So I know this isn't the right post to write the following but I have to tell you ...after giving thousands to Kerry in '04 and giving a lot less to Obama this past year -- and being an avowed progressive and Democrat for most of my life ...I am voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.Keep in mind the following:I have spent two years in England and Wales, two years in Germany (very cosmopolitan with a variety of eastern and western Europeans), two years in Iraq, and over five years in the US Army (where I've associated with a broad range of nationalities). My grandmother is a German woman who fled Hitler's East, forced to leave her mother, sister, and her possessions behind as she did so. I've talked with a Panamanian who fondly remembers the day the Americans toppled their authoritarian government and helped usher in democracy in that country; I've talked to a Cuban who waits for the day we'll do the same in his native country. I've talked with Iraqis who told me first-hand of the brutality of Saddam and his rule. I've known all-too-well of Americans just like you and I who sacrificed their young lives for their country after enduring months of hardship and discomfort.And I look at a map and find Iran between Afghanistan and Iraq. And I believe - for a variety of reasons - in the imperative to protect and establish Israel.Barack Obama talks of hope while denying any wisdom or vindication or strategic advantage of the Iraq strategy -- to write it off as a failure, to talk of withdrawal for the sake of withdrawal -- its done to appeal to voters. I have to believe he sees the wisdom of 155,000 soldiers and marines on the east and west of Iran. September 11th should not be gone from our memory -- it is the day the Middle East came to our shores. And right now we've got their solid attention. And the moderate Arabs and Muslims are pushing back against the extremists and hope in the Middle East, for the first time in a long time, is not mere lip service or a photo opportunity.I hope Americans will consider what sacrifices they have made in the wake of a brutal attack on American soil -- and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice -- and understand that the economy is not the central issue in this election.I just ran the Army Ten-Miler in DC and, as I felt a sharp pain between my shoulder blades and contemplated leaving the race early, a man with one leg ran beside me. He wouldn't be the last amputee I saw running that day either.How could I quit?Please - everyone - open your eyes to look a little more broadly than Barack has asked you to. He is someone who has been running for President for a very, very long time. He wraps himself in Hope and Change and values no one can be against -- but its all a really expansive infomercial to put the real Barack (not the marketed Barack) in the most vital office in the world.to you and yours, God bless you ...Chris
Dammit Chris, I had just told myself after goofing around with iTunes for an hour that I was going to bed and then you drop this in my inbox? WTH, man?! I can't hope to convince you via blog comments section about why McCain/Palin is the wrong choice for you, for me and for America, but I'll try.First off: Iraq.I understand your concern and connection for the area and know that by just getting rid of Saddam we did a good thing there, but the fact does not change that we should not have gone in there in the first place. We had no right, morally or militarily, to invade a sovereign nation and force it to accept what we believed best for it, no matter if it was what was best for it.There were no WMDs. There was no direct threat to America. There was no overt al Qaeda link. It was a flimsy pretense for establishing the exact scenario you're talking about: the creation of an ally in the region that gives us a tactical striking point if Iran gets uppity. We go in, get greeted as liberators, do a little shock, maybe a little awe, and in six to nine months we have a new Middle Eastern ally. Six years later and we have tied up thousands upon thousands of troops and funds to police an area made lawless by our own actions (hubris?). It was incredibly irresponsible and incensing and has not helped our approval in that area or in the world arena.So, how do we fix it?Here's Barack's Iraq plan (My interpretation follows): *Barack Obama will responsibly end the war in Iraq: Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: successfully ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased.This frees up troops to do what we should have done initially - catch bin Laden and fight al Qaeda - instead of using the fear and tragedy of 9-11 as a pretense for invading Iraq to play out a scenario that's been cooking in some neo-con think tank for the last decade.*Encourage political accommodation: Obama and Biden will press Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future and to substantially spend their oil revenues on their own reconstruction.Again, fiscally, this makes sense. We need more troops in Afghanistan and we're already stretched thin on the ground there. And from a practical point-of-view, it allows the Iraqi people to be in charge of their democracy without the USA breathing down its neck. *Increase stability in Iraq and the region: Obama and Biden will launch an aggressive diplomatic effort to reach a comprehensive compact on the stability of Iraq and the region. They also will address Iraq's refugee crisis.This gives us the opportunity to work with the Iraqi administration and build up a relationship where if we need to fight/threaten action on Iran, we have that connection and by allowing the Iraqi people a chance to run their own government, have hopefully built up a relationship of trust that we can rely on if necessary. This relationship of trust cannot be built when we are viewed as interlopers, or worse, occupiers. Hearts and minds, remember?I don't think Obama's plan is cowardly or short-sighted or diminishes the sacrifice made by our troops - by your brothers-in-arms - on behalf of the Iraqi, and by extension, the American, people. I agree that we need to leave Iraq with success. It's just how do we define success there? McCain's constantly talking about how we need to allow our troops the opportunity for victory in Iraq, but he has yet to define - as far as I can tell - what he feels to be a victorious solution to the situation in Iraq. How do we "win" in Iraq?Obviously, we can't just pull out irresponsibly and leave a vacuum to be filled in our wake, especially as you said, with Israel within striking distance of Iran and not with the sort of ideologies that would fill that vacuum.But we also can't afford - life-, monetary- or credibility- wise - to occupy Iraq indefinitely. Not unless we want to end up like Rome before its fall, spread over the globe trying to defend our hegemony. If we want bases there and a presence in the region, we have to go about it in an honorable fashion. We have to go about it diplomatically, not by barging in and demanding we be allowed to set up shop because we have, like, democracy and stuff.I don't see how else we can "win" in Iraq. We can keep throwing money and troops at the problem, we can