The 2008 presidential race seems far more bizarre than those in past election cycles. For one thing, it seems like it's been going on for a year. Actually, it has been going on for year. And for some, like Hillary Clinton, it's been going on since at least 2000.
On the other hand, if the Hillary camp's opposition research is to be believed, Barak Mohammed Hussein Obama has been running for the presidency since he was in kindergarten. This must be something of a record, although a record of what, precisely, isn't all too clear.
However, there are certain gleanings to be made from the rhetoric of the Democrats and the Republicans. In this first article about the race, I'd like to posit some observations about the overall party differences between the two fields in this primary season.
On the Democrat side, we can be fairly certain that taxes will go up. None of the two and half leading candidates (Edwards' quixotic run only merits the half) make no bones about what they want to do. Hillary wants to "take those excessive profits from the oil companies" to fund research into alternative energy sources. Obama (all two and a half, for that matter) wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, which means that sooner than you think, a $20K annual income will be considered rich. And Edwards, when he is not combing his silky locks, wants to "bridge the gap between the two Americas" -- code speak for wealth redistribution with the resultant higher taxes to pay for it.
Obama and Hillary are claiming that the election has nothing to do with gender or race, while constantly injecting both every chance they get. The accusations flying back and forth between the two camps is stunning. Yet no one calls them on their misanthropy because, let's face it: to the Politically Correct, only white Conservative males discriminate on the basis of gender and race, not us Liberals!
All two and a half of the Democratic leaders will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq, differing only in how fast and how thorough their retreats from the war zone will be. Obama, to his credit, will attack another country for terrorism. Unfortunately, that country is Pakistan, one of our allies in the region. The sense I get from them all is that they'd like to see the War on Terror turned back into a law enforcement matter, rather than the all out war it really is.
The one overarching theme of all the Democrats is this: America is filled with victims and victimizers. Americans, of either status, are children who need these enlightened Liberals to tame their excesses and protect the victims from those excesses. Hillary had the famous ad wherein she was wrapping all her socialist programs up as Christmas presents to be placed under the tree for us. Obama keeps talking about hope, even invoking the name of Ronald Reagan, while offering little by way of substance. And Edwards flips his hair, bats his eyelashes, and talks about the one time the insurance companies fell down on the job, allowing a young girl to die before they would cover her liver transplant.
Speaking of health insurance, all two and a half candidates promise to nationalize our healthcare industry, turning America into an eleventh province of Canada. This will, needless to say, mean even more tax hikes, cutting down the profits of the drug companies, rationing healthcare, and even, in the case of Edwards, mandates on individuals to undergo certain tests and procedures.
No one of them is saying much about immigration, although they seem to be supported strongly by those who oppose enforcing our borders or ending the practice of sanctuary cities. Hillary was laughable when confronted with her own words regarding New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's plan to issue drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. And then Obama, not learning from her mistake, fell for the same question in a later debate. The reason they aren't saying too much, when they aren't sticking their feet in their mouths that is, is that they know that open borders, amnesty and sanctuary cities are losing political stands to take. Hey! They can read polls better than the Bush Administration and John McCain!
In short, the Democrats are talking about wholesale abrogation of American Liberty.
And what of the Republicans?
John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudi Giulianis all talk about lowering the tax burden on all Americans, regardless of income. They are also standing against the worst of Hillarycare (or any of the other onerous schemes put forth) trying to use the free market to solve issues involving coverage and healthcare. Medical savings accounts are making something of a comeback in Republican circles, but no where near the CATO plan, which would cover everyone with just the money from Medicare taxes while eliminating most of the bureacracy.
All the Republican candidates will stand stronger on terror than any of the Democrats, although Huckabee leaves me a little "underwhelmed". Still, they all want to persue terrorists far more enthusiastically than the Democrats, so I guess we can't complain.
And the transcendent thing about the Republican field? With the notable exceptions of McCain and Huckabee -- more on all the candidates individually in later columns -- the other Republicans do not look at Americans as victims and victimizers. All of them have far more faith in America and its people. At the very worst, none of them will expand government as fast and as intrusively as the Democrats.
Watching the New Hampshire debates, I was struck by the difference between the two fields. The Democrats all wanted to "save Americans from themselves", while the Republicans were more concerned with getting government out of the way domestically while beating back the Islamo-fascists where they live, rather than arresting them here in America.
The difference was stark: on the one hand, we had enlightened, superior Liberals trying to save the children (Americans) from their own inadequacies: on the other, we had a faith in the abilities of free men and women, able to make the world a better place, starting right at home, on their own, without the Nanny State to hold their hands.
Where do you stand?
Copyright Jan. 18th 2008