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Let’s Get Real in 2008

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Now that Labor Day is over, the 2008 election season has officially begun.  Many causes have been bandied about by both parties, all of seemingly crucial importance.  Like virtually every recent election, this election is crucial to the direction and success of America, and it's key that people pay attention to the issues that matter, rather than the issues that simply divide. 

To clear the air, The Obnoxious American has put together a complete list of what issues are really important, and what issues you should be ignoring this election season.

Issues you should ignore:


The other day I got a good laugh when CNN reported with all hackles raised that Fred Thompson would ban abortion.  First, it's worth noting that in this great country of ours, the president does not have the authority to ban anything on his own.  And while there is a chance that 2008 will yield a Republican president, the makeup of the houses will likely not change.  Thompson has made some comments to the effect of creating a constitutional amendment to end abortions.  This is laughable as the odds of such an amendment being ratified by 75% of the states are nearly impossible.  But making such claims makes candidates sound tough on abortion, and this helps rally the evangelical base. 

Thompson has been caught as a possible flip flopper on this issue, as he has been involved in pro-choice movements which he claims were actually states rights issues.  Mitt Romney has made similar gyrations in either direction of pro-choice, or pro-life.  Hillary is pro-choice but wants to reduce abortions as much as possible.  The bottom line here is that no candidate will win a general election running on a pro-life platform.  All candidates know this.  Thompson is right that Roe v Wade is bad law, but I'd argue that it's bad because it does not completely protect the right to abortion.  I believe that there should be law passed guaranteeing people the right to pursue whatever (tested and safe) health care choices they want to make, including abortion.  Regardless of my personal view, this is an issue which will receive much talk in the coming months, but won't be acted no matter which candidate is elected.

Gay Marriage

In this day of religious warring, genocide in Africa, volatile markets and crucial decisions to be made in terms of taxes and our economy, leave it to partisan ideologues to discuss gay marriage as if it were a crisis.  The Obnoxious American is in favor of gay marriage, and I find it quite hard to understand how the GOP, a party of smaller government wants to pass laws that encroach upon private life. 

However, this is not an issue that is impacting most people's lives and not one that should be deciding a presidential election.  Many health care plans support the notion of a life partner that is of the same sex, civil unions are now available in many states, gender based prejudice is already illegal and gender based violence is classified as a hate crime.  Certainly more can be done.  However, other than as a way to expose some supporters as hypocrites (i.e. both Clinton and Romney are against Gay Marriage, but Gay Rights Activists support Clinton), this is simply not an important issue for the vast majority of Americans.

The Environment

I am going to catch a lot of heat for this one (no pun intended), but let's face facts.  Even if we elected Al Gore to be the next president, there wouldn't be much of a reduction in terms of CO2 emissions (and judging by the way the former Vice President uses energy in his own home, we might possibly see an increase).  Although signing onto the Kyoto treaty, most EU nations and Canada have fallen very short of meeting their goals, and China and India continue to pollute the atmosphere with abandon. 

Whether you believe in Global Warming, or agree that it is man-made, the issue of a clean environment is always of major importance.  However, such decisions have to be made considering the welfare of the country as a whole.  Our environment won't matter much if our economy is in the bin and politicians on both sides know this.  Any change that can negatively impact our economy has to be made with care.  Further, this is an issue that won't be solved by the election of a single person to a single office.  This will be something that mankind has and will always face.  While we may find solutions to the environmental issues we have today, there will always be other concerns affecting the environment. 

Health Care

To listen to some of the left, health care, or the lack thereof is the single most important issue facing Americans today.  Political doctors prescribe medicines that cure all that ills our health care system – the vast majority of these plans hearken back to the days of the politburo and waiting on potato lines.  I fear that the constituency might fall for the scam of "universal health care," but some part of me believes that the American public is smarter than that.  They know that the government doesn't do anything particularly well, and they are reminded as much each time they hear about Katrina, renew their drivers license or file their taxes.   

It is true that 45-50 million Americans are not insured, but the solution here isn't to create a new government program (and pay for said program with increased taxes).  The solution is to refine the current system, revamp how people are insured and look towards government aid as the last and smallest piece to fill the gap. 

Fact is, by the afternoon of January 20th 2009, all exhortations on the topic will be as forgotten as Hillary care is today. 

