General Question

critter1982's avatar

Barack Obama?

Asked by critter1982 (4120points) September 26th, 2008

I’m fairly new to fluther and I’ve noticed that this seems to be more liberal and Obama leaning site than conservative leaning with McCain. For those of you that are planning on voting for Obama is it because you agree with his policies or that you feel he is the lesser of 2 evils? What in particular do you like about Obama?

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46 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Initially, I was voting for Obama because I would have voted for anyone other than a Bushie Republican in order to get all that goes with a Democratic Administration, such as environmental protection, concern about minimum wage, concern about health care policies and the un- and underinsured, a sane energy policy that looks at imprving car fuel efficiency and alternative energy sources and supports them.

As I started to look at Obama’s plans, his leadership style, I became more and more comfortable with him personally. i think he would be a great leader (more inspiring than any since Kennedy) and a great President. I am proud to be able to vote for him.

At one time (2000 election), I looked very hard at John McCain. He impressed me. The John McCain of 200 was a cross-party politician favoring election reform, ethics reform, etc. He truly earned his maverick label. As the 2008 campaign has progressed, I have been shocked at his position changes, his pandering to the right-wing base. Now, i have to say that McCain of today actively scares me. I hate the thought that he might be President. i hate even more that he could die in office and Sarah Palin, a born-again evangelistic nut, might be President.

augustlan's avatar

Being a democrat in the first place, I was with Marina: Anybody but another Bush. However, very early in the primaries I picked Obama as the one I hoped would be my candidate. I like his policies and his style. Is he perfect? No. In our two party system, I think there is always an element of “the lesser of two evils”. But he is a lot closer to my ideal than McCain is.

cheebdragon's avatar

There are probably 7 or 8 republicans on fluther.

Knotmyday's avatar

Save us, Hillary. There’s still time.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not exactly a Democrat, I’d be more comfortable with the term “liberal” if we must apply labels. I think in past Presidential contests, the Democrats have not been far enough to the left on some issues, and have been too far to the left on others, and really haven’t been generally all that coherent. I also don’t find that the Dems have been particularly aggressive at making sure their messages don’t get buried in lies and attacks (they often need to grow a pair), and they are often no more “honorable”, i.e. have no more integrity than Republicans when it comes to being self serving. Therefore, in every Presidential election which I’ve been able to vote in, and the two previous to it when I was interested in politics despite not being able to vote, I’ve felt that the Dem is the lesser of two evils.

But when Barack Obama addressed the DNC as the keynote speaker in 2004, and I had no idea who he was, I was blown away. You see, I’ve held certain principles my whole life. One is that trickle down economics is only beneficial to the wealthy, and that we need to build our economy from the bottom up. I’ve felt that the cutting of spending to reign in the size of government was by and large arbitrary, and that the deck in these cuts was invariable stacked in favor of the ownership society and not mainstream society. I’ve felt that we need to expand government programs that benefit the most vulnerable members of our society, and strengthen the social safety net installed by FDR which helped lift this country out of the the Great Depression. I’ve also been in favor of reproductive choice, green environmental policies, and in one instance where I break with Democratic orthodoxy, the death penalty for violent criminals and those who victimize the most vulnerable members of society.

And what I heard from Obama just resonated so strongly with me. He said, and I’m paraphrasing that in talking to people, he sensed that though they don’t expect government to solve all their problems, they sense that with just a slight shift in our priorities, we can do MUCH better. And for me that was an eye opener. Because to hear the Dems tell it, often times it’s clinging to every spending plan without even considering how we’re spending the money or if the plan really addresses the long term issues. But you hear the Republicans tell it and any penny we invest in our people is a giveaway to the lazy bums who just want to suck off the government teat. I have always felt deeply that the real answer was not that simplistic, and that the greatest resource we have as a nation is our people, and it is those people in whom we should invest. We should in the wealthiest nation on the planet be able to ensure health and well being, a good education and a secure future including retirement for every person born.

But our trickle down economic system leaves us with crumbling schools, little early childhood education and college that is priced outside of the reach of many. No health care for 47 million of our 301 million people, and 16 million people who live below the poverty line. We have a minimum wage which doesn’t cut it, we have people falling through the cracks left and right. And yet we worry about cutting the estate tax for people worth more than $2 million, and cutting the capital gains tax, and creating loopholes for our corporations so that some of the richest corporations have paid absolutely no tax for several years running.

On every single issue that is important to me, these issues being ones on which I’ve held opinions very deeply for my whole life, when Obama threw his hat in the ring, one by one I examined how his worldview was like mine. And I found that in over 98% of the cases, he and I agreed almost as exactly as any two people could possibly agree. Yes there are areas where I disagree with him. One example is that he does not believe in same sex marriage, he supports civil unions. I say it’s a fundamental right for all people to be treated equally, and in creating a second class of people, you are essentially creating what we had 40–50 years ago…something that was known as “separate but equal”. I’m surprised an African American person would not get this distinction, but I guess I feel his heart is in the right place, and he is committed to making sure that if you’re in a relationship with someone where you choose to share finances, survivorship rights, parenting rights, etc., you will be treated the same no matter what sex your partner is. So, I can live with that, and I know from what I’ve read about him that he is not a person to try to take major leaps like this all at once…he recognizes that some issues have so much resistance built in that if you try to force too much change all at once, the whole system fails.

The same could be said with his healthcare plan…he has said that ideally, a single payer system would be the best…I wholeheartedly agree. But he is planning to keep the system of employer funded healthcare in tact, because in our society, trying to rip it out and put something new in just wouldn’t fly. OK, that’s being prudent…though his approaches on some of these issues might not have the full impact I’d like them to have, I think his slightly slower and more conservative approach might prove to actually bring MORE change, MORE quickly than a full throttle approach that I’d like better.

