Publisher’s Commentary: Voters Keep Your Eyes On The Issues

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[Election 2008]

The Republicans are good at diverting the national attention from critical issues and at “packaging” candidates.

In 2004, the Republican machinery, with evil genius Karl Rove as the mastermind, diverted the national attention away from the disastrous Iraq war and turned the election into a cultural clash—George Bush and the Republicans were the last frontlines against “moral degenerates” expanding their influence on this country.

They terrified just enough voters into seeing the election as a referendum on moral permissiveness—the right to gay marriage. It was enough for Bush to steal the election from Democrat John Kerry.

The Republicans are back to their old tricks again. Democratic Party VP running mate Senator Joe Biden captured the essence of the Republican Party’s strategy going into the next two months before the General election when he decried the GOP’s recently concluded Convention.
“It's not so much what I heard in the Republican Convention,” Biden said, during a campaign appearance in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. “It’s what I didn’t hear. The silence of the Republican Party was deafening; it was deafening on jobs; on healthcare; on the environment; on all the things that matter to the people in the neighborhoods I grew up in. Deafening, ladies and gentlemen. Their America is not the America I live in.”

Biden was on target. The Republicans know that they don’t stand a chance if they campaign on the issues. Senator Barack Obama and Biden will take Senator John McCain and his running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the cleaners if the contest is between which candidates have the best plan for resolving the nation’s economic woes, the healthcare crisis, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, job losses, inflation, escalating energy cost, the credit crunch, and home foreclosures.

Palin, during her own address at the Convention, did not offer a single solution for the nation’s woes. Instead, focusing on how “tough” she is; she said the only difference between her and a pit bull was that she had lipsticks.

While that line played well with some of the reporters who bury their brains where the sun never shines, how many jobs will that cute line create? How many soldiers will it bring back from Iraq and Afghanistan? By how much will it lower the price of gas and heating oil? How many homes will it save from foreclosure?

Only today, Washington announced that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the nation’s primary originator of home mortgage loans, are both going into bankruptcy; the government uses a less frightening terminology—conservatorship. It’s the same thing.

Readers should remember that when the foreclosure pandemic first hit the front pages, Senator McCain admonished people who were losing their homes for masking boneheaded investment decision and concluded that they shouldn’t look for the Federal government for help.

In his defense, it must be noted that “straight talker” McCain did confess that he knew nothing about the economy. Yet, this is the man who wants to be president of the United States. And he wants Gov. Palin, who knows even less than McCain, to be one heartbeat away from the presidency.

Yes; Republicans are “straight talkers.”

At the Convention, McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis said “This election is not about issues.”

That’s why McCain has decided to use some of the tactics used against Obama during the Democratic primaries. Hence McCain’s constant reference to “patriotism” during his speech and the image of the American flag shown in the background as he spoke. Who is he fooling?

Just because his plane was shot down and he was captured as a young fighter pilot in Vietnam doesn’t make Obama –or any of the Republicans who ran against McCain during the primaries— any less patriotic.

McCain running mate Palin also tried the same old slur used against Obama during the primaries—that he’s an “elitist” who talks down to working class Americans.

This is of course coded racism that’s always directed at any Black person who enjoys spectacular success –academically and in the professional world; bigots prefer the stereotypical image of the Black man as predator and criminal. Any one who does not fit this caricature is reviled as being “uppity;” or to use the McCain-Palin terminology, “elitist.”

Moreover, what was McCain’s motive, at the end of his presentation when he urged his audience to “stand up,” “fight!” Fight against whom?

All these diversionary and insulting assaults must be rejected.

Americans mustn’t allow McCain and his advisor, the despicable Karl Rove, to steer the campaign into a culture war, pitting Christian evangelical zealots against the rest of the country and super rich versus the rest; that’s the primary reason why McCain made his reckless decision to choose the governor of a state with less than 700,000 people as his running mate.

These are the questions that voters must ask: Who can best repair the economy? Who can deliver on healthcare? Who can responsibly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and restore U.S. respectability abroad? Who can restore faith in the American economy and halt the crisis of confidence that is fueling a run on the markets? Who can secure the Supreme Court against the appointment of judges by Christian zealots?

The answer should be clear to any patriotic American.

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