The Budget

Did you know that George Bush has mortgaged your grandchildren’s salaries to the Saudis?  Lol, just kidding.  The budget deficit is probably one of the most talked about and most meaningless discussions that continue in politics today.  Sure, it's better to have as small of a deficit as possible.  But it's really neither here nor there.  Frankly, I'd rather that my government has a deficit than a surplus, after all that's my money they are holding on to.   

And the fact is that the deficit is half of what it was a few years ago, despite the predictions by my left leaning friends that it would in fact balloon out of control.  Shows what a good tax reduction can do to increase the fed's take.  The real deficit we should be concerned about is the trade deficit, and the loss of many good companies to more (business) friendlier areas of the world.  Obviously, demonizing corporate America as is the Left's MO won't do much to solve that problem either.

Issues you must consider:


All this talk about budgets, but what is really important is whether the candidate will raise taxes.  Let's get one thing straight:  Raising taxes does not help the economy, nor does it create jobs.  Cutting taxes on the other hand will accomplish both.  Bush has been wrong about many things in his time as president, but any impartial look at the economic landscape has shown that he has been right as far as taxes are concerned. 

What about taxing just the rich as so many on the left are wont to do?  Fact is the rich already pay most of the taxes.  The top 50% of earners pay over 90 percent of the income tax collected by our government.  Americans who make less than a certain amount actually get back more in refunds from the government then they pay. 

What we need is tax reform – adopting a better mechanism than what we have now.  Flat tax, or consumption tax schemes have their benefits, and would raise the fed's take naturally, while making the tax code more manageable.  But to hear candidates blather on about taxing the rich is a strike against them in this authors opinion.

The Economy

While Hillary Clinton has been vilified as a "Corporate Democrat," whatever that means, let's recognize that we all work for companies.  Companies provide goods and services and jobs.  This basic element of what has made America great all of these years is what will continue to make this country great.  As the UK, EU countries, and Asia are now becoming much more business friendly, we face a real struggle in order to stay competitive.  The answer here is not to bite the hand that feeds, or demonize the corporate or "special interest" lobby, because at the end of the day, these are the people you work for.

The War on Iraq

We are at war.  You may not agree with the premise of the war.  You may have been really smart and said from the get go that we should not have gone into Iraq.  You might have called it all those years ago.  With that and a quarter, you can call someone and tell them how smart you are.  But we are still fighting a war. 

The consensus of virtually all parties who know better, except for the most virulent left wingers, is that we cannot, should not leave Iraq.  Listen very closely to your candidate on the Iraq question.  Are they using words such as redeployment that sound like strategy, but really mean retreat?  If anyone else tried to fool you with false words, you wouldn't trust them, so why would you elect someone president who can't honestly say the words retreat? 

The War On Terror

I'm not comfortable with warrantless wiretapping, but I'd prefer it over getting blown up on a bus.  To some degree, this is the choice we face.  Rather than attack past policy that might be misguided, what is the candidate doing to help win the war on terror?  Some question what winning means, seems pretty clear to me – we win when the threat of being attacked by radical terrorists has been reduced to the point of near impossibility.  Like it or not, we will either fight this good fight on our terms or be surprised when we are fighting it on the terms of terrorists.  Pick a candidate that takes this threat seriously.

That's it.  If it sounds like the list to ignore is much larger than the list to pay attention to, that's because it is.  There are only a few issues that are crucial to the future and success of the United States, let's not get all caught up on discussions that don't really matter.

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About The Obnoxious American

  • Nancy

    I sincerely HOPE congress has more spine & brains than to fall for Dubya’s proposal to invade Iran like they did his plan to wage war in Iraq-!? Given the generally negative attitude of the public about being over there at all, I suspect they may test the winds & decide that this time it’s a solid ‘no’ & refuse funding – unless BushCo manages to pull off another 9/11-style “attack” they could use to justify an Iranian invasion. In which case all bets are off as the sheeple panic brainlessly, the MSM panders to the excitement (& profit) of endless drum beating about terrorism here in the US etc. & meekly follows the WH party line, & congress once again cedes all its authority & gives Bush carte blanche. Goddamn those craven, supine idiots. Somebody needs to go poision their water. WSSC almost managed, but screwed up (as usual…).