So to answer your question, for the first time in my life, this is NOT to me a matter of the lesser of two evils. This is the matter of one great evil vs. the candidate I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I wholeheartedly support Obama, he’s the first candidate I’ve contributed my hard earned money to, and it’s been significant, but it’s an investment I feel proud to make.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’m a Socialist. (Okay, I got tired of the whole Democrat/Liberal label and KNOW what direction I would like to see the country to go in).

I wanted to be able to vote for Hillary. Then, when that became a pipe dream, I vowed to listen to both candidates before I locked my vote for ‘change’ (not thrilled with that slogan even now). Then McCain chose Palin & officially, I think he’s lost his marbles. What the Hell was he thinking?

He could’ve won a lot of Independents with a wiser Veep choice.

There’s your answer. Obama.

galileogirl's avatar

I’m right there with dalepetrie. Obama caught my attention in 2004 but I didn’t think he would try until 2012 or 2016 and I thought about a Clinton/Obama ticket. But Hillary did not take a real leadership position. She played it safe too long, following instead of leading the people on the war. Obama was one of the first politicians to say the emperor had no clothes.

I am also impressed by the way he has carried himself these last two years. We keep saying we don’t want the same sleazeball, mudslinging, soundbite over substance campaign. I think Obama has given us the real deal focussing on his message. In spite of the McCain campaign that to this date keeps repeating lies (ie Iraq had something to do with 9/11, that Afghanistan is taken care of, that deregulation and tax cuts for the rich is a way to solve this economic crisis) Obama has stayed on topic and told the sometimes unpopular truth(because of the current crisis he will not be able to initiate all parts of his program until the economy is repaired)

While Obama offers hope, Sarah Palin mocked the idea because the McCain campaign wants us to be afraid and hopeless. Their tactic is the same old Bushie manufacturing crisis that requires immediate action that only the president can acheve with increasing power grabs. This week’s antics have been a perfect example of what the choice is with McCain acting the spoiler and Obama the leader in the govt buyout “meeting” at the White House and the debate with Mr. “I was never voted Misss Congeniality” spouting meaningless statistics and not answering direct questions while Obama made a reasonable, honest direct pesentation. The body language spoke volumes.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I might be labeled as one of the “7 or 8” Republicans cheeb mentions. The fact is I would vote for Obama if I felt he was the best choice for our country today. I don’t feel that way. I have been open to all sides. I have listened and watched and read with an open mind. The candidate I felt most comfortable with overall was Ron Paul. That choice was eliminated. And so I have been reading and watching and listening and I am not comfortable with Senator Obama and a number of his proposed policies.

Am I voting for McCain as the lesser of two evils? No. I wouldn’t phrase it that way. Neither of these candidates is evil. Both would probably make fine Presidents.

One comment I would make slightly off topic is that the impression I get from comments I read here is that the collective wants to vote for Obama first and foremost because he is not a Republican and does not tie into Bush. I also get the impression that many Obama backers have no interest at looking at both sides of the debate. Whatever is said on the McCain side has no value or merit. No one candidate can fill everyones needs, yet it seems that Obama fills all of the needs of the majority of Flutherites. I have seldom, if ever, read a negative thing about Obama here. I am a lesbian woman and believe me I have a few things I am not thrilled with on the Republican side. But I personally need to look at the overall picture and make my decision based on how a candidate will be good for our country overall and for me and my family personally. Dismounts sopabox

eambos's avatar

3rd Republican

EmpressPixie's avatar

I adore Obama, like his policies, and frankly am overjoyed with the way he seems to have conducted his personal life.

this comment is actually a place holder for me to come back later, when I have more time, to elaborate

galileogirl's avatar

Sueanne, in fact we HAVE been looking at the neocon Republican agenda since 2000 and even since they took over the Congress in the early 90’s. If Senator McCain was still ‘straight talking John’ he would be more palatable. But he has aligned himself with a failed presidency and plans to continue down the obviously wrong road.

What do you see that he plans to do right? Reduce taxes on the rich? Encourage the outsourcing of American jobs with corporate tax breaks? Attack Iran? Refuse to meet or cooperate with our allies?

Just how is he going to deal with our ridiculous national debt? By taking an ax to the budget and cutting everything by 10% while increasing the military budget and maintaining entitlements. That is not only laughable but it will be impossible without a Republican majority in Congress. After military spending, mandated entitlements like Social Security and the payment of interest on the national debt there is only 21% left. After we cut that 2.1% and cut taxes he has proposed, we are worse off than we are now.

I have yet to hear any realistic specifics by McCain or his supporters. Enlighten me, please.

critter1982's avatar

It’s been mentioned a couple times not only on this thread but others as well, that republicans are self serving. Does it concern anybody that between year 2000 and 2004 Senator Obama only gave $10,770 to charities, less than 1% of his income. Recently he has been giving more, but I don’t think it’s ironic that it occurred when his life came heavily into the spotlight. Because of this it is tough for me to see Senator Obama as anything but selfish or self serving. Integrity is another thing voters need to assume when voting for a president, because we want to believe that whatever the candidates say on their campaign trail will come to fruition when they are in office. It’s tough for me to see Senator Obama as having integrity when his public actions and values don’t seem to be consistent behind closed doors. This is the reason I am voting for Senator McCain. I have more trust in him than I do Senator Obama.

critter1982's avatar

@galileogirl: With the US economy heading towards a recession, niether candidate is going to be able to deal with the national debt….

