Why I Wouldn’t Vote For Clinton Or McCain.

As a Brit living in the heartlands of the U.S.A for over five years, I consider myself an observer of life and politics in this country post-9/11/2001.

I came here exactly twelve months after the 9/11 atrocities to find a nation in shock, still reeling from the first real attack on the homeland since the British tried to regain control of the wayward colonies back in the 18th century.

Ever since the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Americans have held firm to the ideal of a land impervious to foreign invaders. The aerial attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1942 had been the closest America ever came to an assault on the homeland, but even that held not the significance of those twin towers crashing earthwards after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Even the incident of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon, on that fateful day, lacked the full horror of the WTC towers crumbling to dust, forever vanquished from the lower Manhattan skyline.

The Phoenix that finally arose from the ashes of 9/11 was one of fear. America felt awesomely vulnerable. How could such a catastrophic event be prevented from ever happening again?

By taking advantage of this nationwide aura of fear, George W Bush and his administration was able to invade Iraq, a nation far removed from the events of 9/11, and plunge America into the stalemate situation it finds itself in today.

The invasion of Iraq had nothing whatever to do with the events of 9/11.

Today, that statement is recorded fact, denied by no-one, except perhaps the discredited Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Nevertheless, at a time when the US populace turned to their leaders for support and direction, a majority of those leaders – the United States Congress – voted in favor of a premeditated invasion of a foreign country.

Let us make no mistake on this fact. George W Bush did not go to war against Iraq on his own authority. The United States Congress took the decision to instigate that war against a known innocent country.

Remember the ‘smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud’?

That phrase was deliberately repeated over and over by members of the administration and Congress, to persuade Americans of a danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s government.

The omission, supported by Congress, was the knowledge that any possibility of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction had been nullified by the actions of America and her allies – notably the British – by sanctions and blanket bombings throughout the previous decade.

Barack Obama was not the only Congressional member notable for a stance against the war in Iraq, but he is the only one seeking the presidency in 2009.

Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain threw their Congressional weight behind Bush and his minions over the Iraq issue.

McCain, stubbornly, still insists it was the right decision. The American people are not so stupid as to believe him.

Hillary Clinton no longer supports the war in Iraq, and says ‘if she knew then what she knows now’ she would have voted against it.

Do the American people truly want a president who is only right with hindsight?

Hillary Clinton, along with many of her political colleagues, chose the path of popular support. Americans, in the aftermath of 9/11, needed a scapegoat. Saddam Hussein was the whipping boy. Clinton and McCain were happy to oblige, seeking the popularity of the moment.

Obama, on the other hand, saw the injustice of the time and called for restraint. He argued against the war, but in favor of his conscience.

There are some who would contend that George W Bush similarly acted according to his conscience, yet there is a basic difference between Obama and Bush. The present incumbent arrogantly believed he was carrying out the will of his deity. Even the most religious must now entertain the possibility of that being a falsehood. Events are hardly unfolding in a manner conducive to the belief that American divine intervention in Iraq has produced a society lauding the ‘liberators’.

Barack Obama has, so far as we are aware, no reliance on divinity for his abilities, and instead trusts his own conscience in matters of both foreign and domestic affairs.

In conclusion, my observations of the three front runners lead me to the opinion that a vote for McCain is no more than another vote for George W Bush; allegiance to Clinton is either a desire for a female president at all costs, or a willingness to accept a president who panders to the hysteria of the moment.

Senator Barack Obama may, or may not, be the next John F Kennedy, but so far as much of America – and all the rest of the world – is concerned, he is the best hope for a future that, at best, is bleak if either McCain or Clinton gains control of the reins of power in 2009.

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12 Replies to “Why I Wouldn’t Vote For Clinton Or McCain.”

  1. Senator Obama was only a state senator at the time of that vote, RJ. His vote did not carry the responsibility of those in the national senate.

