been all-time record spenders since Reagan), as well as the improbability that Libertarians represent a viable political alternative in the real world. I have also written about the folly of basing your vote on your religious beliefs, and the hypocrisy of the Republicans’ claims to the “moral high ground”—by lying in order to fabricate smears against their opponent—while they knowingly engage in infinitely greater corruption themselves. It is unbelievable that Republicans are still trying to smear Obama for his perfectly innocent associations with William Ayers and ACORN, while at the same time Sarah Palin is actually convicted of violating the public trust, and worst of all, George W. Bush sent thousands of Americans to their deaths and stole trillions of dollars from future generations of Americans, on a lie about supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yet in spite of the astounding magnitude of all this corruption, dishonesty and irresponsibility, many Americans still see fit to tar the Democrats with the same brush, even though they have never been known to have engaged in anything like this (and don’t try to tell me Clinton’s blow job was “corrupt”!). Many of these people are actually quite liberal leaning in terms of their politics, yet they have become so disillusioned with the whole political process, that they don’t even want to vote Democrat any more.

Interestingly, we had the same problem here in Australia. The Howard government was so corrupt and dishonest that many Australians found the reality difficult to face, especially if they themselves voted for him. So they either went into denial, or tried to dismiss all politicians as inherently corrupt, and just as bad as eachother. This way, they didn’t need to take responsibility for voting for Howard, or indeed anyone else (just in case they turned out to be corrupt and dishonest too). But of course, things eventually got so bad (especially after Howard’s changes to our industrial relations laws) that people could no longer ignore reality, and they voted him out in a landslide. And lo and behold, the Rudd government have stuck to their election promises so far, by reversing John Howard’s industrial relations laws, as well as returning Australia to the compassionate and environmentally responsible country it always had been before. For example, we now handle refugees in a fair and compassionate manner again (while still maintaining national security), we have signed the Kyoto Protocol (which was in fact Kevin Rudd’s very first act of parliament) and we will be starting carbon trading by 2010. Many people kept saying that both major political parties in Australia are the same, but history has shown they are not: Kevin Rudd has indeed brought positive change to Australia. Ultimately though, all he really did was reverse Howard’s extreme conservatism, and brought Australia back to normal.

And so I think it will be for America under Obama. Indeed, there are many striking parallels between Rudd and Obama: both are highly intelligent, relaxed and statesmanlike. Plus it also has to be said, both are consummate politicians, something that Rudd was criticised for just as Obama is now. And even more strikingly, Rudd was also much younger than his opponent, and relatively inexperienced, something for which his opponents criticised him strongly. But none of this has stopped Kevin Rudd from being about as good a prime minister as you could reasonably expect, and I suspect exactly the same will be true of Obama. Indeed, his relative inexperience may actually be a plus in many ways, as he won’t be as set in his ways, and he has already shown a great willingness to listen to a wide range of other more experienced people’s opinions, from right across the political spectrum. What’s more, he has the intelligence to sort the wheat from the chaff—it is amusing that Republicans criticise Obama’s inexperience when they also support Sarah Palin, who is not only inexperienced, but has not shown any willingness to listen to the opinions of others, nor the intellect to judge them.

It seems many Americans think it is naive to expect change if Obama is elected, but as Australia’s experience has shown, I think it would be naive to not expect change. The fact of the matter is, the Bush administration must surely be the most right wing extremist government in America’s history—even if all Obama does is return America to normality (as Rudd did in Australia), it will still be a big change! Many doubt Obama’s sincerity that he will take the US out of Iraq, but at least he has made a commitment to do so, instead of a promise to continue it as McCain has! What’s more, Obama was one of the few US senators who had the fortitude to vote against the Iraq war in the first place, so he already has an established record of opposing it. Besides, why wouldn’t he want to pull the US out of Iraq? Not only would he be fulfilling one of his key election promises, but it is hard to see what down side it would have for him. He doesn’t have to try to justify the folly of the decision to start this war—indeed, pulling out would simply be a fulfillment of what he has stated all along. The only thing I can see that would hold him up would be the simple logistics of the pull out itself, but that would simply mean he is being prudent and responsible in how he goes about it, which obviously is no bad thing.