Additionally, I’ve seen several times that if Sen. Obama was able to pass all of his agendas, he would be spending no less than an additional $850 billion. This won’t lead to controlling our national debt either.

dalepetrie's avatar

critter1982 – I have a hard time judging someone based on what percentage of their income they gave to charity. I could just as easily point out that these were years when their kids were young, they were buying a home, they probably gave what they could. You can see as they had more disposable income it wasn’t like their charitable giving went up in direct relation to their income, it went up several times as fast.

But look at right after Senator Obama graduated Columbia, he could have gone to Wall Street and made 6 figures, but he took a job working with poor people as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago.

I’ll tell you what, I give money to charity when I can afford it, and I’m doing OK when you look at my top line income #, but I probably don’t give 1% of my income…with a mortgage, car payment, credit cards, living expenses, gas, utilities, and a 7 year old, I can’t afford it.

Let’s see your tax returns.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

@galieo: My point was not to start a debate on issues. You have your opinions, I have mine. My point was that it seems that the Obama Flutherites see nothing but positives for their candidate and refuse to admit that, in the depths of their mind, they disagree with him on at least one point or two. Or, maybe they admit it but they don’t write about it here.

What the hell is “neocon” anyway?

Edit: It’s been a while since I was in college and don’t remember all the cool terms we used to throw around. I looked it up and see you mean neo-conservative. By that do you mean a moderate political conservatism espoused or advocated by former liberals or socialists?

critter1982's avatar

@dale: I’m more than willing to show you my tax returns. I don’t have anything to hide. Last year I gave more than Obama did in the 4 years before 2005 and made about half. It’s bull crap saying he couldn’t afford it. I make much less than him, have 2 kids, a wife that stays at home, and I’m going to graduate school. If he’s saying he couldn’t afford it, he obviously didn’t budget his money very well, and I’d prefer him not budgeting the billions of dollars that come into the US government every year.

fireside's avatar

I am actually registered as an Independent and would have voted for John McCain in 2000 over either Gore or Bush, but as others have pointed out, he has changed drastically in the past 6 years or so. Its that willingness to change his convictions so readily just to secure the nomination of his party that concerns me.

I don’t by any means think that Obama is perfect, but I do feel that he will be more thoughtful in his response to the complexities of office. Nobody is qualified to be President until they actually do it.

What you have to go on is character and in that respect Obama has my vote over the John McCain of today.

The real lynch pin issue for me is America’s standing in the world. We are entering a multi-polar world and we need to restore our dignity that has been lost. Even supposing that both Presidents would continue the war and expand it into other countries, the person I trust to explain our position to the world has got to be the more thoughtful and eloquent one.

@sueanne – the neocons are the ones who originally wrote the plan for democratizing the middle east. Bill Kristol wrote out the script for installing a western friendly democracy. I’ll have to do some research to find it because I read it years ago (before we went into Iraq), but the basic idea was “trickle down democracy”

@critter – so are charitable contributions a lynch pin issue for you?

Anyone running for the highest office in the country is going to have to have a self-serving nature because you don’t accidentally fall into that type of a situation.

Knotmyday's avatar

We are all going to see (again) that despite all the pre-election rhetoric, neither candidate-elect will conduct business in a significantly different manner than any other President since FDR. The preservation of American interests will always trump altruism at the executive level.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

galileogirl's avatar

Sueann-Neocon stands for neoconservative and it means the group of conservatives who rose up under the Reagan/Bush I era with the sole purpose of dismantling any govt regulation of corporate America. Neocons are responsible for deregulating the telecommunications, insurance, savings and loan, power and most recently the mortgage industries, all with very bad outcomes that have cost taxpayers billions.

I repeatedly hear people saying they are voting for McCain but I can never get a straight answer to the question “WHY?” I asked you and your response was that I have my reasons and you have yours-the ultimate nonanswer. If you don’t know why you are voting for McCain, Cool, just admit it. At least that would be honest.

Also we can’t excuse a lack of knowledge about those who lead us and who we vote on based on how long ago we graduated from college. I am 61 years old but was as well informed about my first vote in 1968 as I am about my vote on November 4. It is a citizen’s duty to make a well informed choice.

If I could only vote for the person I agreed with 100% then I would have to vote for myself, if I were going to vote for someone I agreed with 95% it would be dalepetrie. Obama would be about 85% and McCain would be 2%.

galileogirl's avatar

critter: I guess you missed the debate Friday night because Obama did say that with the current state of affairs some of his programs will require more time to complete, while Miss Uncongeniality did not sway from his script about earmarks being the root of all evils.

If we are going to base our votes on the man who is most giving of his time and money, we will both have to write-in Jimmy Carter-no problem for me, I have already voted for him twice. And of course Senator McCain stands up to your charitable scrutiny because he is housing orphans and homeless vets in 7 of his 8 houses, right?

dalepetrie's avatar

critter1982 – it doesn’t matter if that is the case. You can’t judge based on that information alone, you don’t know what their expenses were in those years…you don’t know what motivated them or didn’t motivate them to give. This certainly isn’t a requirement anyway, but like I said, you have many other examples of his generosity and self sacrifice for the betterment of those less fortunate than himself. My points are twofold, one you can find any small thing about any person’s point to judge without having all the information, and two, you can then use that small thing, as you clearly are doing, to justify an opinion you would hold anyway. Seriously, can you 100% honestly tell me that if the Obamas had given 6% in each of those years, you’d be voting for him. No, it’s a ruse…it’s a distraction…it’s a justification meant to backfill your preconceived course of action. It seems to me that “I don’t agree with Obama on issue a, b, and c” should be enough, but instead, all I seem to hear from conservatives is all this meaningless crap, that I’d bet my left nut if it went away, not a single damn one of you would be voting for Obama anyway.

