People are just living their lives and unless you know someone in Iraq or you happen to have a child in the military, the war does not have any effect on your life. Well. Maybe the gas prices are a bit high, or property prices are falling like bricks, or the deficit may cripple the economy—but it’s not like WW2 when people actually sacrificed for their freedom. Iraq has nothing to do with our freedom.
At dinner the other night we were with friends discussing the election. I was curious about how people I knew, and respected, were going to vote. The subject of Bill’s impact on the campaign was mentioned but these people felt it was no big deal. “We liked Clinton and he was a good President”, was pretty much the feeling. And then the conversation turned to Obama. “He doesn’t know anything. He is unseasoned”. So I thought about that and I remember when Bill Clinton ran the first time. He was unseasoned – the Governor of Arkansas -- and knew nothing. Does experience matter? I don’t know.
As I have said many times, I like Hillary and I think she would be a good President. But is it going to be her Presidency or Bill’s third term. Maybe it’s Ok for Bill to have a third term. I am not sure about that either. And I don’t know Obama. There are certainly questions about the slum lord he represented—or his firm represented. And there are questions about his voting record. Not that he voted incorrectly but that he only voted ‘present’. Is that an indication that he, (like the accusations about Hillary) was trying to be cautious and not make any decisions. Was he afraid, too willing to make deals, not capable of decision making? What we do know is that (on all sides) there are people who are going public with false and in some cases erroneous information. What we don’t know is the truth about anything. What a country. Al Gore still thinks he won the election in 2000 – but he never made it to the White House.
So here’s what I have to ask myself before I make a decision. Who is it that walks into the White House with the New President in January 2009? We can look at the list of each candidates’ senior advisors to get some idea. Will Hillary bring back Ira Magaziner, the person most responsible for the health care debacle? We can conjecture that Richard Holbrook will be the Secretary of State in a Clinton White House. What do we think of Holbrook as a leader, thinker, manager? Or it might be Susan Rice in an Obama Administration. Is she up to the task? And who will head the other Departments and the more than 192 independent agencies? Those are questions I wish the media would ask in a debate. What kind of judges will each candidate appoint. Who will serve on the Boards on quasi-government programs like the Voice of America. Will defense budgets be cut and energy be increased. Who will make energy policy, will it be an Al Gore or someone whose priority it is to take care of rich corporate friends—and that is not an issue specific to only the Republicans. During the Clinton Administration there were plenty of friends who were helped along by the Terry McAuliffe level appointees. The White House was always taking care of people with deep pockets. People think that the White House doesn’t fund raise, but there is always an election to be won for the President’s party if not specifically for the President. No one in politics ever takes a break from identifying big or generous donors -- which is why there are issues like selling the Lincoln bedroom, and who gets to go to a State dinner.
There is no question in my mind that Hillary, Barack and John are good people. None of the three is a crook. They may have been involved directly or indirectly with people of questionable moral core – but they are right thinking, honest people. So how do we make a decision about the person we will choose? It may be that you need to look beyond the person running and see how the campaign and the people running the campaign have conducted themselves privately and in public. Simple things like, did they thank the volunteers for their thankless jobs? Did they return phone calls to people beyond big donors? And did they look you straight in the eye when they were telling a tale about their candidate. Finally, it is important to look at all the records and see how much compromise are the candidates willing to make in order to get the bureaucracy to respond? Being the President is an overwhelming task so maybe we should ask the candidates why they really want to do it. And they are not allowed to say “because I want to make everyone’s life better.” It’s kind of like saying “I’m good with people”. They need to talk about the how’s and why’s and tell us exactly what it means to have a better life. We’re just sayin... Iris