The 2008 Presidential Election – Part V: The One Man, One Woman Race

What
You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

·        
As a John Edwards supporter, I am really shocked that
Edwards would consider endorsing Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.  I for one support Barack Obama for President
because Obama and Edwards have much in common politically and are running on
similar messages of bold, transformational change.

·        
Clinton, on the other hand, represents the wishy-washy,
don’t-care-what-I-stand-for-as-long-as-it-wins-elections DLC wing of the
Democratic Party, the kind of Democrats who want to water down the Party’s
message for the sake of political expediency and winning elections, the kind of
Democrats who won’t push for active government because that’s just too much of
a strong, distinct stance, the kind of Democrats who gladly believe that the
Republicans set the rules of politics and Democrats follow, the kind of
Democrats I really cannot stand and wish would get the fuck out of the Party
and go to the Republican Party where they belong.

·        
Besides Obama’s own merits as a candidate, he has
to win to stop Clinton and the DLC. 
Let’s end this politics of bullshit moderation once and for all.

There are reports afoot that John Edwards is genuinely
“torn” between endorsing either Senator Barack Obama or Senator Hillary
Clinton.  That he is even seriously
undecided, instead of supporting Obama without a second thought, is itself a
shame, because there is nothing for Edwards in Clinton.

Clinton represents a great leap backwards for the Democratic
Party, and is the enemy of everything Edwards campaigned on this primary
season.  Edwards called for bold,
transformational change, for government to be an active defender and champion
of ordinary Americans, including those suffering from poverty, and for a
rejection of the timid, politically calculating, wishy-washy, moderate
incrementalist politics that Democrats have been using like a worn dishrag for
the past twenty years.  Though there
were significant difference between the campaign messages of Edwards and Obama
– differences that led me to support the former and not the latter – it is
clear that Obama mostly shared these same basic principles in his campaign,
which is why I support him for the nomination now.
(For a more detailed
explanation as to why I support Obama, see The
2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision
.)

I must emphasize, however, that Clinton by contrast
represents the monstrous dark side of the Democratic Party
, the Clintonian
plague that has gripped the Party in timidity and weak-minded moderation for
the past two decades.  She represents
the opposite of everything that is good in Democrats.  She is the candidate of weak, incremental change, of maddening,
mindless, gutless, directionless political calculation, of political expediency
and electoral victories over principle and moral victories, of a government
that is only somewhat better and slightly more proactive than the
kind the Republicans offer (though she tries to mask this now with a slew of
policy proposals that she clearly has no real intention of fighting for once in
office).  She has not fought, on policy,
ideological or rhetorical grounds, for the real active federal government that
Democrats are supposed to believe in, and that Edwards and Obama believe
in.  Instead, she is from the DLC school
of Democratic politics that says that winning elections is Number One and
forget about anything (i.e. active government) that will jeopardize that.  Instead, the DLC handbook says, water down
your message, move to the center, offer the same things that Republicans offer
except make your stuff a little less insane, and most importantly, give
up your ideology, principles and rhetoric and use theirs instead.  That’s why President Bill Clinton had to
declare in 1996 that “the era of big government is over” even though it
shouldn’t have been over, and it isn’t over. (Fuck you Bill.)

Senator Clinton is from this same wing of the Democratic
Party, the DLC wing that once controlled the Party but is now feeling its grip
loosening and is desperately trying to maintain control.  They first started to go downhill with the
rise of Howard Dean’s explicitly anti-DLC, pro-active government
candidacy.  They were able to
temporarily stave off total irrelevance with Dean’s defeat and the nomination
of Senator John Kerry (whose own milquetoast candidacy was very much in line
with DLC gutless-ism), but Kerry’s defeat and the rise of the netroots – vocal
liberal activists who were able to project themselves through the Internet –
meant the beginning of the end for them. 
Now, with their candidate Clinton, they’re battling against Obama
because he represents the beginning of a new generation of Democratic politics,
the type that will stand proudly on Democratic principles and say, “This is
what we believe in!  And we are not
afraid!”
 

I do not harshly criticize Clinton out of nowhere.  I’m not saying that she is a DLC/Clintonian
type simply because she’s married to her husband.  I say this based on her campaign, her record in the Senate, most
of her record as First Lady – basically, everything she’s been since 1994, and
maybe some things she’s been before then. 
I’ve laid out my criticism of her in extensive detail in The
2008 Presidential Election – Part II: The Democratic Field
.  It’s clear based on her record and the campaign she’s
running that she really will be just another President Clinton – a moderate
spineless coward who doesn’t push for active government and doesn’t give the
Party something to stand for.  I
believe that Hillary Clinton is really the WRONG, I repeat WRONG, person for
the Democratic Party.
  Her
nomination would mean the triumph of the DLC and a step in the wrong direction
– the backwards direction – for the Party.  Besides Obama’s own merits, he must win to stop her and
the moderate, spineless, DLC wing of the Party that she comes from.

P.S. I REALLY hope that if Edwards does end up endorsing
anyone, he endorses Obama.  The
spirits of their respective campaigns are far closer, and
endorsing
Clinton would be a total betrayal of everything he worked for and campaigned on
these past three years.

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2008 Democratic Presidential Primary

President of the United States (Presidential Preference):
As I explained in “The
2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision”, its January 2

and February
4 addendums
, and The
2008 Presidential Election – Part IV: A Clarification on My Vote
,
I support John Edwards for President for a variety of reasons, the biggest
being his aggressively pro-government policy proposals and his message that
those in government must battle, rather than accommodate, the special
interests that stand in the way of progress for our country.  Despite the fact that he is no longer
running, I voted for John Edwards.