Which would bring me to address Sueanne Tremendous as well, who says that Obama supporters “refuse” to admit we disagree with Obama on anything, when I SPECIFICALLY gave 2 examples of where I disagree with him, despite the fact that to me his is the best damn candidate ever to seek the job. However it seems to work in reverse, where conservatives refuse to say why they REALLY don’t like Obama, and rely on all these distractions to make points that just plain don’t need to be made and are not convincing to ANYONE.

critter1982's avatar

et al.
Why I don’t like Obama:
1. His position on abortion
2. His position on affirmitive action
3. His position on increasing state budgets and taxes
4. His position on corporate tax increases
5. His position on welfare and not modifying or reducing government funded welfare programs
6. His resume is bare. He came to Congress and immediately ran for President.
7. The fact that his father is deeply embedded in Muslim roots.
8. The fact that he attended a church pastored by Jeremiah Wright.
9. The fact that I “personally” don’t feel he is sincere or honest when he speaks.
10. The fact that when he came highly visible to the public he increased the amount he gave to charities (It is not necessarily the fact that he didn’t give to charities previously whatever his reason, but “I believe” (disagree if you want) that his integrity is in question).
11. His ties to Bill Ayers
12. His ties to Tony Rezko
13. Why is his wife not proud of America?
14. I cling to my guns and my religion….
15. He passes his hope off as solutions when realistically and logically they are only platitudes
16. He wants to leave Iraq.
17. He consistently mentions that “we should have never gone into Iraq”. Get over it, we are there.
18. The media loves him. I hate the media.

@fireside: No, charitable contributions are not a lynch pin issue for me. Because money is the most necessary evil known to man, I feel that what people do with their money can really give insight into their personal character. And yes I understand he gave up a 6 digit figure in support of a community organizer and I commend him for that. But it does concern me that, like I said earlier, once he came into the spotlight his charitable contributions significantly increased. The true test of a man’s character is what he does behind closed doors when people aren’t watching. This gives me a perspective (very minute perspective understandably)of what he does behind closed doors when nobody is watching and nobody is capable of giving him praise.

@dale: You are correct if Obama had given 100% of his income to charity I still would not be voting for him because of some of the reasons listed above and several others. I don’t line up with most of his social stances and even some of his economic ones. The charitable contribution question was not asked to be a distraction from all of the social and economic issues but rather just that, a question of which has given me less trust in Senator Obama.

critter1982's avatar

@galileogirl: I saw the debate and I understand he said that his programs will take longer to complete. His additional 800 billion dollar programs on top of a 700 billion dollar spending increase because of the economy, on top of whatever else our tax dollars are going to. Neither candidate is going to control the national debt without significantly reducing spending elsewhere, of which neither candidate could answer during the debate because neither of them knew what they were going to do.

galileogirl's avatar

See critter, it wasn’t that hard to admit you are totally in line with the crass neocon minority who have devoted themselves to running this country morally, ethically, politically and economically into a wall. Your exposition was, I believe, an honest representation of your point of view and that makes me a little sad.

The principals of classic republicanism that were established 2000+ years ago and personified by Abraham Lincoln and were the foundation of his party have been sadly perverted. Politics aside, the paternalistic controlling cultural issues reflect poorly on the teachings of Christ (I am assuming you call yourself Christian.) Whatever happened to helping the poor and wasn’t there something about the rich, camels and the eye of a needle. When Christians, as a group, became rich and powerful in the world, they did the human thing and became so entrenched in staying that way, they abandoned their core beliefs.

So hold on to your gun, your wife, your ‘religion’. Turn a blind eye to those who you are standing on to maintain your place in the world. Believe the calumnies that allow you to sleep at night. It takes several generations to destroy a civilization so you probably won’t have to watch your ideals bring about the end. At least you were honest about your beliefs!

critter1982's avatar

No where in my comments did I come across as a “crass neocon minority”. Neoconservatives are not skeptical of our government and could careless about augmented government relations where they don’t belong. Neocons are mainly concerned with spreading democracy into the world where it doesn’t exist. I never argued that our war on terror should or shouldn’t have been brought to Iraq’s doorstep, nor did I argue that the US should be posing democracy on other countries.

Democrats are just as much at fault as republicans for our economically, ethically, morally, and politically depressed country. Bill Clinton was more interested in chasing skirts and travelling the globe with a big entourage in Air Force One. I never saw a President who needed to be liked more than Bill Clinton. The results were an out of control justice department lead by Janet Reno who had snipers killing pregnant women on Ruby Ridge and killing civilian men, women and children at Waco Texas and storm troopers kidnap Elian Gonzales for Fidel Castro. The results were no action taken against Osama Bin Ladin when we had the chance. No response to the first World Trade Center attack. No response to the Cole bombing. Additionally he single handedly ruined Social Security. His budgets raided SS for more than $150 billion artificially lowering our national debt. Additionally, by the end of his term there was an increase of 6% of US citizens without healthcare coverage.

And you think this country has been run into a wall by conservatives? You should check your own ticket, democrats haven’t done much better. Those types of generalizations mean nothing to me and to most with a brain.

Secondly, you make a generalization by saying “When Christians, as a group, became rich and powerful in the world, they did the human thing and became so entrenched in staying that way, they abandoned their core beliefs”. I am sure we can find plenty of examples where people, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, independent have done the “human thing” and became self serving. Because of some bad apples on the democratic ticket, should I assume that liberals are all going to go out and cheat on their wives like Bill Clinton? No I shouldn’t. It’s also not always the cure for government to fix everything in this world. Personally, I would rather the government not decide on how my money should be given to the poor or the needy.