  • bliffle

    Anyone who supports the notion that we have to stay in Iraq now that we’ve started a war there will be totally snookered, if Bush invades Iran, into supporting war against Iran. Think about it. Why surrender your better judgement to that reckless fool?

    And don’t mistake ego and vanity for “honor”. None of us need sacrifice to make that fool look better than he is.

    Don’t be bullied by the Bush propaganda machine into surrendering your own judgement in order to just get along and seem like a Good Fellow.

  • Nancy

    Clavos isn’t a misogynist. *tsk* there I go, sucking up to males on this website again. Whatever. JOM is misogynist; MR is misogynist (quite a trick, considering she’s a female herself…she says); but the rest? I haven’t really seen any. If this be sucking up, make the most of it, I suppose.

  • Clavos

    C’mon, Doc. I’m really not a misogynist, even if mr thinks I am.

    It’s too much of an insult to women to liken them to politicians. (except for the ones who ARE pols, of course)

  • Dr Dreadful

    they’re all a pack of curs

    Did you, perchance, start typing “c-u-” and then think better about the end of the word?

    Tsk… and you an old sailor, as well…


  • Clavos

    “But Joe’s “if you’re going to base all your decisions on polls you must be a democrat” was equally inaccurate and therefore, equally bullshit. Why not call him on that while you’re about it?”

    Point taken, Doc.

    As I’ve often (maybe too often) said before, they’re all a pack of curs.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Well, maybe, Clav.

    But Joe’s “if you’re going to base all your decisions on polls you must be a democrat” was equally inaccurate and therefore, equally bullshit. Why not call him on that while you’re about it?

    I mean, if every Democrat based every decision on polls, then why (for example) are Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel still running for President?

    Not to mention that there are a lot of Dems out there who have been extremely frustrated at some of the voting choices of their elected leaders (DINOs?), particularly with regard to the Iraq war and its ongoing prosecution.

    But – to borrow a gonzoism – I digress. Perhaps Doug should come back and speak for himself.

  • Clavos

    My sentence in #14 which begins

    “Because of this, he…”

    Should have read: “Because of this, Bush…”

  • Clavos

    Doc #11,

    I see you’re point, but don’t agree that I was even a little unfair.

    Doug DeLong said:

    “Well, if you believe that the American people should have no voice at all in whatever their government does, or that the government should be allowed to run roughshod over their people, then I guess you must be a Republican.”

    If he had changed just one word, “Republican,” to “Bush supporter,” or some variation thereof, I wouldn’t have called him on it, though even then it would have been a gross exaggeration of the reality.

    Mr. Bush is only nominally a Republican (a RINO, in the execrable jargon); many of his policies and actions in fact, are diametrically opposed to the traditional principles and precepts of the party.

    Because of this, he has inflicted grievous damage on the party (particularly with swing voters such as myself); damage from which it will take a long time to recover.

    My call of “bullshit” was in service to that recovery.

    And I stand by it.

  • Dr Dreadful

    And to his point #8, he’s just wrong. The polls still show that the public has more confidence in the GOP on fighting a war


    Based on the polls the people wouldn’t trust the Democrats to tie their shoes reliably.

    As Stan might say, Dave – bollocks.

  • To go back to Doug’s list of things which polls tell us, I have to point out that when we start making military and foreign policy decisions based on public polls we are well and truly fucked.

    And to his point #8, he’s just wrong. The polls still show that the public has more confidence in the GOP on fighting a war, just that people are tired of this particular war. Based on the polls the people wouldn’t trust the Democrats to tie their shoes reliably.


  • Dr Dreadful

    Clavos #9: That’s a little unfair. I think Doug was simply responding in kind to Joe’s equally sweeping and inaccurate generalization in #6.

  • ummm..could be that no one wants to discuss your pet peeves with you because you have clearly demonstrated NO intent to rationally discuss or debate any of your pet topics…you feel you are perfectly correct and justified and no amount of discussion, reasoning or facts will sway you one iota from your intended ideological path

    so why bother?


  • Clavos

    “Well, if you believe that the American people should have no voice at all in whatever their government does, or that the government should be allowed to run roughshod over their people, then I guess you must be a Republican.”


