A tip of the hat to the “Manila Standard Today”
A great editorial, better than much of the crap floating around in the U.S. I am reproducing it totally without permission, so I guess I’ll never get into heaven:
By Antonio C. Abaya
As I write this piece, there are still more than 48 hours left before the presidential campaign ends and the voting begins in the United States. Barack Obama is still enjoying a lead in the nationwide polls, but anything can still happen.
At the height of the financial crisis about three weeks ago, Obama was enjoying a double-digit lead over John McCain. That lead is now down to seven percentage points, with another 7percent still undecided.
What this seems to indicate is that a significant portion of those who chose Obama three weeks ago, when the economy was in total shambles, have changed their minds now that the economy seems to be reaching a state of equilibrium, even though the numbers are still down.
And then there is the so-called Bradley Effect, named after Black Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles who ran for governor of California in 1992. He led in the polls all throughout the campaign, only to lose to his white rival on Election Day.
It has been explained that some white voters do not reveal their racist bias to pollsters but express that bias in the privacy of the voting booth.
It is estimated that as many as 6 percent of white voters could succumb to this latent racism. If true, that would impact not only on the real nationwide poll—which does not elect the president and vice-president—but, more importantly, on the state electoral votes, which do. In most states, the gap between Obama and McCain is six points or less, so the Bradley Effect is statistically significant.
At present, Obama is said to have 290 electoral votes safely tucked in, compared to 160 for McCain. The winning total is 270 electoral votes. Without the Bradley Effect, Obama is a sure winner. With the Bradley Effect, it’s only Obama, perhaps.
In my earlier article “Obama, Osama, Oh Mama!” (March 31), I wrote that as Obama became more likely to become president, he ran a higher risk of being assassinated by white supremacists, a view that was similarly expressed by British-South African novelist Doris Lessing.
The arrest of two white supremacist neo-Nazi skinheads in Tennessee, allegedly because they had publicly stated a desire to shoot and behead some 80 Blacks in a nearby school, to be followed with a plan to drive through an Obama rally to assassinate him, must be regarded as merely the tip of a white supremacist iceberg. There must be other, more coldly calculating racist-killers out there waiting for the right moment to strike.
Despite its claim to being a beacon of democratic polity, the US has had more political assassinations at the highest levels in the past 150 years than almost any other country on earth, Black Africa and the Middle East included.
In the last two minutes of this electoral ballgame, the neo-cons are still trying to score a slam dunk that could push the McCain-Palin team to victory. In October, the embattled Americans in Afghanistan and Langley (Virginia—home of the CIA) launched NINE unmanned Predator strikes with Hellfire missiles into suspected Al Qaeda hideouts in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the last two in one day alone, on Oct. 31.
The aim, of course, has been to hope for a lucky shot that kills Osama bin Laden and/or his deputy, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zwahiri. So far, they have killed dozens of Pakistani civilians, but not Osama or Ayman. They still have 48 hours to score that lucky shot.
If I were an American citizen, I would vote for Barack Obama. He is the more attractive candidate: Intelligent, articulate, liberal, composed, able to think on his feet, always ready with an apt sound byte.
Compared to the Ivy Leaguer Obama, McCain is under-educated, which is why he talks in clichés, like his patron George W. Bush. I do not think McCain—or George W—can locate Iraq or Afghanistan in a map if the markings were in Hebrew or Chinese. McCain was 895th in his class of 899 midshipmen at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
But Obama has no executive experience. Neither has McCain, nor has Joseph Biden. The only one in the quartet with any executive experience is the moose-eating Sarah Palin. But, like McCain, Palin is also under-educated and is so obviously unfit for the position of vice president, much more of president, that one must question the judgment of McCain in choosing someone of her low-bat caliber as his running mate, especially since by his own admission he had met her only once ever.
McCain justifies himself on the grounds that he is a maverick, and that she also is. God or Allah help this planet if the most powerful country is run by two under-educated mavericks. It will be perpetual war. Which is probably what the neo-cons want: Which is why Vice President Dick Cheney, the outgoing neo-con headman, unexpectedly endorsed the maverick duo today.
Palin was chosen for two reasons. The Republicans thought they could win Woman Power to their side on the rebound after Obama chose Biden over Hillary Clinton. But after the novelty wore off, what the Republicans got was Girl Power instead, girls aged from nine to 90, with no ideological or political consciousness, but tickled to the bones that a Powerpuff Girl was McCain’s running mate.
The other reason why McCain chose Palin is her appeal to her fellow Christian Evangelicals, who constitute the Republican mass base and who make up most of the 26 percent of the American electorate who still support the vastly unpopular George W.
The Christian Evangelicals believe that war in the Middle East is part of God’s Plan: Israel will be destroyed but the 144,000 male Jews who survive will convert to Christianity and this will be the signal for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Obama has no counter-argument to that.
But the best argument against John McCain is John McCain. He makes much of his five and a half years in captivity at the Hanoi Hilton, as well he should, since that makes him an authentic American war hero.
But while he was a POW, his first wife Carol figured in a car accident in 1969 that hospitalized her for six months and required massive surgery. In order to save her life, surgeons had to cut away sections of shattered bone, reducing her height by four inches, confining her to a wheelchair and forcing her to use a catheter.
When McCain returned from Vietnam in 1973, he returned to a disfigured and crippled Carol, different from the tall and willowy Carol whom he remembered when he left in 1967 for Vietnam.
In 1979, while still married to Carol, our hero met and dated the statuesque and wealthy Cindy, whom he pursued relentlessly until she agreed to marry him, whereupon he divorced the crippled and disfigured Carol in 1980.
I guess McCain would say this was part of his being a maverick. The billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot, who paid Carol’s hospital bills, sees him differently, as a man who is “unusually slick and cruel.”
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