The principles of the Republican Party are In essence that the only purpose of government is to protect the equal natural rights of individual citizens. These rights inhere in individuals, not groups, and are antecedent to the creation of government. They are the rights invoked by the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness— NOT HAPPINESS, BUT THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

Democrats would rather try and make everyone happy. It’s not going to happen.

cheebdragon's avatar

@galileogirl – “Neocons are responsible for deregulating the telecommunications, insurance, savings and loan, power and most recently the mortgage industries, all with very bad outcomes that have cost taxpayers billions.”??

LOL, How do you people come up with this shit?

fireside's avatar

@cheebdragon – that post took you a day and a half to complete. what did you do, type one letter per hour? lol

dalepetrie's avatar

@cheebdragon – I assume she comes up with this shit because she reads newpapers and doesn’t get all her news from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

@critter1982 – I could go line by line about why I disagree with you, but I don’t think it’s necessary, because I wouldn’t convince you any more than your laundry list doesn’t convince me of anything. I will however say the first 5 and #16 are what I was talking about, the REAL reasons. The rest of them all fall under the category of things that could be different and wouldn’t change your mind, and therefore it doesn’t matter that they mostly hysterical talking points meant to reinforce a preconceived attitude. You look at 1 – 5 and 16, these are actual positions, the rest of it was stuff someone on the right made hay out of as part of the dirty politics of personal destruction, knowing that anyone who believed in the positions you hold on 1–5 and 16 would be more than happy to unquestioningly embrace this, and in hopes that the people who aren’t paying any attention will pay more attention to such distractions than to the real issues that affect their lives.

critter1982's avatar

@dale: You said, “conservatives refuse to say why they REALLY don’t like Obama, and rely on all these distractions to make points that just plain don’t need to be made and are not convincing to ANYONE.”

These are the reasons I don’t like Obama. I find it a bit startling that you don’t feel his past is something that should be brought up during the election. Doesn’t this define who he is. Doesn’t 6–8, 10–11 help define his character and help the American people understand who he is as a person? Maybe you are just concerned with the “issues” but I am also concerned with his character.

dalepetrie's avatar

@critter – most of these “character” issues though would be a non starter for most Republicans if we were talking about a Republican candidate.

#6 – See Sarah Palin if you want to know that the experience issue isn’t really the problem for most conservatives

#7 – Obama’s father was born in a Muslim country but was actually an athiest so he was not “deeply imbedded in Muslim roots”. Not only that, but Obama spent about 2 weeks with his father in his entire life (and his father was not a Muslim at the time). Not only that but most Muslims are peaceful people, and even if Obama himself were a Muslim, it wouldn’t be an issue. Not only that but Obama has never been a Muslim, claimed to be a Muslim or had any ties to Muslim ideology. Not only that, but when’s the last time you heard a conservative ask about McCain’s father’s religion, or Bush’s, or Bush Sr’s (indeed if parental beliefs are that important would we have let Bush I rule being that his father was a Nazi financeer?). So, this is a completely bogus argument for several reasons, and no one but a conservative who already has his mind made up would care…unless they didn’t pay attention and were willing to take your original argument (which is demonstrably false) as gospel.

#8 – See Sarah Palin for an example of someone who attends a church where the pastor is decidedly out of the mainstream. More importantly, Wright was a wholly trumped up issue. First off, Wright was a Navy veteran, was considered one of the most influential preachers in the US, having received not one, not two, but three letters of commendation from the Johnson White House. Out of a 35 year career, Fox News culled every bit of videotape they could find of the guy and culled it down to find basically what amounted to 4 clips which when taken not only out of the context of the sentence, but taking the sentence out of the context of the sermon looked bad when clipped and played ad nauseum over and over and over again. Personally, I am an atheist, and even I agreed with what Wright actually said when I heard/read the ENTIRE sermons. And another reason this argument is bullshit is because it’s guilt by association…judge a man by HIS actions. Again, you can argue this point, but if going to church where there was a preacher you don’t agree with was a dealbreaker, conservatives would be SCREAMING at the top of their lungs to remove Palin from the ticket. They don’t however because it’s REALLY about issues 1–5 and 16, the rest ARE convenient distractions meant so support a predefined agenda and to confuse undecideds who aren’t paying attention.

I could go on, and on, and on. I just don’t think you’re being honest with yourself if you tell me you’d vote for a Democrat that didn’t have these “character flaws”, or that you wouldn’t vote for a Republican who did.

critter1982's avatar

@dale: I agree with you in general. Most character flaws are not serious enough to over-ride a candidates social and economic position on issues.

cheebdragon's avatar

@fireside- I left my laptop running with the page open, but thanks for the concern.

@Dale- I don’t believe I have ever heard rush limbaugh, and i dont care for fox news, biased news doesn’t interest me. I usually watch cnn and msnbc.

cheebdragon's avatar

Dale, since you don’t want to accept critters answer, why do you think people are voting republican? Obviously you have it all figured out, so please, enlighten us….

galileogirl's avatar

cheeb: These things are not history to me, I’ve lived through the breakup of AT&T and the long and expensive rebuilding process with numerous corporate mergers that gave lobbyists, investment bankers and insiders huge profits every step of the way.

I remember when the health industry was for the most part not-for-profit and health insurance was considered a part of the working person’s compensation. At that time you didn’t lose your insurance when you got sick and a sick child might cause you to worry-but it was about the child feeling better soon, not that you were going to lose your house too.

The savings and loan deregulation cost the American people $50 billion when FDIC was drained…and Senator McCain was one of the Keating 5.