surge all we want, but until we allow Iraq to govern itself we will continue to be unsuccessful there. Until we take an dishonorable situation and make it honorable, I don't see how we can claim success.Does that make sense? And you're right, this election is not just about the economy. But it is, well, also about the economy. And McCain has proven to be really not very sharp when it comes to the economy.And it's also about energy. And education. And Social Security. And affordable health care for every American. Issues on which I think Obama has McCain beat handily.I mean, McCain's health care plan? Does that make *any* sense? It sounds like some sort of crazy pyramid scheme. And it doesn't even begin to address things like pre-existing conditions or ridiculously high premiums. We live in the greatest country in the world, our citizens should not have to file for bankruptcy or get thrown out of their home because mom got cancer.But that's all tangential.For me, what this election comes down to are three things: judgement, temperament and focus. The President is really just a glorified administrator. He oversees. He has specialists who serve under him and they do their thing, reporting back periodically. The President sets the tone, sets the vision and holds his staff accountable for their duties.So let's talk about judgement. Let's talk about the VP choice, because I think that is the most telling decision each candidate has made in this race. Barack Obama chose someone with a solid foreign policy background, someone who said, time and time again during the primaries, that Obama wasn't ready to be Commander In Chief. Someone who would push back on his decisions and help him make tough choices without totally undermining him. He very easily could have chosen Hillary Clinton. It would have been a lock-in and the politically smart choice.But he didn't. He went with the person who would inform his decisions on foreign matters the most. He went with the guy who, though he can hold forth on matters of national security like there is no tomorrow, puts his foot in his mouth so often he has Athlete's Teeth. Joe Biden, for all of his affability and charm, is a bit of a political liability. Chances are, once he gets talking, he's gonna make a mess you have to clean up. But he's the best man for the job, especially when you lack foreign policy experience. Obama chose the running mate who would best serve the country, and yeah, his campaign, but mostly the country.Not so with McCain. He chose a figurehead, a totem, to help solidify his support among the radical right wing of the GOP. He chose the running mate that would most likely drum up support among those Repubs who would have ended up voting for him anyway. Why? Because that's how W won and after his brutal defeat in 2000, John McCain isn't underestimating the religious right.His choice of the under-educated, under-prepared and just plain vulgar (there, I said it) half-term governor of a state where nobody lives puts us all at risk. He put victory first. That makes me and, if poll numbers are to be believed, a vast chunk of America really question his judgement.And as far as temperament goes, well, it's common knowledge he's a terrible hothead. The jaw-clenching and eye-rolling in the last debate was an especially nice illustration of his inability to control himself emotionally.And as far as steadiness, watching his campaign has been like watching an over-caffienated chimpanzee click through 127 cable channels. Repeatedly. It's been a mess. But don't take my word for it. Part of why Obama has been able to craft such a brand, what you refer to as "a really expansive infomercial", for his campaign is his ability to stay focused. Where McCain's been lurching from strategy to strategy, storyline to storyline, Obama has maintained a consistent storyline that people can grab hold of, whether they encountered it two years ago or two days ago. And I like to think I'm savvy enough to see it for what it is: really clever marketing. But it's not marketing - at least not in my eyes - a substandard product. There's substance there. I think this guy's "the real deal," whatever that means. Maybe I'm blinded by the glitz. I like to believe I'm smarter and more reflexively cynical than that. I am Bob Todd's son, after all. Reflexively cynical is sort of what we Todds are known for. But who knows. Have I been hoodwinked?Look at the decisions he's made in this campaign: his decision to use the Rev. Wright debacle as a teaching opportunity rather than to duck, cover and hope it all blows away; his choice for running mate; his handling of the economic meltdown; his performance in three debates; his ability to maintain a cool head and a steady hand while being viciously savaged by his opponents (Seriously, a "Marxist," Tom DeLay? It's 2008, not 1968. Come on.); his ability to counter said attacks (something a Democratic candidate hasn't been able to do since Bill Clinton smarmed his way into the White House back in the good old days) while still staying relatively clean and collected. He's been focused, exercised sound judgement and been even-tempered.And that's what I want in a President.*******Total aside, but as far as Cuba goes, why do *we* have to bring them democracy? This whole idea of mandated democracy, of democracy through, well, fascism really seems ridiculous after a while. If Cubans want democracy then they should march for it, demand it, fight and die for it. In such a scenario should we act as France did when we made our bid for independence and support them in their choice? No idea. Probably? But should we invade Cuba and demand that they create a democracy because we are a democracy? No. That's not our place. How would we react if Cuba invaded Forida and demanded that we embrace Communism?*******Also, check the time stamp on this. I know, crazy late, right? I will get no sleep tonight and it's all your - and f@#$%ing John McCain's - fault. But Chris, you're worth it. I love you, brother. Peace.
This comment has nothing to do with this post. I just thought I would tell you that the other day I was at school/work looking for something to read as I waited for my wife to come get me and I picked up the issue of print that I got in the mail that day. All of the sudden my wife was there so I left it open and went home. Later that night I was making my rounds on the blogs and I came across your post about Twist being in print with your stuff. I resolved to find your stuff as soon as I got to work. The next day I found the magazine still open the desk. I started looking for your stuff and two pages later I found it. Way cool. Anyway, what would have happened if you hadn't posted when you did? What would have happened if my wife hadn't picked me up at that exact moment? Well, for one, I would have had to search more for your stuff and I probably would have become frustrated with flipping pages superfluously. Second of all, your awesome tally wouldn't have been bumped up a few points. And third, I wouldn't be commenting right now. So I think that destiny has had a big part in both of our lives. Pretty cool, huh? Way cool. Way cool.
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