    I find it difficult to criticise. It’s easy with hindsight to see what they SHOULD have done – we all know the outcome.
    The atmosphere then was far different from today. It wasn’t as clear-cut a decision as it now appears to us to have been. They didn’t know how Bush and Co had plannned to proceed long-term – the Democrats wouldn’t have been with the “in crowd” planning their secret plot to dominate Iraq and its oil.

    I just do not understand the hatred so many people have for the Clintons, Hillary in particular. You’d think Barack Obama was something different – he isn’t – he’s a politician like the rest of ’em, and with additional power he’ll be corrupted like the rest of them. At least with Senator Clinton we know the are draw-backs.

    There is such a mess to be cleared up this time by the new president, probably either Democrat would sort it, but I think Sen. Clinton has the know-how and the know-who to get the job done better and quicker.

    Either candidate is OK – I see no reason at all to vilify Hillary Clinton, or her husband.

  2. WWW – yes, you are quite right, Obama was sworn in in early 2005, and no, he took no part in the vote to invade Iraq. He was, however, a member of the Illinois state senate from 1996, and when Congress agreed to go to war in 2002 he voiced strong protest, attending an anti-war in Chicago where he said:

    “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

    Flimsy – there’s not one member of Congress that couldn’t be dissected in the way Matt Gonzales wrote of Obama. I’m an observer of these times, and I write what I see. You are correct that the records of all three are less than perfect, but that’s the fault of the system as much as the individuals. It’s the same system that makes support for your man, Ralph Nader, a wasted effort and a blessing for Republicans. If Obama makes president, he’ll be hamstrung by Congress over every reform he attempts to introduce, as would either of the other two. Though, I personally believe Obama will make more effort at reform than Clinton or McCain.

    Twilight – I’m not sure I agree with the statement, “the Democrats wouldn’t have been with the “in crowd” planning their secret plot to dominate Iraq and its oil.” No one asked the question, “Why?” when Nancy Pelosi stated categorically, “Impeachment is not on the table….” after the Democrats gained control of both Houses last November. Experts agreed there was a wealth of evidence to impeach both Bush and Cheney, but Pelosi stopped it dead. Efforts by Kucinich and McKinney to raise the issue were quickly stifled – by Democrats and Republicans.

    There is no “them and us” situation in Washington, and each will protect the other. The ‘Establishment’ is a mix of both parties, just as it is in Britain, and my sole reason for selecting Obama over Clinton is his ‘non-Establishment’ credentials. Yes, that may well change, but just possibly it won’t. The future of this country, and maybe the world, hangs precariously on that slight possibility.

  3. RJ – this is the first time I have visited your blog (I’m researching why the Smart Car in the United States is getting dramatically less mpg than the Smart Car in Europe) and I’m so glad I found your blog. I agree with you completely on your analysis of our three remaining Presidential candidates who still have a chance.

    I would also like to add the importance of the language that they use. I will not address McCain because he is an unacceptable option. If you look at the language of Hillary Clinton, it’s always ‘I will lead’, ‘I will be ready on day one’, ‘I will do this’, ‘I will do that’. Her campaign has been very focused on herself and in a country that has seen an unprecedented expansion of the Executive branch in the last 7 years, she is not a person I want to hand over that kind of power.

    However, Obama’s slogan is “Yes we can”. He speaks in terms of ‘We’. Now, it is true that he is kind of a wild card, but if you look at the campaign he ran, collecting small donations from over a million people as opposed to kissing the arses of the rich for large donations (a la Clinton), that is tangible evidence that he is interested in operating in a different way. And he has exhibited excellent management skills in being able to pull it off. Like I said, he’s a wild card – but it’s a chance I’m willing to take (especially considering the fears I have about the other two options).

    Great blog. I will be adding you to my blog roll and returning.

  4. Jen Clark – welcome to Sparrow Chat. I’m pleased you find it of interest. You obviously read the January 27th article on the Smart car. I’d be interested in any findings you manage to unearth.