The deregulation of the energy industry cost the people of California $11 billion and by the time the federal courts agreed we had been overcharged, we managed to get a judgement of less than 10% of our loss because full restitution wasn’t possible due to the collapse of Enron among other factors.

And even you must realize the deregulation and lack of even limited oversight of the mortgage industry over the past 7 years is the direct cause of the current economic situation.

dalepetrie's avatar

cheebdragon – Like I said all along, there are legitimate reasons from an ideological standpoint why people vote Republican, the simple answer is, they are Republicans. I’ve never said if you’re a Republican you should switch, I’ve ALWAYS said, vote YOUR conscience. I think you’re asking me a redundant question here, as I said, look at critter1982’s list, #s 1–5 and 16. But I’ll spell it out for you, since you didn’t seem to get it the first 3 times.

#1 – Some think abortion is wrong, period, end of discussion, and for some of those, that’s the only issue that matters. I don’t have to agree with you to say it’s a fair enough reason to cast your vote.

#2 – Though I don’t think Obama’s position on affirmative action is what critter believes it is, some will see any attempts to even the playing field (for any reason, race, sex or financial standing) by artifical means to be wrong…some believe (I think wrongly) that we all start out on equal footing and it’s our ability and effort alone which determines how far we go. I may disagree strongly, but if that’s what you believe, then you’re probably a Republican, and should vote as such.

#3 – tax increases and swelling budgets. Again I don’t think Obama is the tax and spender many on the right think he is, and I believe it’s more a matter of priorities which to my mind Obama has right, and the right has wrong. But if you believe in small as possible government, and again, revisit #2, you don’t think governments role should be as much about helping people as it is to just stay out of the way, then again, you’re a Republican, vote as such.

#4 – corporate tax increases – If you don’t believe we need to spend more on certain things, but indeed need to spend less and tax less, and if you don’t believe tax breaks from the bottom up do more to stimulate economic growth than tax breaks from the top down, again, I disagree, but if that’s what you think, you’re a Republican and should vote as such.

#5 – Welfare, and again, if you think it’s all about everyone has an equal opportunity and if you need to rely on government assistance, you’re just not trying hard enough, then great, fine, vote Republican…I don’t agree…I believe government’s role should be to help people achieve self sufficiency when they fall through the cracks through no fault of their own…I think personal responsibility is important, but the lack thereof is used as a scapegoat for the Republican mindset…I don’t think there are nearly as many lazy people trying to suck off the government teat as do most Republicans…but if that’s what you believe, then vote Republican, by all means.

#16 – Iraq…if you think that getting out should not be a priority, if you believe as McCain does that we should push forth towards our traditional view of what a “victory” should be at any cost, then vote for McCain. I do think again people mischaracterize Obama’s position here…he’s never asked for a precipitous removal of forces, but as he has said he wants to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. I think that’s far more prudent than stay in until we “win” whatever that means, but if you agree with the stay in and not the get out, then by all means, vote Republican.

And there are other reasons to vote Republican. The conservative ideology is smaller government, lower taxes, the greater role of personal responsibility, all have equal opportunity already, no abortion, the markets should decide everything with as little regulation as possible, and strong military. There has however been a neoconservative movement which is essentially built upon the idea of nationbuilding, that is expand our influence in the world by utilization of pre-emptive military force. That is a departure from traditional self-defense with agressive posturing position of the traditional conservatives. Neoconservatives have also moved away from fiscal responsibility, and though they’ve by and large kept their commitment to low taxation in tact, so they have not been “tax and spend” as they accuse Democrats of being, they have had no problem being “borrow and spend” if it supports their nationbuilding philosophy. Conservatism is about equity, Liberalism is about equality.

I think if you’re a conservative, the Republican party is for you. What I object to, have been objecting to, and will object to until my dying breath, Cheeb, is the personality based politics that are meant to distract people from worrying about the problems that impact their own lives directly, but which ultimately do nothing to create better governance, or even if you won’t accept the term “better”, at least more in line with the voter’s personal ideology. I believe firmly that if the issues were laid bare, and people were able to vote on a laundry list of issues…abortion rights (yes or no), tax breaks to the wealthy to spur job creation or tax breaks to the less affluent to spur economic equality and spending, military for asserting American might or military for defending our interests, that we’d almost NEVER see a Republican elected to the Presidency. At least not the ones who’ve been as hard right conservative as we’ve seen over the last 30 years.

In other words, people who would see their taxes lowered, who would see more opportunities for education and jobs, who would have a better safety net to keep them from falling throught he cracks if there were hard times ahead, who would benefit from having access to health care, schools, infrastructure, social security…all the things that in my opinion have made America great in the past but have been slowly eroded by this mindset of consolidating all the wealth at the top and somehow magically it will trickle down, if these people would vote in their own self interests, rather than because they’ve been told they can’t trust him because of this person or that person or the other person who he encountered in some small part of his life who went on to do something bad, or because his father was born in a foreign country and thus might have been of this religion and might have passed some of that along, and all of these guilt by association things, and what did his pastor say, and what did his wife say, and did he wear a flag pin, and did he salute the flag, and all this stuff that is not judging a man by the content of his character…that’s what I take issue with.

My point is, people who agree with his ideological worldview, as I do strongly, are not going to be sold on the opposite worldview because you are slinging mud at him. And people who don’t agree with his ideological worldview aren’t just going to become converts to the cult of Obama because of how eloquently he speaks. It’s the people in the middle tho maybe are torn on some of these issues, who really just don’t pay much attention to politics and tend to go in and vote their gut instinct, rather than vote based on an understanding of which candidate would really make their lives better, but who they trust more.