At the end of the day, if liberal Americans want their voice to be heard, they will have to unite behind the only liberal candidate who has any chance of winning this election, and that is Obama. After all, the conservatives will all be lining up behind the ballot box to vote Republican, and the only way to effectively counter that will be to vote for Obama—every vote for an independent or minor party (or choosing not to vote at all) will bring the Republicans one step closer to the White House. And with the Iraq war, the financial crisis and especially Sarah Palin being but a heart beat (or a heart attack) away from becoming the Republicans’ Presidential candidate, that’s an outcome we simply cannot afford, not only for America, but for the rest of the world as well. I mean, let’s face it: the prospect of this simpleton who looks forward to the rapture being in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal is truly terrifying, and she has already promised to push the teaching of creationism in science class, as well as overturn Roe vs. Wade. The whole world will be watching this election with great anticipation, and you can be sure we will be counting on you to do the right thing at the ballot box on polling day!

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One other important thing I forgot to mention: if you’re a republican who resents the neo-cons and the religious right taking over the party, I think you should very strongly consider voting for Obama as well. Because if the republicans lose in landslide, they may re-think their position, and we may at last see the end of the neo-conservative movement.

  
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I’ve already sent in my absentee ballot, although I’m sure it will not count. (I’m registered in AL), but I do hope the neocons & religious right are through after this.

Oh, BTW, one correction-Obama never got a chance to vote on the Iraq invasion, as he didn’t get elected to the senate until 2004, and the US has been there since March 2003. You may have meant he voted against funding bills & such, but it reads like he voted against sending troops in the first place.

PPS, as per your last blog, I wouldn’t define Obama as liberal, especially considering you define libertarians as ‘one step away from anarchy’. That would make liberals ‘one step away from communism.’ Obama is certainly not that.

  
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By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Jimmy Carter became our 39th president at the young age of 52. He was a
one-term governor from Plains, GA, where he managed the family peanut farm and taught Sunday school. He was also a graduate of the Naval Academy and served seven years in the Navy, leaving as a lieutenant.

He came to power in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the resignation of President Nixon. The public wanted change and someone new, and Carter was an ambitious, hands-on politician who promised better days. As good as his intentions were, however, the things he tried were not successful. In fact, he created far more serious problems than he ever solved.

The centerpiece of Carter’s foreign policy was human rights, and he did
achieve one noble success: a peace treaty between Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin.
Unfortunately, that later led to Sadat’s assassination at the hands of
Muslim radicals.

Many people felt Carter was a good man who worked hard and meant well. But he was naive and incompetent in handling the enormous burdens and complex challenges of being president.

He wrongly believed Americans had an ‘inordinate fear of communism,’ so
he lifted travel bans to Cuba, North Vietnam and Cambodia and pardoned draft evaders. He also stopped B-1 bomber production and gave away our strategically located Panama Canal .

His most damaging miscalculation was the withdrawal of U.S. support for
the Shah of Iran, a strong and longtime military ally. Carter objected to the Shah’s alleged mistreatment of imprisoned Soviet spies who were working to overthrow Iran’s government. He thought the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, being a religious man, would make a fairer leader.

Having lost U.S. support, the Shah was overthrown, the Ayatollah
returned, Iran was declared an Islamic nation and Palestinian hit men were hired to eliminate opposition.

The Ayatollah then introduced the idea of suicide bombers to the
Palestine Liberation Organization, paying $35,000 to PLO families whose young people were brainwashed to kill as many Israelis as possible by blowing themselves up in crowded shopping areas.

Next, the Ayatollah used Iran’s oil wealth to create, train and finance
a new terrorist organization, Hezbollah, which later would attack Israel in
2006.

In November 1979, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other Iranians stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Not until six months into the ordeal did Carter attempt a rescue. But the mission, using just six Navy helicopters, was poorly executed. Three of the copters were disabled or lost in sandstorms. (Pilots weren’t allowed to meet with weather forecasters because someone in authority worried about security.) Five airmen and three Marines lost their lives.

So, due to overconfidence, inexperience and poor judgment, Carter
undermined and lost a strong ally, Iran, that today aggressively threatens the U.S., Israel and the rest of the world with nuclear weapons.

But that’s not all. After Carter met for the first time with Soviet
leader Leonid Brezhnev, the USSR promptly invaded Afghanistan . Carter, ever the naive appeaser, was shocked. ‘I can’t believe the Russians lied to me,’ he said.

The invasion attracted a 23-year-old Saudi named Osama bin Laden to
Afghanistan to recruit Muslim fighters and raise money for an anti-Soviet jihad. Part of that group eventually became al-Qaida, a terrorist organization that would declare war on America several times between 1996 and 1998 before attacking us on 9/11, killing more Americans than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor .

On Carter’s watch, the Soviet Union went on an unrestrained rampage in
which it took over not only Afghanistan, but also Ethiopia, South Yemen, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, Grenada and Nicaragua.

In spite of this, Carter’s last defense budget proposed spending 45%
below pre-Vietnam levels for fighter aircraft, 75% for ships, 83% for attack
submarines and 90% for helicopters. Years later, as a civilian, Carter negotiated a peace agreement with North Korea to keep that communist country from developing nuclear weapons. He also convinced President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to go along with it. But the signed piece of paper proved worthless. The North Koreans deceived Carter and instead used our money, incentives and technical equipment to build nuclear weapons and pose the threat we face today.

Thus did Carter unwittingly become our Neville Chamberlain, creating
with his well-intended but inept, unrealistic and gullible actions the very
conditions that led to the three most dangerou s security threats we face today: Iran, al-Qaida and North Korea .

On the domestic side, Carter gave us inflation of 15%, the highest in 34
years; interest rates of 21%, the highest in 115 years; and a severe energy crisis with lines around the block at gas stations nationwide.

In 1977, Carter, along with a Democrat Congress, created a worthy
project with noble intentions: the Community Reinvestment Act. Over strong industry objections, it mandated that all banks meet the credit needs of their entire communities.

In 1995, President Clinton imposed even stronger regulations and
performance tests that coerced banks to substantially increase loans to low-income, poverty-area borrowers or face fines or possible restrictions on expansion. These revisions allowed for securitization of CRA loans containing sub prime mortgages.

By 1997, good loans were bundled with poor ones and sold as prime
packages to institutions here and abroad. That shifted risk from the loan
originators, freeing banks to begin pyramiding and make more of these profitable sub prime products.

Under two young, well-intended presidents, therefore, big-government
plans and mandates played a significant role in the current sub prime mortgage mess and its catastrophic consequences for the U.S. and international economies.

Hardest-hit by the mortgage foreclosures have been the citizens that
Democrats always claim to help most, inner-city residents who fell victim to low or no down payment schemes, unexpected adjustable rates, deceptive loan applications and commission-hungry salespeople.

Now we’re having to bail out at huge cost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
the very agencies that were supposed to stabilize the system. In time, this should improve the situation. But the party of Carter and Clinton that midwifed our mortgage mess now wants to be trusted to take over a nd have the government run our entire system of health care!

And everyone is blaming Bush for our current problems.

  
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1. I would never presume to tell Australians how to vote: I consider that arrogant.
2. The US is not Australia.
3. The Republicans have already lost the election; they should have gone with McCain’s choice, which was Lieberman.
4. Obama is not naive; his choice of runningmate tells me pretty clearly that he intends to undercut the 2nd Amendment, which will be the beginning of the end of the Constitution.
5. Whoever wins the election, the American people will lose;
6. Clinton’s moral turpitude did not begin and end with one incident; his sexual peccadilloes extend back to his governorship of Arkansas, when he used the state police to procure women for him while he was also conniving with his buddy Tyson to allow him to use illegal labour in his processing plants; the man was nearly impeached for good and sufficient reason. Also, while he was governor of Arkansas, the state’s educational level continued to be one of the lowest in the country;
7. Libertarianism is a theory that may never be proven, since a ‘Libertarian government’ is almost an oxymoron; nevertheless, government tinkering with the economy has caused as many problems as it has solved;
8. If both parties do not move more toward the centre, we may see worse problems in America than now exist. In any case, whoever wins there will very likely be more erosion of civil rights in the name of ‘national security’ than have already taken place;
9. Obama has lied; McCain has lied — as to their runningmates, neither possesses any virtue whatsoever.
10. Ruby Ridge was under Bush; Waco under Clinton. Children died unnecessarily in both cases, and neither President took the heat, letting subordinates fall on their swords for them. Accountability in government has nearly ceased to exist in this country.
11. No matter who is President, the government infrastructure remains the same. A lot of matters are controlled, not by law, but by regulation, which is a problem that needs to be addressed.

  
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Originally Posted By Sagredo
I’ve already sent in my absentee ballot, although I’m sure it will not count. (I’m registered in AL), but I do hope the neocons & religious right are through after this.

Absolutely!

Oh, BTW, one correction-Obama never got a chance to vote on the Iraq invasion, as he didn’t get elected to the senate until 2004, and the US has been there since March 2003. You may have meant he voted against funding bills & such, but it reads like he voted against sending troops in the first place.

That is what I meant of course, but thanks for the clarification!