    Obama is an unknown quantity, but America should take that risk, I believe, rather than settling for the same old tired partisan politics that have plagued this country for years.

    opensecrets.org is a great site for tracking campaign funding, if you weren’t already aware of it.

  5. I was not aware of it. Thank you for the link.

    As for the Smart Car, if I’m reading it correctly, it looks like the official explanation for the difference in mpg is that because the United States has stricter emission standards, the engine will need more gas to comply.

    That doesn’t make sense to me on a few levels. First, I highly doubt the United States has higher environmental standards than Europe. I’ve lived there. I know better. Second, why would strict emissions standards require more gas to be burned and therefore more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere? That just doesn’t make sense to me.

    My boyfriend is a mechanical engineer specializing in energy efficiency so he is going to do some digging for me on the technical questions. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what we find out.

  6. Jen Clark – yes, emission regulations are the brick walls I’ve also been unable to scale. I can only assume European catalytic converters are more efficient, fuel wise, than their US counterparts. I do agree that it’s most unlikely US regulations are more stringent than those of the EU. I’ve twice emailed ‘Smart UK’ asking for an explanation, but they seem loathe to respond. I’m waiting to see if I have any more success with ‘Smart US’. If I do, I’ll post on it.

    PS We have to take into consideration, of course, the difference between an Imperial gallon and a US gallon – some 0.65 of a liter (3.9 liters US gallon; 4,55 liters Imperial). However, this does not, of itself, account for such a large deficit.

  7. Twilight – yes, there have been a few such anti-Obama articles in the last few days, from what I would describe as Washington-based, pseudo-political, Democrats. By ‘pseudo-political’ I mean – well, in Britain they would be classed as senior civil servants. Joe Wilson, of course, worked closely with Bill Clinton when he was president. I’m sure all the allegations Wilson makes contain at least an element of truth. Equally, I’m sure similar types of allegations could be, and are, leveled at Hillary Clinton’s record. Wilson states in one paragraph, describing Clinton’s stance on going to war:

    “Senator Clinton’s position, stated in her floor speech, was in favor of allowing the United Nations weapons inspectors to complete their mission and to build a broad international coalition. Bush rejected her path. It was his war of choice.”

    While I wouldn’t argue with the last two sentences, my own feeling is that if Clinton’s position was such then she should not have compromised it by voting against her judgment. I believe she went with the popular view of the time – of most Americans, not just the politicians. I view that as weakness undesirable in a potential leader of the free world.

    Whether Obama would have taken a similar position to Clinton’s and still voted in favor of the war, had he been in the Senate at the time, we’ll never know. I think he may well have done. It’s not really the Iraq war question that causes me to lean more towards him than Clinton, though. It’s his ability to rouse the young people of this nation in a way that hasn’t been seen for many a year. They are the future, Clinton’s appeal is more to our generation, which has made an utter mess of the world. If this planet and its people are to survive the next hundred years, America needs leaders prepared to unite the nations of the world, not by the crass, failed, militarism of Bush’s time, but through diplomacy and a willingness to work with the rest of the planet in a serious bid to turn the tide of global warming. The whole world must unite to solve the problem of global warming, and it could be the greatest unifier of nations ever. I believe Obama is less likely to squander that chance than Hillary Clinton – who is our generation, only one year younger than me.

  8. I agree with you 100%, about the need to seriously address global warming, RJ.

    I hope you’re right about Obama. Time will tell….if he becomes president.

    I don’t share your gloomy assessment of our generation, though. All generations have their shining lights and their dim bulbs. There are and have been some brilliant minds and hearts in our group. Let’s not tar ’em all with the same brush. A few bad apples can spoil the barrel – to mix a few more metaphors 🙂

    I suspect that there will need to be some kind of catastrophe before global warming/climate change is treated with the respect it deserves. There are so many other matters on the agenda for the next US administration.

  9. Twilight – thanks for your input. I’ve continued this thread up on the next post, “It’s Up To Them Now.” This one was becoming a bit long and unmanageable.

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