Category Archives: Politics

My opinions and comments about things of a political nature.

Is this what they want? Really?

Supreme Court Judge John Paul Stevens announced today that he is retiring. President Obama stated that he wants to replace Judge Stevens with someone who has “an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people. It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in democracy powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

Some Conservatives have already vowed that they will oppose whoever he picks. Evidently they want someone who does not have an independent mind and will just do what he’s told. A record of excellence is irrelevant to them. Integrity, to them has no place in the judiciary. They also have been fighting the idea of the rule of law for the last 10 years at least. Some Conservative also don’t seem to be concerned how the law affects the daily lives of the American people. Perhaps they are only concerned with how it affects the well-to-do. They seem to want it to be someone who believes that powerful interests must be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.

I’m not a scholar or anything, but this doesn’t sound like what I was taught in civics class in high school.

My Political Choice

I’m not normally very “in-your-face” when it comes to discussing politics. I believe that the way a person votes in an election is a very personal thing and I’m not in favor of shoving my beliefs down anyone’s throats. Normally, I’m content to only discuss these things with people who wish to do so and let everyone vote his or her own conscience. In this election, I feel compelled to go a little bit further and proactively share my opinions with friends and acquaintances of mine.

I think this election is an extremely important one. We all need to consider very carefully our choice. This is why I’m writing to you. I support Barack Obama and Joe Biden in this election. Here are some of the reasons.

Most Americans will agree that this country is in a huge mess.

The American economy is in a shambles. The dollar is currently very low compared to other currencies. One US dollar is currently worth about 1.05 Canadian dollars. In 2004, when I took a trip to Canada, the dollar was worth about 1.25 Canadian Dollars.

Fuel costs have surged in just the last 3 years. In March of 2005, I bought my VW Beetle. At that time, gasoline was just approaching $2.00 per gallon. I thought the price was awful! I was amazed the first time I filled up my 15 gallon tank and it cost me nearly $30! My previous vehicle had a 10 gallon tank and I was used to being able to fill it for $20 or less. Now, $2.00/gallon seems cheap! Gasoline costs have backed down from their historic highs this spring and summer, but they are still too high. At one point this summer, it cost me $63 to fill up that formerly $30 fuel tank!

We are currently involved in two military conflicts on the other side of the world. One conflict (Afghanastan) was understandable and supported my most people. The other (Iraq) was (I believe) totally unnecessary, unjustified and is now widely not supported by most Americans and most of the world. These conflicts have cost us thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Afghani and Iraqi lives. The economic cost to us has been enormous! During a time when our economy is floundering, we are pumping trillions of dollars into these conflicts.

I could go on and on about our present woes, but I’ll stop here. There is no one cause of all of our troubles, but there is one factor that is consistent in why we are not able to resolve these problems. That is the current (Cheney-Bush) administration. All of these problems have transpired on their watch. In the worst cases, they have caused the problems (Iraq War) and in the best cases, they’ve sat by and allowed the situation to get worse (weak economy).

For six of the almost eight years of the administration, the Senate and House of Representative have been controlled by the Republican Party. The Democrats are not blameless, however, for most of this time, they have lacked to power to challenge the powers that be. The Republican congress has been content to blindly comply with the wishes of the Cheney-Bush administration without ever questioning anything.

In 2000, John McCain ran against Governor George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination. It was obvious (to me and many others) that Bush was supposed to be the “annointed one” by the Republican political machine. McCain ran counter to their desires. He revelled in being a Maverick. At an early point in the race, it looked like he might have a chance. People responded to his “Straight Talk”. That was soon quashed by the special interests involved. When he conceded the primary to George W. Bush, the Bush team pressured McCain into giving his endorsement. When he finally gave it, McCain said simply, “I endorse George W. Bush.” When he was questioned about why Bush would make a good president, McCain repeated, “I endorse George W. Bush.” This he repeated over and over. I liked this because I saw what he was doing. He was giving them what they asked for, but not exactly what they wanted nor exactly how they wanted it. I respected that in him.

