Saturday, February 16, 2008

A hopeful, united America

Everyone is talking about Obama's message of hope and his vision of uniting America and working towards world peace and solving hunger and bringing Republicans into the tent and everything... here:

But Mr. Hope for Change, while hipper and more articulate than the last hopeful uniter, can't even contain his embarrassment about a distant geneological tie to the current Vice President. Is there a divide in the uniter when it comes to people who still support the current administration?

Race and speaking style, that's the change. His main driving force is timing. Bush came along when America was tired of Clinton scandals and the politics of personal destruction and Obama is doing the same to Bush. Actually, it'd be hilarious if Cheney were running against Barack just to observe the magnetic pole dance between the two. We'll see nothing like that with McCain.

As to an Obama presidency, how about some good news, bad news:

1. It would be a huge step forward for people of color. Nobody could say "well, he's just a token" after winning an election for president. It would represent the final hurdle in race relations in America.

2. The Third World, Europe and the Arab Street would be hard-pressed to point the finger at America and call us evil without appearing racist, hateful or jealous.

3. Minorities in America would have nobody to blame for their economic problems anymore, and might rise up and improve their lot in life as a result.

4. At the same time it would be harder for al Qaeda to gain support for a big attack if people viewed America as a country that could elect a leader born in Africa from a presumed Muslim father.


1. He seems a little wobbly away from podium. That might hurt him in world affairs or in the actual management of a crisis.

2. He'll face charges of reverse-discrimination when making appointments, even if it's not true. A lot of people will be expecting jobs, people from his race, but if he tries to appear even-handed by rebuffing them there might be a backlash. Race baiters may also worry over a perception their jobs were superfluous with a black in the White House. No telling what some of them might do.

3. As morbid as it sounds, he'll be a prime target for assassination by extremist groups. Not only white racists, but AQ might see an opportunity to turn hatred inward and explode a race war by taking him down in an effort to destabilize America. Imagine the emotion surrounding JFK's death injected with years of pent-up racial hate, especially if some hillbilly white supremacist dude is fingered. No more all getting along.

4. The likelihood he might actually follow through on his campaign promises, like allowing habeas corpus for terrorists, pulling stakes in Iraq, putting troops into Darfur, socialized health care, carbon taxes, amnesty for illegals. Raising my taxes.

In many ways an Obama presidency would be one of healing for the nation but at our present historical vertex also perhaps too ambitious. He still seems better than Hillary, who'll probably prove that by showing her rear very soon if the losses keep piling up. But if McCain can keep his composure (and Barack is already trying to goad him into a temper outburst) many people might weigh his experience and trial by fire down through the years as slightly more valuable.

MORE 2/16/08

Obama's a real knock-out it seems. That would never get old, eh?


Everyone's asking for specifics--Obama delivers an economic plan. [via Hot Air.] There are a few head-scratchers:
Create Fund to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures: In addition to taking important steps to prevent mortgage fraud from occurring in the future, Barack Obama will establish policies to help Americans currently facing foreclosure through no fault of their own. For instance, in communities where there are many foreclosures property values of innocent homeowners are often also negatively impacted, driving them toward foreclosure, too.
I'm no financial genius, but if someone owns a house financed with a solid, fixed-rate 30 year mortgage how does their neighbor's foreclosure affect their loan? And, if they were desperate or dumb enough to get a variable rate, how does their neighbor's foreclosure affect that loan? Surely I've missed something.

He mentioned being against the Bankruptcy Bill of 2005, which was hammered as a screw-job to the little peeps by bloggers and financial experts like Dave Ramsey. Others disagreed, including Republican purist Ron Paul, believing the bill would foster accountability and living within means.

Obama's financial plan also includes this winner:
The tax code is supposed to encourage home ownership with a mortgage interest deduction, but it goes only to people who itemize their tax deductions. Like so much in our tax code, this tilts the scales toward the well-off.
Well off? We started itemizing the first year we got a mortgage after comparing the 1040A, EZ, and long forms. Doesn't everyone?

Later he seems to explain why:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated in 2004 that it took more than 28 hours for an individual to complete his/her tax filing, and that half of the taxpayers filing the “easy” forms ended up paying a tax preparer to do it for them.
Cripes. We're really in trouble. He goes on to suggest the IRS could do the tax forms and have people just sign and return. Something creepy about that. While it makes sense for people with little income or those not intelligent enough to understand a 1040EZ form, it's mainly an attack on accountants, something sure to win favor with the masses, at least the ones who aren't accountants. I'd prefer a flat tax, which stands the same chance as Congress building the border fence or giving up earmarks.

As to college education:
This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover twothirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university
Sounds great, in a sort of David Copperfield way. The mirrors are there somewhere.

As to retirement,
Even when workers are given the option of joining employer-based plans, many do not take up the option because it requires considerable work to research plans and investment portfolios, and enroll in the plan. Barack Obama’s retirement security plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan
No, many don't because they'd rather blow money by getting credit cards and homes and toys they can't afford, and Obama seems to want to help them do more of that. Yes, real income is down with gas prices up, but all of us--present company included--could probably prioritize better. Where is the incentive for that? No need--Barack will do it for us. He's the super nanny!

The more I read, the less "hope" I have for the future of America.

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