Thursday, 14 August 2008

Telling It Like It Is: A Call for Truth in the US Presidential Campaign--and a Little Unity among the Democrats

An interesting pair of columns in The New York Times on Wednesday: Maureen Dowd on how Hillary and Bill Clinton are getting ready to sabotage the Democratic convention and Barack Obama’s campaign, and Thomas Friedman on how John McCain has now voted eight times, in effect, against alternate energy tax credits. Add the cover story about a book which is aimed squarely at taking down Obama (whose name I won’t mention so as not to give it any more promotion than necessary,) and the political situation in the US looks worse and worse.

We are now slightly less than three months before the US presidential election, and the world is threatening to veer even more crazily out of control. Supposedly this is the time when men and women come together to celebrate healthy competition through sport, but what are we getting? The US and the Russians sparring now in a way that sends chills down my spine, child of the Cold War that I am.

Barack Obama must be elected with a large majority in the House and the Senate, for the sake of the world, not to mention the health of Americans. If Bill Clinton were a real statesman and Hillary Clinton, the kind of role model every mother hopes for her daughters, they would swallow their pride and rally round Obama enthusiastically. Obama’s team must not let McCain and company get away with the kind of smear tactics they have already begun. His camp must parry and thrust like the best fencers now strutting their stuff in Beijing. And the American people should show the same disgust at McCain’s chicanery that they seem to feel for the tweaking of the Olympic opening ceremony.

Friedman was talking about the need for straight talk and clear action on renewable energy in his column, but what he says is equally applicable to the campaign in general:

“That is what this election should be focusing on. Everything else is just bogus rhetoric designed by cynical candidates who think Americans are so stupid — so bloody stupid — that if you just show them wind turbines in your Olympics ad they’ll actually think you showed up and voted for such renewable power — when you didn’t.”

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