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Foreign policy, strategic affairs, defense and governance

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Obama vs. McCain

Obama vs. McCain

What will it take for people to see the light? Bill Clinton left office with about a $130 billion in surplus, and an unemployment rate of 4% — a 40 year low. Within the past eight years, the United States has embroiled itself in two unwinnable wars, and a $10 trillion national deficit, which has resulted in a record unemployment rate of 6.1%. Nothing that the Republicans have said over the course of the last eight years has been accurate — not the nukes in Sadaam’s backyard, nor the liberator cheerleading squad that was supposed to greet US troops in Iraq. And yet John McCain, representing the political party in power, is only down by eight points to Barack Obama. How do you help a victim that doesn’t want to be helped? The Republicans’ laissez-faire approach got the US into this bloody mess in the first place, and now John McCain wants to give more tax breaks — to the so-called “small businesses” — in the hopes that they will be able to employ more Americans and pass on the savings to their employees.

Wake up and smell the coffee. The most that’s going to happen with this hackneyed scheme is that small business owners, even imaginary ones like Joe the Plumber, would end up passing on savings to illegal aliens because of the simple fact that small businesses can’t afford to employ Americans. A Senator from Arizona should know better.

With the election only a few days away, McCain has invigorated the very smear campaign that he claimed he wouldn’t indulge in. He received a round of applause from the media when he corrected the woman in one of his rallies who claimed she was afraid of Obama because “he’s an Arab”. “No Ma’am”, McCain replied, “…he’s a good, decent family man..”. Excuse me? Since when has being Arab been an antithesis to being a good, decent family man? Don’t think McCain sounded incredibly racist? Replace the word “Arab” with “Jew” and tell me what McCain comes across as. The Republicans like to throw around the word “socialist” like it’s a slur. Obama’s a socialist. He wants to spread your wealth. Well, if McCain was willing to spread $700 billion dollars of your wealth to save Wall Street, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be okay for the government to spend that same money to save you. At least in the socialist system, wealth is distributed evenly. As opposed to the system that’s now in place in the United States where we capitalize profits and socialize losses.

Neither one of these two candidates is qualified to save this economy. Between the guy who owns eight houses, his veep who spent $150,000 on clothes and makeup, and the guy that raised $150 million in one month alone just to prove that he’s better equipped to manage the economic crisis, the voters are left with no hope at all at salvaging their jobs, their lives and their country. Macroeconomics isn’t meant to be dictated by just one philosophy. The perfect economy lies somewhere in between capitalism and socialism. Governments and economists could spend a lifetime trying to negotiate that balance, but whatever the perfect equation, it is quite clear that government needs to be actively involved in the economy. Corporations are incapable of governing themselves. This has been more than proven with the Worldcom and Enron scandals of ’01.

In this election, I am inclined to support Barack Obama mainly because he is the only fresh thing on the menu. Unless there is a radical change in the way the United States conducts its affairs vis-a-vis the rest of the world and within, the disparity between itself and growing powers like China will only become more strikingly apparent as the years progress. America’s economy needs strong governmental oversight. It’s foreign policy towards the rest of the world needs introspection. There’s no reason for the US to be engaged in a war with a country half way across the world that couldn’t physically harm mainland America even if it wanted to. More importantly, political discourse needs to be brought out of the purdah.

The last eight years have been an aberration from the ideals of democracy. The presidential nominee from ruling party doesn’t seem very enthused to part ways with the policies of the past. This election isn’t about pigs wearing makeup, or hockey moms, or presidential candidates’ middle names. It’s about breaking from the shackles of 8 years of isolationism and naked lies. Vote for change in ’08 and give peace and prosperity a chance.

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