Proposition 91 (Transportation Funds): This was a
dead proposition on how transportation taxes would be spent, where the people
who were “for” it are telling voters to vote against it because something
similar was passed two years ago. 
Because it was a silly situation I Abstained.

Proposition 92 (Community Colleges): This proposition
would establish a separate funding requirement for community colleges, set up a
separate community college board and lower student fees.  This would lead to increased spending on
both K-12 and community college education, which, speaking as a big government
liberal, always appeals to me.  Though
there was no funding provision, I thought that was a minor concern and that a
way to raise revenue would be figured out without too much difficulty (perhaps
through another ballot initiative?). 
And I liked the idea of shifting the cost of college from students to
the taxpayers at large.  I voted Yes.

Proposition 93 (Limits on Legislators’ Terms in Office):
This proposition would reduce total years of service for California legislators
to 12 years total, in however combination the legislator wishes, as opposed to
the current situation where there is a 6 year limit in the Assembly and 8 year
limit in the Senate.  As an adamant
opponent of term limits in general, I was originally going to vote No because
it would reduce the total years of service from 14 to 12, but I realized that
because it allows people to serve 12 years in the same house of the California
Legislature, it would allow those people to build up experience and connections
and thus solve one of the big problems with term limits: that legislators don’t
have time to build up the experience and connections needed to get things
done.  So as a step in the right
direction I voted Yes.  However,
I still oppose term limits and I will vote for the first initiative that
abolishes them entirely.

Proposition 94, 95. 96, and 97 (Referenda on Amendments
to Indian Gaming Compacts):
These propositions would authorize more slot
machines, which would in turn raise more revenue that could then be used by the
state.  More revenue equals more
spending and/or a lower deficit, so what’s not to like?  I voted Yes on all four.

Addendum to The 2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision

What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

·        
What makes John Edwards’s approach to governance
superior to Barack Obama’s is that Obama wants to give for-profit businesses,
whose job is to make money, a fair hearing on how to take care of the American
people, whereas Edwards wants the government, whose job is actually to
take care of the American people, to have full control over how to take care of
the American people, and overrun whatever for-profit businesses stand in its
way.  This way, we keep the for-profits
from corrupting the strictly not-for-profit, for-the-American-people business
that the government does, and send the for-profits a message to stick to making
money and keep out of negatively influencing government policy and programs.

In January 2 2008’s The
2008 Presidential Election – Part III: The Big Decision
, in which
I endorsed John Edwards for President, I rejected the proposed approach that
presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama would use to enact his liberal
agenda – bring his political enemies out into open negotiations where their
lack of interest in the American people would be exposed and denounced.  That approach sounds much more reasonable
than the idea, suggested by his campaign speeches, that he would bring
Republicans and Democrats in D.C. together into some sort of happy coalition and
somehow overcome vast ideological differences to arrive at a common solution.

I’ve watched the January 21 2008 South Carolina Democratic
debate and the January 31 2008 California Democratic debate and I’ve heard him
bring up that strategy.  So I guess it
is a legitimate Obama strategy that he’ll implement once in the White House.

Even so, I think that approach is still inferior to
Edwards’s more confrontational, smash-down-those-who-stand-in-our-way
attitude.  I named five reasons in “The
Big Decision”; broadly summarized, they are: sounds like it could involve some
sort of compromise, underestimates the Republicans/special interests, hasn’t
been what he’s been campaigning on, not going to make a positive difference,
and that it leads to slippery slope dealings with anti-change conservatives.

The third argument, that he hasn’t really been campaigning
on this approach, is somewhat less valid now that I’ve actually heard Obama
speak to it, but I still don’t think that’s what gets him attention out on the
campaign trail and I don’t think that’s what his thousands of supporters flock
to him for.  But I think my biggest
disagreement with it lies in the fifth and last argument, that it weakens his
position when dealing with conservatives.

I believe that in order to do what needs to be done for the
country and its people, we have to set a hard line against special interests,
corporations and their conservative allies in D.C., including Congressional
Republicans.  As a part of reframing the
political landscape to be pro-government rather than anti-government, we have
to let the special interests and all of America know that in these United
States, the federal government, and by extension the interests of the
American people, is boss.
  The
people come first, which means the government comes first.  And so the government will deal – not
compromise, deal – from a position of superiority and strength, not as
an equal partner.  Health care is the
best example to envision this approach with. 
The government will not ask companies to provide health care;
it will TELL them to.
  The
government will not bring in corporate moneyed interests and ask them to
contribute to something that serve the American people; it will formulate its
plan with the advice of many (including corporations if necessary, but they
will not have actual input into the plan) and then the government will take the
plan to the companies and command them as to what to do for the American
people.
  And if they do not comply,
fine – the government will create its own health care program (the plans of
Edwards, Obama and Clinton all have a provision for a new public health plan)
and insure Americans on its own.

But the point is that the government should not bring in the
for-profit industries to contribute something to the plans for this country’s
future, because those plans would go against their interests.  For-profit industries’ interest is to make
money, not to help the American people, and as Paul Krugman explained,
all too often, on the issues that matter to the American people (like health
care), those two interests are totally at odds.  Policies and programs for this country’s future MUST be
non-profit ones and for-profit interests should not get a seat at the table
because they will inevitably corrupt whatever product comes out, and moreover, it
sends the message that the country needs government, whose job it is to look
after people, rather than corporations, whose job it is to make profit.
 
The Edwards approach of unabashed government control of the process
and the system is good because it sends a clear message to all private,
for-profit institutions that the interests of the American people, represented
by the national government, come first.