Now, in 2008, things are much different. John McCain is now the Repbulican Party nominee for President. Rather than being the Maverick, he has become a member of the establishment. When many people started changing their minds about continuing the “war” in Iraq, McCain steadfastly started to march in lock step with his commander and spout the same “no cut and run rhetoric”. Since then (and slightly before) they have become inextricably locked together.

McCain is now running on a campaign of change. His qualifications to carry this out are dubious at best. He was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1982 to 1987. He has been a US Senator since 1987. That a total of 26 years in Congress. During the first six years of current administration, he was in the controlling party. Also, according to John McCain, he has voted with George W. Bush over 90% of the time!

For John McCain to claim to be the best agent of change in this election is laughable. If he was in the controlling party for six of the last eight years, how did he allow the country to get in this shape? Also, how is he going to bring about change when he has a history of voting like Bush? He will most likely continue the same policies that have gotten us into this mess. It is ludicrous to expect a different outcome when you continue doing the same things over and over!

During the last eight years, very serious harm has been done to this country. Of all the harmful things that have happened, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were probably among the least. The most harmful things have included: becoming involved in an unnecessary and intractable war, the loss of soft US power in the world arena, the torturing of captives and the subsequent loss of US moral authority, the horrible condition of our economy, the weakening of the US dollar, extraordinarily high energy prices, the US taking unilateral action without the backing of the majority of the rest of the world, the ignoring of planetary threats (global climate change) and many other concerns.

For John McCain and the Republican party to tell us that they are the best choice for this country is like an irresponsible, abusive spouse whom you’ve kicked out. He says he knows he messed up again and again, however this time he’s really changed. If you’ll just give him one more chance, he’ll be the best partner ever.

Brack Obama is, admittedly, a somewhat unknown quantity. The unknown is sometimes scarey just because it’s unknown. However, should we make a choice between someone who promises change and we have no reason so far to doubt him, or someone who promises change, yet has consistently been part of the problem or least let the problem continue.

I’m willing to embrace the unknown and support Senator Obama. I’m willing to have hope for this country that it will once again be a great nation. The other option is the anti-hope candidate that uses fear and hatred to control us. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take hope anytime.

Thanks so much for letting me come to you this way. Hopefully, you can tell that this is a subject about which I’ve given a lot of thought and am passionate. As I stated earlier, I really do respect your opinions. I’ll be making some more posts here about the topic. If you’re interested, please come back and read some more. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I sent it to you because it’s such an important issue and you’re an important person to me. Thanks again.

Sincerely, Mike Moore

Flip-Flopping

I just read an article about the idea of “flip-flopping” in politics. The articles makes the point that this practice isn’t all bad. I would tend to agree with that. In reality, I really dislike the term “flip-flopping”. It unfairly simplifies the issues.

To me, it should be called what it is… changing one’s mind. When politicians change their stand on an issue, there could be purely political reasons behind it, but much of the time, I believe, there are less sinister reasons for it.

For the last 7+ years, we have had an administration which has refused to change its mind, even when presented with new facts which contradict a position. This is an extremely dangerous practice! I’ll not elaborate further, but just throw the opinion out there. Of course, it’s equally dangerous to change one’s position on a whim, solely because the political wind changes.

It seems to me that in this case (as in many others), the best path lies somewhere in between. A good, effective leader, should be concerned with getting as much information as possible on a subject and basing his or her opinion on the available facts. When given contradictory evidence, a truly great leader should have the courage to change his or her mind. I have rarely heard a politician simply say, “I changed my mind.” when charged with flip-flopping. I don’t see what the big deal is. We all do it and we all understand it.

One of the things I’m looking for in the next president is the ability to be thoughtful and decisive, and to also be curageous enough to change his views. When these views are made or changed, I want the next leader to be able to explain to me why he believes his views to be correct and to convince me as well. To me, this is what a great leader should do. Unfortunately, this has been sorely lacking on the national seen here in the US for almost 8 years.

We really do need a change in so many ways.