So, when an independent, undecided comes up with this stuff about Rezko and Ayers and Wright, and Obama’s father’s roots, and his charitable giving, and his “light” resume, these points can be argued. But when a Conservative spouts them off, it’s not because of these things they’re not voting for Obama, it’s because of the other points…the ideological differences are large and significant and if one’s worldview is one one side vs. the other, it’s disingenous to try to make the point that “this is why I don’t like the opponent,” because that has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with why you made up your mind, you know it and I know it, so don’t bullshit me, OK? These are all things that have been dug up that have nothing to do with the candidate’s ideology that someone on the right decided they could use as political weaponry…they are wedge issues, nothing more. And they don’t concern liberals, they don’t “really” concern conservatives (because you KNOW damn well that if these were McCain’s “downsides”, they would all be forgiven by conservatives because conservatives simply aren’t going to vote for a guy like Obama, period). So drop the pretense, that’s all I’m asking.

It shouldn’t be up to me to tell you why Republicans vote for Republicans. You vote your conscience, I’ll vote mine, but where I see these wedge issues that are nothing more than political tools, I will get out my bullshit meter.

critter1982's avatar

@dale: Even though I agree in general with what you are saying, I must point out that it is not only the conservative right talking about non-ideological issues. If you want examples just turn on the tv or search google. Unfortunately, the race for President has become more of an abundantly expensive popularity contest than one regarding the issues. And unfortunately 4 times in the presidential history, a candidate has become President after receiving fewer popular votes than the rival. You make very good points in your argument, but you can’t deny that the origins of these character flaw analyses have significantly come from the media, which in general is controlled by the liberal left. I don’t want to argue though who is more at fault, I just wanted to point out that both sides are to blame and too often people fall for what they see, without truly thinking or researching what has been or is being said. So Dale it may be a first but I agree with you.

dalepetrie's avatar

I never implied that only Republicans use wedge issues, both sides do this.

However I think this year it has been extremely one sided with McCain and camp consistently and constantly distorting the facts and Obama trying to run a campaign that rises above this kind of tactical gamesmanship (he hasn’t been perfect, but he’s done better than any candidate I’ve ever witnessed…I personally would have bitch-slapped McCain back to the stone age by now if I were running against him and he’d pulled the kind of crap on me he’s been pulling on Obama).

But I do find the assertion that there is a liberal media bias to be completely laughable. Follow the money. All our major media outlets are owned and controlled by notable right wing investors. The very idea that there is a liberal media is an example of something the Republicans realized early on…if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as fact. Best way to get unbiased news is to look at sources like NPR or the BBC…when the bills are being paid by the public an not by a business owner, you can get both sides of the story.

The problem is, you see all these wedge issues, and because you dislike the other side’s ideology, you want to destroy their candidate. But a fair media would not pick up on all these talking points that the right puts out there, and therefore conservatives get angry because they think the media is not reporting the “whole” story…well, the media is actually just following the almighty buck.

If what captures the public’s fancy is the rants of a preacher who used to head the church attended by one of the candidates, then that’s what they’re going to report on. If what captures the public’s fancy is one of the candidates giving a terrible interview where they sounded incoherent like a teenager called upon unexpectedly in class, THAT’S what they’ll report on.

The media isn’t about pushing an agenda, it’s about making money. You take the money out, and you can actually employ journalists who tell the whole story. I would really say that the only real mainstream media bias comes in the form of Faux News, er, I mean Fox News. It has been well documented that they purged people whose views were not supported by Murdoch, that their reporters were told to spin stories to the right, etc. CNBC has at times gone a little bit the other direction when they hire guys like Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman to do their political analysis. But you look at CNN, CBS, NBC, and ABC, you really aren’t talking about bias, though the right wing would have you believe they are all liberal mouthpieces. There simply is not one credible shred of evidence to back up the assertion that there has been any systemic or systematic bias on the part of any of these outlets.

However, there is PLENTY of evidence to suggest that they don’t report the whole story, they simply report what draws in the most viewers. The MSM is not biased, it is sensationalistic…it is only as biased as the current mindset of the viewers. Now if viewers are craving bad news about the Democrat, their coverage might skew right, and if they are craving bad news about the Republican, the coverage might skew left. All MSM needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Your best bet is to get your news from MANY sources, and rely on outlets that are publicly financed.

In summary though, I think often times the right, particularly in the current political environment has self-dilluted to a degree, and in trying to see through my own personal bias, I come up with the conclusion that many on the right (and there are those on the left who do this as well, not saying there aren’t) will suspect that anything that is reported which doesn’t support their worldview, even if it is 100% factually accurate, will be called out as left-biased. Personally, I think the accusations of bias are convenient scapegoats, allowing people to shun reality in favor of their own alternate realities that are based too much on opinion and too little on fact. Or as Stephen Colbert put it best, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

critter1982's avatar

@galileogirl: Your comment,“And even you must realize the deregulation and lack of even limited oversight of the mortgage industry over the past 7 years is the direct cause of the current economic situation.”

Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who deregulated the mortgage industry in the late 90’s?

Recognizably, it was also the ability to bundle riskly loans into securities, mixed with good loans, and to trade them, unregulated, as securities that led to this mess. This should have been regulated from the beginning, and recognizably,George Bush rode shotgun over increasing deregulation. Saying nothing many times is just as bad as deregulation, but to put all the blame on what you call “neocons” is still not all true.

critter1982's avatar

Good article: But it doesn’t dismiss Galileogirls comments about “neocons”.

