(fair and balanced) Questions

July 30, 2008

Radley Balko asks a few questions of Barack Obama and John McCain that need to be answered. They are all good but these are my favorites.

To Obama:

In a speech to Cuban-Americans in Miami, you called the Cuban trade embargo “an important inducement for change,” a 180-degree shift from your prior position. The trade embargo has been in place for 46 years. Did denying an entire generation of Cubans access to American goods, culture, and ideas induce any actual change? Wasn’t the real effect just to keep Cubans poor and isolated? In communist countries like Vietnam and China, trade with the U.S. has ushered in economic reform, and vastly improved the standard of living. Why wouldn’t it be the same if we were to start trading with Cuba?

and this:

In October you asked a congregation in South Carolina to help you become “an instrument of God,” and to join you in building a “Kingdom, right here on Earth.” Is such lofty, sanctimonious rhetoric really appropriate from a would-be president? Why shouldn’t we be suspicious of a man who believes politics — indeed, his politics — are God’s politics? Isn’t using the political process to build a “Kingdom on earth” the sort of thing we’re used to hearing from the religious right? Should we be cautious of political leaders who believe they’re agents of the Divinity?

To McCain:

In your January primary debate, you referred to “greedy” Wall Street stockbrokers, and in contrasting your career to the business career of Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, you said, “I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy. And I did it out of patriotism, not for profit.” Do you think a career in public service is inherently more noble and virtuous than a career in the private sector? Are people who spend their lives on the taxpayer dole as politicians and government employees simply better people than those who create wealth and jobs through private enterprise?

and this:

America was founded on the idea of inalienable, individual rights — our Declaration of Independence outlined three of the most important rights as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But your speeches and public statements seem to show a kind of contempt for individualism, or at least a preference for a kind of patriotic national collectivism. You’ve said, for example, that “each and every one of us has a duty to serve a cause greater than our own self-interest.” You’ve also said that patriotism should be about “putting the country first, before party or personal ambition, before anything.” Do you really believe this? Should we put love of country ahead of family? Faith? Our morality, or sense of justice?

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

(h/t Cafe Hayek)


6 Responses to “(fair and balanced) Questions”

  1. superdave524 Says:

    All politicians pander. All of them. Abraham Lincoln apparently even waffled on the slavery question. Why? Well, to get votes, of course. Anyway, I dig the album cover.

  2. John in IL Says:

    I’d like an answer to any of those questions. AL is dead.

  3. superdave524 Says:

    Obama: Well, I had to back the embargo. Every president since Kennedy has backed it. No, it doesn’t work, but Cuba’s been a pimple on America’s ass for years. Sure, the people suffer, but the Cubans in America like the embargo, and they won’t vote for me if I don’t support it.

    As to religion? Well, my mother basically raised me without religion to speak of. Other than the religious right which aren’t going to vote for me anyway, most white people are “post-religion”. Black people still care about religion, and they vote. By referring to a “heavenly kingdom on earth”, my black voters know that I empathize with them, and my white voters know that I respect a separation of church and state and am basically talking about social, rather than religious issues. “God’s agent” means “I believe in God” to my religious voters and “the reality I’m dealing with is temporal” to my non-religious voters. Get the difference between me and the religious right? Heaven on earth means I’ve got to do something here and now. Most evangelicals think it doesn’t really matter what you do here and now, because the ultimate reality is heaven in heaven.

    McCain: I’m not Reagan and I’m not “W”. In order to win in November, I’ve got to get moderates in droves. “W” won because he was able to get rich people and poorer conservative Christians to vote for him. The serious conservative will vote for me because they don’t have any choice, but they won’t turn out in enough numbers to carry the day. “Public service” is a good moderate issue. People that consider themselves middle class people, people like teachers, like issues like public service, and I need to appeal to them. I obviously don’t have any problem with the private sector, but since I don’t have a lot of support with evangelicals, I need for people of more moderate means to support me on other issues, like public service. I agree that it’s a little risky for me to throw out terms like “greed”, but if it works, it’s one way to get some of the people that don’t have a ton of money to vote for me.

    The second issue is really pretty much the same as the first. A lot of people perceive- rightly or wrongly- that they are not doing as well financially as they could be. Issues like collective security or collective responsibility can keep people focused on “being American” rather than on individual issues like “they just laid off a bunch of people in the factory. I wonder if my job is safe”. Candidates in the past have used things like fear of terrorist attacks to keep the focused on the collective rather than the individual, but “W” has actually done a pretty good job of keeping us safe, so I don’t have that issue. Plus, people have grown a little tired of war rhetoric and the polls show that the wars are not very popular. It’s really not my style anyway, and people wouldn’t believe it.

  4. John in IL Says:

    All excellent answers, Dave. I just wish I would hear one of them from a candidate. I’m writing in superdave for President.

  5. superdave524 Says:

    Thanks, John.

  6. John in IL Says:

    Just so you nominate me or Big John as your VP.

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