PPS, as per your last blog, I wouldn’t define Obama as liberal, especially considering you define libertarians as ‘one step away from anarchy’. That would make liberals ‘one step away from communism.’ Obama is certainly not that.

It seems we simply define liberal differently, and I think my definition is closer to the real one – it simply means he is politically progressive.

  
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Originally Posted By Justa Guy
On the domestic side, Carter gave us inflation of 15%, the highest in 34
years; interest rates of 21%, the highest in 115 years; and a severe energy crisis with lines around the block at gas stations nationwide.

In doing our research for these articles, I discovered that, just as Ronald Reagan is one of the most unjustly praised presidents in US history, Jimmy Carter is also one of the most unfairly maligned. I would like to do a post on him some time, but I’ll just quickly respond to this point. Carter didn’t give us this inflation – it was already very high under the previous republican administration, but it wasn’t their fault either – it was the fault of oil shocks of the 70s (inflation was very high right across the western world for exactly the same reason). Plus of course, he sure as hell wasn’t responsible for the eneregy crisis other – that was once again a direct result of the oil shocks. In fact, he was making the hard decisions to remove America’s dependancy on foreign oil, which Reagan reversed, much to the detriment of America’s future. And he wasn’t responsible for these interest rates either – that was his appointee as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volker. He did it to bring inflation under control, which history has shown worked – that’s why Reagan continued his appointment, and took the credit for the drops in inflation and interest rates thereafter.

  
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Originally Posted By mmcquown
1. I would never presume to tell Australians how to vote: I consider that arrogant.

Conservatives keep telling me this, but the fact of the matter is, the US president is effectively the leader of the free world, so it does matter a lot to us, especially when that president is engaging in illegal wars which threaten the security of the entire world. So we will all be watching this election with great anticipation, and hoping Obama wins. Australia’s PM won’t make any difference to you.

6. Clinton’s moral turpitude did not begin and end with one incident; his sexual peccadilloes extend back to his governorship of Arkansas, when he used the state police to procure women for him while he was also conniving with his buddy Tyson to allow him to use illegal labour in his processing plants; the man was nearly impeached for good and sufficient reason.

Conservatives love to go on about this sort of thing too, but I fail to see what difference it makes to Clinton’s ability to do the job – and history has shown he did a great job as president.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko
It seems we simply define liberal differently, and I think my definition is closer to the real one – it simply means he is politically progressive.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/liberal

OK, so it can mean progressive, but libertarian is given as a synonym, so what does that tell you?

Also:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberal

No mention of progressive. It does mention not bound by tradition, but that doesn’t mean progressive, could easily mean people bound to novelty

  
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Jimmy Carter has indeed been much maligned by political foes. But Sachiko’s team, in posting their most recent (differential) performance vs. party-choice chart, has shown that Carter (and SOME associates, fortunately) conformed admirably well to the overall performance profile of US Democrat leadership. Carter endured great misfortune during his term of office, as did his prior Republican counterpart Gerald Ford. Both of those presidents found themselves as heads of the armed forces in actions for which they were inadequately informed and prepared by the various US intelligence services (CIA, etc.). Some of these screw-ups (only Carter’s of course!) were quoted above, which led to a “blowing of cover” for the US before world-wide news media audiences, and loss of lives in abortive military excursions. I strongly suspect that sabotage and deliberate negligence were factors in those intelligence-service bungles, but I haven’t researched that, or run across any specific studies. Carter, in spite of doing his best to appoint “good people”, also found his cabinet staffed up with a quorum of glib-talking irresponsible “goodtime Charlies” once his term of office got well underway. Midway through his hitch, he fired and replaced most of or all of his cabinet (including Califano and others) in a dramatic show of anger that gave his opponents some more fuel for new jibes. But others on the scene at the time commented rightly upon Carter’s unexpected strength and vision as a leader. His role as a US EX-president in world diplomacy, in many ways, seems to overshadow his service in the Presidency, in the context of recorded history.

  
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Forest for the trees.

Nothing is going to change. Nothing has changed. I strongly recommend a thorough reading of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (all six volumes, including footnotes).

It wasn’t the barbarians…it was over-regulation, over-taxation and more importantly, corruption.

And now comes a new administration that just recylces the same old unindicted co-conspirators.

  
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As I’ve said previously, the Bush administration is so extreme, that it would actually be surprising if there wasn’t significant change with both a new administration and a change of political party. The world has never seen a US government like the Bush administration, and hopefully never will again!

  
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