  • The Obnoxious American

    I think Joe’s point is well taken (as is Chris Rose, who I agree with completely). Note that I am not defending the decision to go to war, or chastising the American people for on average wanting the war to be over. No one likes wars, especially not me.

    However, there is a reason why this is a representative republic as has been pointed out, and not a country run by polling. For one thing, it should be obvious that polls can provide misleading numbers, and the phrasing of various questions can tilt the response one way or another. I am 100% positive that if you asked a majority of Americans whether they want to be defeated in Iraq, the answer would be a strident Hells No! On the other hand, if you asked the American people whether they wanted to war to be over, the answer would be a strident Hells Yeah!

    That said, I am sure most people, regardless of phraseology would prefer not to be embroiled in Iraq as we are today. That said, a majority of Americans also want to eat snacks all day, never excersize and still look like Beckham.

    I am dealing with the question of what is the RIGHT thing to do in Iraq. Turning tail and leaving, is not the right choice, although it may be popular and easier than the idea of continuing an effort which will surely result in more dead Americans.

    We have a responsibility to the Iraqis, but more importantly, to ourselves. We are already looked at as weak in the Arab Street because of this debate, and because of past weaknesses. We need to be as formidable as our enemy, more than the enemy, or we will be subservient to them. This wouldn’t be a poll question, it would be a consequence of our actions.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that no one has made much commentary regarding my points on taxes and the economy, and I would guess thats because there really isn’t much to debate there. The WSJ reported last week that many European countries are actually starting to catch “Bush Tax Cut Fever” reducing income and even capital gains, because after all, this stimulates economic growth. With that in mind, how can anyone vote for a candidate that supports either rolling back any tax cut, implementing some type of bogus “paygo” (translation – new taxes all the time) or is outright in favor of raising taxes?

  • Joe,

    Well, if you believe that the American people should have no voice at all in whatever their government does, or that the government should be allowed to run roughshod over their people, then I guess you must be a Republican.

    But I guess yours is the last line of defense when faced with a Republican government that even a 5-year-old can see has fucked things up to the point of no return.

  • Joe

    Doug DeLong
    Well, if you’re going to base all your decisions on polls you must be a democrat. Your leaders also base every decision on a poll, they have no real ideas of their own, no concrete grounding in reality, just take whatever position the polls say is popular that day. Good luck with that “wide” stance on the issues.

  • gonzo marx

    interesting to see your priorities and concerns, but asserting that those Issues should be the ONLY concerns for ALL voters is a bit much

    and that’s not even getting into the veracity of the reasoning or facts involved

    but here’s the thing, each Citizen must prioritize and verify the Issues that are important to them…

    i always advise extreme caution and skepticism when someone else attempts to set the Agenda, and tells folks what they should and should not pay attention too

    that’s how shit has gotten missed, overlooked and not fact checked these last 7 years…and look at all the pandemonium that has caused, eh?

    just a Thought…


  • 1 through 4 – yes.
    5 – absolutely not.
    6 – maybe not enough impact but more than none.
    7 – absolutely yes.
    8 – extremely doubtful.

  • The consensus of virtually all parties who know better, except for the most virulent left wingers, is that we cannot, should not leave Iraq.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “parties,” but every poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly say that…

    1) they oppose the war in Iraq –

    2) we are not winning the war –

    3) they disapprove of the way Bush is handling Iraq –

    4) things are going “somewhat badly” or “very badly” in Iraq –

    5) the U.S. should decrease or remove all the troops now –

    6) the “surge” is having “no impact” on the war in Iraq –

    7) the U.S. involvement in Iraq is creating more terrorists who are planning to attack the U.S. –

    8) they trust the Democrats to do a better job handling the war.

  • Arch Conservative

    Are you kidding me obnoxious? Actual American citizens work for corporations and benefit from it?

    All this time I thought it was Republican voting robots who steal candy from little children and medicine from little old ladies while preventing every adult American from earning a decent living through their sinister mechanizations and return home to thier mansions to refuel themselves on crude oil every evening.

    Are you sure about actual Americans working for corporations? You sound like a member of the vast right wing conspiracy pal! We don’t take kindly to the vast right wing conspiracy round these parts!

  • Graham McKnight

    This is a much better Opinion piece than your previous attempts. I may not agree with you on some fundamental points raised in your article, but at least you provide a transparent rationale behind your assertions this time.