Monday, February 4, 2008

Who's Afraid of John McCain?

A country that never quite came to terms with Vietnam -- to the degree that, for example, Germany came to terms with Nazism – can expect politicians like John McCain to surface from time to time. The actual John McCain is flawed in more ways than Mike Huckabee can shake a stick at, and his war mongering on Iraq is unlikely to do him much good in November. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be worried. It seems unlikely now that any Democrat could lose the coming election. But for that we have George Bush and Dick Cheney, not Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama to thank. With our corporate and corporate-friendly media deciding what news is fit to print (and broadcast), the Bush crime family could be far from voters’ minds come November -- no matter how much harm it still is doing. For that we have Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats to thank, not Cheney or Bush. The Pelosiites took impeachment “off the table” – insuring that the country will never come to terms with Iraq or Bush’s other wars (including the so-called War on Terror) either. That’s why, should it come down to McCain (not Bush) versus Clinton or Obama there is indeed much to fear.

With Clinton, the problem is obvious: she’s McCain Lite. Like her husband, she’s in line with the neo-cons when it comes to projecting military might to keep the empire together. Bill Clinton did it more competently than Cheney and Bush and so probably would John McCain. He’d be a more successful Commander-in-Chief. But he’d exercise no greater political morality, and no sounder strategic judgment. In short, he’d be like Bill Clinton was and like Hillary Clinton wants to be – only more so. Voters, enough of them anyway, might figure that if we’re going to go down that path, we might as well go all the way. Needless to say, that would just about assure a painfully hard landing as the empire declines and falls. But will an electorate dumbed down by the likes of The New York Times, CNN and NPR, not to mention Fox News, realize this in time? And will it worry that, along the way, we’d have even worse domestic policies than we would under a Democrat; or that, as McCain reminded voters this weekend at every opportunity, we’d have a President intent on ending abortion once and for all?

The Clintons succeeded in getting Bill Richardson to back Hillary. Who knows what they offered him! Even so, and despite Obama’s troubles with Latinos – or, rather, their troubles with an African American candidate – I’d bet that Obama will do better tomorrow, on Super Tuesday, than the Clintons will. All those live Kennedys – now even including Maria Shriver, wife of Republican action figure Schwarzenegger -- plus Oprah can hardly fail. Obama, rhetorically at least and by virtue of his (briefer) “record,” is less vulnerable than Hillary Clinton to being cast as McCain Lite. But he is vulnerable in another way.

Since he became a national figure, Obama has pandered to the Israel lobby as assiduously as any Clinton ever did. But in his days as an organizer in Chicago, he did, meekly, exhibit some awareness not only of Palestinian oppression, but also of the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No American politician, no Democrat especially, can get away with that! If McCain is shrewd enough to run with his Super-Bowl buddy Joe Lieberman (Independent-Likud), or even if he’s not, Obama’s erstwhile decency could come back to haunt him.

[I wouldn’t bet against a McCain-Lieberman ticket, just as I wouldn’t bet against a Clinton-Richardson ticket. Gamblers would do well to take note of who watches the Super Bowl with whom!]

The anti-immigrant/tax cutting/”values” coalition is divided and losing favor even among Republican voters who seem to prefer “security” freaks to greedy, godly pols. That’s why it’s unlikely, though not impossible, that Mitt the Family Guy (and prospective CEO of the USofA) will be the nominee. Were Romney the candidate, either Clinton or Obama would have a much easier time of it. Romney, like Huckabee, is a hoot – and nothing more. In all likelihood, therefore, the plutocrats, many of whom still don’t feel comfortable switching parties, will see to it that John McCain will be the nominee, even if the voters don’t close the case tomorrow. Then the greater evil party will be well situated to exploit one or the other of Clinton’s or Obama’s vulnerabilities. That’s an excellent reason to be afraid.

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