Read this:

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not sure that Obama appointing someone who was financed by Rubin and his meeting with someone who at least has insider knowledge of the industry really rises to the same level, but point taken, but galileogirl’s point is still valid. We have been under the control of a neoconservative regime for 7 years, and it is the activities that have transpired over this timeframe that have led most directly to this crisis. Indeed, you make a point about Clinton’s changes to the banking industry, but it was his intention that whomever took the helm in 2000 (5 years after his reforms were passed) would review the laws and tighten up any loopholes that came up. Instead, Bush and his regime expanded and expoited those holes and pushed for less regulation, not more.

galileogirl's avatar

The President didn’t use to make law before the current prez, remember separation of powers/checks and balances? Ah for the good old days.

The Republicans controlled the House of Representatives with a coalition of Southern conservative Democrats-in-name-only from 1990–1994 and there was a Republican majority from 1994–2006. So go ahead and acquit the Republicans of responsibility, that seems to be the latest mind-bender. Like McCain claiming Obama is an inexperienced nonentity and then blaming him for the financial melt-down.

critter1982's avatar

How about you read my thread again….......I’ll wait…....I didn’t acquit the Republicans, I just brought to light that it wasn’t only conservatives that put us in the place we are at today. You can’t help but bash conservatives can you?

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m guessing that gg is pointing out the shortcomings in the conservative philosophy of deregulating everything, which has been prevalent since the days of Reagan. Over the last 28 years, even when there has been a Dem in the White House, the Republicans have managed to be FAR more successful in deregulating than Democrats have been in instituting protections against things like this happening. Twice in two decades, under two different President Bush’s, we’ve seen the banking system meltdown and have had to step in to take care of problems that wouldn’t have existed if the majority of Dems had gotten their way (in our opinion at any rate). So it’s not about not assigning credit (or fault) where due, it’s that Dems have had very little say in the legal changes that have allowed this situation to occur, and almost all areas where there has been any Democratic culpability, not only has it paled in comparison to the sheer laissez faire attitude of the Republicans on these issues, but 99 times out of 100 there have been serious mitigating factors to diminish said involvement.

As I see it, Dems have made some pretty bad decisions over the last 28 years as well, but this mess rests 99.999% on the shoulders of the free market, deregulation happy Republicans, and if you look at who made what laws and who was in power at certain times, you’ll see that it’s very hard to make the point that the Dems’ hands are anywhere near as dirty. You’ve tried, but we’ve rejected your arguments with facts such as the law Clinton signed (which was passed by a Republican Congress) was meant to be reviewed by the next President, who instead of closing loopholes, expanded them with the free market mantra that has driven conservative ideology for the past 3 decades. Bottom line is, free marketers need to temper their enthusiasm for complete deregulation by acknowledging that while greed can be a good thing in a Capitalist society, if it goes unchecked it is far more often a destructive force.

critter1982's avatar

Passed by a republican Congress yes but there were 195 democrats that voted for the bill as well, and that’s not to say there was a democratic president who had authority to veto the bill as well. Not quite sure how you came up with a 99.999% statistic.

Why do you say this deregulation was meant to be reviewed by the next President? To relegate Pres. Clinton’s involvement?

dalepetrie's avatar

Critter, first let me say that I think we were talking about two separate bills. I believe you have been talking about the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 also known as the Gramm-Leach-Biley act, notable in my mind because it bears the name of Phil Graham, McCain’s advisor who said that the economy was fine and that we were a “nation of whiners” undergoing a “mental recession”. Which stuns me to no end that so many Republicans are dragging this particular piece of legislation out when it was introduced by Republicans and only after intense negotiations wherein Clinton got concessions to ensure an end to the practice of redlining, did it gain bipartisan support, and when this bill was supported wholehearted by John McCain. And as Bill Clinton is not running for President, and neither is his wife anymore, to use this against Democrats because a past administration and Congress went along with it certainly doesn’t do anything to minimize the Republicans’ culpability.

But what this act did essentially is to allow banks to invest in securities, and the securities which have gotten our financial system in such a crisis weren’t even thought up yet at the time this change was passed. No, in retrospect, I DON’T think Clinton and the Democratic Congress did the right thing here, but certainly the worst you can say is that support of the Democrats was won, they certainly did not take a leadership position on it. And as it’s a matter of what Clinton didn’t know at the time about how this new law would be used, regardless of the fact that the 5 year review which I mentioned doesn’t apply to this bill (I was thinking of the 1995 Community Reinvestment Act, which some also criticize Clinton for because it led to more subprime mortgages, though with that one, there WAS supposed to be a review under the new President, Bush did NOT review it until 2002, and if anything, he weakened the protections of the law further, and then again in 2005), Bush would have had to have been asleep at the wheel or willfully ignorant of the way in which this law was being misused.

I’ll draw an analogy to your argument. Let’s say I ask to borrow your car for an indeterminate period. You say no (like Clinton did many times, threatening to veto this legislation), but I keep making promises and keep sweetening the deal and keep promising to take good care of it and I get you to sign an agreement that it’s OK for me to borrow your car and keep it as long as I want. Then I start to drive recklessly with it, but I never anticipated that you’d do that based on what you promised, and the contract is laid out, you can’t do anything to me to get the car back or to stop me from driving recklessly. Then I kill 17 people in a crash that I caused, and I tell the police, “don’t blame me, it’s his car.” That’s what you’re doing.

So you’re right, I’m wrong on the 5 year thing, I had the wrong bill in mind. But bottom line, some Democrats owned the car for a short period of time, it was the Republicans who drove it and allowed it to be driven wrecklessly. Maybe Dems are .001% culpable for agreeing to let the Republicans drive in the first place, but they’re not the ones who caused the car to crash.

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