Saturday, January 26, 2008

Election 2008, Impressions (part II) The Democrats

So, I lied. I didn't get this done yesterday. But here it Anyway.

As I sit here and write this, there is currently less than an hour until the polls close in the South Carolina primary. This could mean the end of the road for one or more candidates, but I'm writing right now with the current candidates still in mind. So, without further ado, the Democrats:

*Senator Hillary Clinton
Basically, when you get down to it, I'm not really a big fan. First of all, I disagree with her on many issues. She's been known for a long time as a major proponent of a socialized healthcare plan. On the war, she's been inconsistent. She made a major mistake in the beginning, voting to approve war funding and to give the president permission for a long-term deployment. She's since advocated a withdrawal from Iraq. Whether this is truly what she wants, or if she's merely following the popular sentiments of her party, God only knows. As far as most domestic issues go, she's basically a classic Democrat, favoring increased government programs and assistance, and covering the cost through tax increases. To her credit, she has recently advocated a balanced budget, but personally, I don't want to cover the costs for a lot of things she'd be paying for. On the positive side, I do like the ideas behind her plan to increase confidence in government. Also, her immigration reform plans seem like a step in the right direction, if not a genuine solution. She likes to paint herself as the experienced candidate. Apparently, being first lady gives her experience, because being a Senator makes her soooo unique in this years' field. What it ultimately comes down to for me, though, is that I just don't trust her. I look at Hillary and I see a politician's politician. I realize this is truly subjective, and that if she does get elected, she may turn out to be a noble leader, but I'd be willing to bet that she'd do whatever she could and step on whoever she could to get her personal agenda ahead. Also, a Hillary win means a return to Bill. Anyone who's been paying attention can see that, for better or worse, they're operating this thing as a team, and though it probably won't be in any official capacity, he would wield influence in a Hillary White House.

*Former Senator John Edwards
Edwards, who was a major player in the 2004 Democratic primaries, and the eventual running mate for John Kerry, has fallen somewhat by the wayside in this year's elections. He, like all the Democratic candidates, favors a comprehensive healthcare system; his plan would call for across the board coverage by 2012, paid for by repealing tax cuts passed during the Bush administration. Also, poorer families would receive tax subsidies. He's also proposed a plan to end poverty by 2037, of which one of the steps would be to move the poverty line. Some of the policies make sense to me, some do not, but considering I could write an entire post about it, I'm not going to get into details. Needless to say, it would entail a lot of government handouts. For foreign policy, on one hand, he favors a quick withdrawal from Iraq, but on the other hand, advocates US intervention in other countries on other issues. He also favors education reform, and giving legal status to some illegal immigrants. The way things look now, if he does not put together a strong showing in today's South Carolina primary, he may drop out of the race. South Carolina being his home state, this probably represents his best chance for a win. That said, he may stay in all the way to the convention on principal. If his history is any indication, he may try for a spot in the administration of an eventual Democratic winner.

*Former Senator Mike "Give 'em Hell" Gravel
Mike Gravel is the only marginal candidate still in the race for the Democrats. He is most known for being from Alaska, strange YouTube videos, and standing on the edge of the stage during debates, yelling about how he doesn't get enough opportunities to speak. He is staunchly anti-war, emphasizes environmental responsibility, supports the Fair Tax plan, universal health care, and increased funding for education. All that said, none of his positions hold any importance in his race, as his party has completely written him off. None of his opponents pay him any mind, and the commentators don't even bother dismissing him anymore.

*Senator Barack Obama
Obama, unlike the other viable candidates in this race, has consistently voted against the war in Iraq. He supports tax reforms to make the code more simple, and also provide tax credits to the working class. He supports the establishment of a preschool education system, as well as further reforms for national education requirements to encourage higher performance. He also supports universal health care. Uniquely, he favors negotiating with our enemies, rather than ending all relations completely. The main problem with him is that I can't see him speak without thinking of Dave Chappelle impersonating a white guy! Seriously though, he says he's the change candidate...again, whether or not he would actually change anything, time may tell. A lot of people seem to talk about him affecting the vote simply by virtue of being black. This may be true, but the same situation could be said of Clinton being a woman.

Together, their mudslinging has brought the race to a point of constant accusations, the funniest of which took place in last weeks' debate, in which they spent ten minutes arguing about who liked Ronald Reagan the least. Anyway, this election is still tight, and depending on how super Tuesday comes out, this one may go deep into the primaries without being decided.

The next post will cover the Republicans. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this thought:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Election 2008, Impressions (part 1)

This post was supposed to outline my impressions of the current presidential candidates. As I began reading and writing, though, I realized that these impressions were inherently tied to my views on the "hot button" issues. It quickly became apparent that I'd have much more explaining to do than I originally intended, so, I've decided to write this one in a few separate parts. Part one here covers my opinions on some of the big issues this election year. I haven't covered every little thing, and I'd be happy to respond to inquiries about other issues. So, here it is, the post to inform my readership (which, by my estimates, fluctuates from around 2-5) of my opinions on some issues, because I feel it's necessary if I'm going to discuss my opinions on the current crop of candidates. Also, because I like talking politics. Now, with that tripe out of the way, on to the post proper:

Here are my basic stances on a few key campaign issues:
  • I am against national healthcare. Yes, our current system is broken, but putting it in the hands of the government is not the way to fix it. That will only break it in new, different ways.
  • The war in Iraq is wrong. We went there under false pretenses, and threw a relatively stable country into chaos. Yes, Saddam was an evil man and deserved to be dealt with, but not by us. Now, we are stuck maintaining an occupation that's costing billions of dollars that could be spent on a worthy cause at home, while we watch as some thousands of our finest men and women, who could be working to ensure the security of our nation, are killed propping up a weak government. We've lost sight of our true, direct enemy, Al Qaeda who attacked us on our own soil, and still considers themselves to be in a state of war with all Americans, military and civilian. Meanwhile, we anger less extreme Muslims and bolster our enemy's cause with our unjust war. All that said, we cannot abandon Iraq just yet. We need to work DIPLOMATICALLY with the disputing IRAQI parties, and broker some sort of consensus, where they can govern and police the country themselves. Then, we can pull the troops out.
  • Yes, we have a problem with illegal immigration. Does it bother me? Not a whole lot. People want to come here because, despite its myriad problems, this is the freest country in the world. Rather than simply step up enforcement to try keeping people out, we should make it easier for those who want to come here and contribute to our economy to get here legally. Also, people who are here on some sort of work or study visa, and desire to stay longer should be able to, but if they desire to stay, they should have to become citizens, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. This issue is very simple, really. Those who want to live here permanently should become citizens. If they do not, they need to extend their visa or go back home. None of this hanging around, undocumented business. As for the illegal immigrants already here, I favor blanket amnesty on a track to citizenship. If they do not want citizenship, they should obtain some sort of documentation or face deportation. This is unpopular with many people, because it rewards illegal behavior. I suppose it does. But it also provides a pragmatic solution to a problem that's not going away. This would be a one time thing, and before it took place, enforcement would have to be ramped up. Once the amnesty program was complete, nothing like it should be needed again, unless the situation drastically changed.
  • I'm pro-choice, anti-abortion. I think unless the health of the mother is at risk, it's always a better decision to carry a baby to be born, and if you don't want a child, give it up for adoption. At the same time, I know it's not my place to make decisions for pregnant women. It may be an ugly practice, but it's not the government's place to say whether or not it can be done. That's between the woman in question, her doctor, and her God.
  • Our tax system is inherently broken. It is complicated and unfair. Depending on your particular occupation and level of income, your money may be taxed five times before it leaves your hands. For a long time, I've favored a flat tax, with breaks built in for charitable donations. Then again, income tax was unconstitutional in this country until 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment. I read somewhere that without income taxes, the government's budget would only be cut down to the size of that in the late 90's. While I don't see this as entirely practical, it's clear that our tax system needs to be scrapped completely, not tweaked.
  • The rampant deficit spending out country has been up to since 2001 needs to end, now. In order to stop our currency and our economic standing with the rest of the world from plummeting, we need to get away from the constant meddling with the money supply and balance the budget. Congress needs to wrest control of the dollar from the federal reserve (as is its constitutional responsibility), and stop creating larger bureaucratic structures for and throwing money at every problem that comes along. Though the current system is entrenched in the minds of most people as the only way, Congress has the power to change it. Unfortunately, it will never happen without a push from the American people.
Again, this is far from comprehensive. Part two should come tomorrow; it'll be about the Democrats.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Hillary and Obama are going to punch eachother in the face. You heard it here first.

*Pic from

Friday, January 18, 2008

On Quadrennial Observances

I've decided that I love events that occur every four years. This has come to my attention in light of the recent political goings-on. I love election season, despite the unsavory qualities it tends to bring out in some; the primaries, I think, are particularly exciting. There's so much possibility before we're confined to the lesser of two evils.

Ah, yes, the lesser of two evils... the eternal plague of what has become of the American political system. George Washington knew his stuff. All that business about staying out of foreign wars and avoiding partisan politics made a lot of sense to me. Trouble is, nobody listened...but anyway, that's neither here nor there. What I'm trying to say here is that such a rigid two party system is bad for the country. It encourages division and polarization, and tyranny of the majority, when such a thing exists. It's even more frustrating for an independent like me, whose views line up with neither of the major parties' platforms. The last presidential election, my first, was particularly depressing. Knowing what I know of recent American political history (which is probably not enough, but certainly a cursory knowledge), you'd have to go back to 1976 to find another presidential election with no major candidate that I could be satisfied voting for. Every four years, from nine before I came onto this earth to the time when I actually had the opportunity to vote, there was, in my opinion at least, a palatable major candidate for president. I voted, of course...there was no way I would skip my first presidential election. But it felt flat, empty. But, again, this current election brings new hope... hope that a decent candidate will emerge from the two-faced buffoons... hope that will probably be dashed like so many plates at a big, fat, Greek wedding. (Worst Simile Ever? I think it's possible.)

This reminds me of the World Cup. Most of the time, like most other Americans, I show almost no interest in association football. Every four years come summer, though, I'm a pretty big soccer fan. It's hard to pry me away from the World Cup, and every time I watch it, I hope it will be the United States' year. Every year, we disappoint. At least six years ago, in Japan/S. Korea, we made a run in the elimination round. Seems every time the cup's played in Europe, we don't even get out of group play. Qualifying for the 2010 cup (which will be in South Africa) will take place over the next two years in the form of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. The top three teams will go to S. Africa.

I have a similar rabid enthusiasm for the Olympics (the winter ones, more so than the summer, but I love those too), though they're usually much less disappointing. There's always some sort of American success story at the Olympics, and whether or not we do well, the Olympic hockey tournament is always up for some great watching.

So, yeah. Quadrennial stuff...gotta love it. In-depth-ish presidential election post forthcoming. Hasta luego, internets.

Monday, January 07, 2008

BOLD Prediction

So, OU got thrashed in a bowl game again. So, that sucks.

The title game is tonight, and I will make a bold prediction.

Ohio State will get itself thrashed, again, and stupid LSU with its crazy Les Miles will win the championship again.

See what I did there? Eh, whatever. As they say, there's always next year. I think we'll be alright. We've got a solid core of players coming back, and it seems they're always reloading here. I keep hearing that Stoops can't win the big game, but he's done it before, he can do it again. Here's to dominating the Big XII for years to come!