Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Back to The Serious Stuff

I haven't written a good politics blog in a while, and I feel like I am overdue to air my developing thoughts on the Presidential race. Maybe the reason I haven't written is because the race has become so completely unwatchable.

There was a time that I liked both of the candidates. I liked McCain's experience, his commitment to principles and his toughness. Obama was fresh, energetic and free of the partisan shackles of so many lifetime politicians from the baby-boomer generation.

And then what happened? Well, I guess I still like those things about McCain, but we also have to recognize that he is really, really old. And he would look so much like a one-termer that I just can't see him being at all effectual. His own party barely tolerates him, the opposition obviously dislikes him, and the 2012 election cycle would basically start a week after he took the oath of office. I still like the way he talks about controlling spending and curbing entitlement growth, but that is about it. He has admitted to being an economic novice, and I am not a huge fan of either his social or foreign policy ideas...not a real good combination.

As for Obama, he looks more and more like a shallow opportunist all the time. He was an unapologetic liberal during the primary, but now he is suddenly in favor of faith-based social initiatives? And maybe NAFTA just isn't as bad as he first thought? And industrial regulation is a cumbersome detriment to business? Funny how these things didn't come up during the primary when he was trying to win union votes from Hillary Clinton...

I also can't see any way that the government doesn't expand dramatically if he is president. A quick scan through this (which is actually really good!) shows $150 billion over 10 years for renewable energy, $10 billion to bail out homeowners with bad mortgages, $10 billion for local infrastructure along with a $60 billion infrastructure investment bank. Also, he has promised $65 billion for universal health care, $10 billion for tuition, and a $50 billion economic stimulus (which begs the question...if you hated the last $180 billion one, why is another $50 gonna help?). That's ok though, since he has pretty much promised to raise every tax he could possible think of;-).

And there are times where he can't get out of his own way. He is adamantly opposed to privatizing social security...but he is in favor of the government matching retirement savings for low income workers. I actually sort of like the principle...but if I were to call it "expanded social security and privatizing the expansion," would I really be wrong? It is government-funded, private retirement accounts...sounds pretty similar to me.

My real issue with him is...where are all of the new ideas? This looks like pretty basic Democratic policy stuff...wealth redistribution and expansion of government. Where are the revolutionary policies that will combine the best of conservative and liberal thinking into the "practical, not ideological" solutions that he has promised? I sure haven't seen it yet, and I have to admit, I am pretty disappointed in that.

So far. November is still a long way off...

5 comments:

Rachel said...

I can't believe that November is still such a long way off, and I'm pretty tired of election drama!

KT said...

yeah i'm not feeling either of these candidates and i have no idea what i'm gonna do come election time. not vote?

Ys said...

You've got to remember that when they're trying to win votes they talk big and promise lots, but when it looks as though they might actually get the power they turn tail and have to admit that most of their promises are not feasable. You have to cut through the crap and try to see the ideas they have and hope that their ideas are enough to push through some change. Unfortunately, change comes very slowly in politics.

allbilly said...

in your line of work...i'd think you'd find "shallow opportunist" as a plus....

look...they both suck pretty badly in their own right...i think the real issue is who would they put in place around them re: cabinet, VP....etc...i actully think the VP selections will matter in this election...and believe it or not...swing some voters.

Accidentally Me said...

Billy - In that regard, I think they both score pretty highly. Based on the way they have put together their advisors, I think they would both assemble good teams.

Neither seems like the kind of guy to avoid people who might disagree with him, and both seem comfortable enough in their own skin to allow some internal debate.

Obama's VP selection is pretty irrelevant, but McCain's will matter more, just because he is so freaking old.