Ellimem, this is for you.
This is in response to Ellimem's blog, "Obama, Change You Can Believe In." I realize I'm probably one of the few people on this site that disagrees with you, so I know I'm out numbered. Many of you are so ensconced in your beliefs, that I know my words will change very few minds, if any. That being said, I feel like I can not stand idlely by and not give my 2 cents. I respect Ellimem because he makes valid points, and articulates them in a way that can be clearly understood. All I ask for is some respect and consideration in return. So before you all get the red ass and slam me, read what I have to say, and consider it for what it is without the predisposed bias so deeply rooted within you. What I'm going to say next will shock some of you that know my opinions, but I actually voted for McCain in 2000. I was only seventeen at the time, but since my birthday was before the November election, I could legally vote in the primaries. I was first registered as a Republican, then switched to Democrat after Bush won the primaries and have stayed with that party since. The only reason I'm not voting for McCain this time around is because he has rolled over. He is not the same man he was 8 years ago, and I knew that before I had ever heard of Barack Obama.
Ellimem, you asked us to define what "Change" means, and since I'm one of the few people blogging on this site that makes a regular effort to try and clearly articulate my ideas, I feel I have to be the one who answers your challenge. Before I go into this issue by issue, let me first say that one of your premises is wrong. As you correctly point out, some of Barack's ideas are standard liberal ideas. Others are original, and NOT standard liberal ideas. Either way, it is "change" in the sense that it is different from the Republican policies that currently run Washington and have been doing so for the past 8 years. Yes, the Dems now control congress, and I will be the first to admit that they have accomplished very little since they took control in 2006. But nevertheless, a Democratic president would obviously be a "change" from what he have now. As for it being a "change" in the way Washington is run in general, both liberal and conservative, he has his "inexperience" in Washington. The amount of time he has spent in Washington is fondly noted by conservatives as a negative, a premise to their conclusion that he is therefore incapable of being a great leader. It is for this same reason that I believe he would be an excellent leader. He has not been tarnished by the money machines and lobbyist. Hillary has the health insurance companies in her pockets (#2 in contributions out of the 100 in the senate), so do you think she REALLY wants to provide affordable health care for everyone and put Humana out of buisness? http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/12/news/newsmakers/healthcare_clinton/index.htm McCain has big oil in his pocket. Do you think the REALLY wants to invest in green jobs that would under cut Exxon and Halliburtion? http://mccainsource.com/corruption?id=0014 Has Obama taken money from lobbyists? Yes, but it is significantly dwarfed compared to the amount taken by his rivals in Washington. Go to this website, where every senator is listed and see how bought off the senator in YOUR state is http://www.cleanupwashington.org/sii/sii_rankings.cfm?CAT=s . We need someone in office that isn't working for special interest groups. Someone who doesn't "owe" anything to any corperation, but to the American people, not the American businesses that lined their pockets. A President that when he wakes up in the morning, his thoughts are on the little people who put him in power, not on the corperations that put him in power. That is a "change" that Washington desperately needs. The founding fathers wanted this to be a country of the people and for the people, not a country for the corperations.
So... I've been rambling about "change" in a broad sense. Let me get to specifics. I'm going to format the rest of this blog so that I will state the way things are currently, then contrast it with the "change" Obama plans to make once elected. There are dozens of issues, and I could go into every one of them, but I seriously doubt most of the readers on eBaum's have read my blog this far, so in the interest of making this concise, I will stick to three of the main ones.
The Way it is Now- 50 Million Americans do not have health insurance or health care. This includes approximately 10 million children. Health Insurance companies (Hillary's best friends) have forced premiums to rise at 4 times the rate of the salary of the average working American in the past 6 years, making it increasingly more difficult for people to afford health insurance.
The Change- Obama plans to sign into law by the end of his first term, a universal affordable health care plan that will provide every American, including those that are self-employed and run small business, with affordable health insurance. The plan is based off the same one your congressman has. Every single American can not be denied coverage and will lower premiums an average of $1,500 per household.
The Way it is Now- For the first time in decades, our country is experiencing rapid inflation. While the average income per American household remains stagnant, the cost of basic necessities, like gas, groceries, and energy bills continue to rise. College tuition costs have risen 35% in the past 5 years. The average savings rate for Americans is at the lowest it's been since The Great Depression. Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts (Which McCain first opposed in 2001, then rolled over and supported in 2003, and now wants to make permanent!) gives tax cuts 160 times greater to people earning over $1 million dollars a year than those in the middle class. (Side note: I understand, and have no problem with the Republican concept "what you earn is what you keep", but when the millionaires that make up the wealthiest 1% of our country enjoy tje luxury of paying a fraction of the percentage of taxes that someone making $30,000 a years does... that is NOT fair, it is just simple robbery.)
The Change- Obama's "Making Work Pay" program will provide a $500 tax credit for every worker in the U.S., and a $1,000 credit for each working family household. In addition to that, he will provide a $1,000 credit to every American household to help cover energy costs. Obama will also simplify tax filing by allowing the IRS to use the information it alrerady has on file from banks and employers. Millions of americans will be able to review, sign and return their tax forms saving an estimated $2 Billion dollars a year in tax preparer fees.
The Obama plan also includes long-term govenment sponsored training, education and development in the American workforce to promote the green technologies that our country will inevitablely depend on in the future. American workers will have the skills and tools to be at the forefront of the future. Other countries will be looking to us for enegry answers decades from now, instead of the other way around. We will simultaneously lower our dependance on foreign and domestic oil (McCain's buddies), and strengthen our economy at the same time.
The Way it is Now- In short: A Cluster-Fuck Extraodinaire. By the time the war is over and it's aftermath, we will have spent over 2 Trillion dollars on this mess, that's over 30% of our total national debt. To date we have lost over 4,000 American lives, and 60,000 wounded, in a conflict that has lasted longer than the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Despite this extraordinary loss, we are less safe today than we were before the war as global terrorism has risen since the invasion.
(Side note: Before any of you cream your pants and start rattling off death tolls of the 3 wars I mentioned to compare it to the "small" number of troop deaths in Iraq, consider this; what is the value of 4,000 lives to you? What is the value of a single one of those lives if it was one of your brothers, fathers, or mothers? To try to dismiss the value of 4,000 lives by comparing it to the death toll of another war is disgraceful and disgusting. A life is a life, and to try to minimize the value of one in a group by comparing it to a larger number is just sick. No one should die because of a mistake, and I don't care what any of you say, this war was a horrible mistake. A very close friend of mine from high school died in February of 2005. A land mine blew his recon vehicle into a raviene and he drowned. The other 4 soldiers escaped.)
The Change- Obama plans to bring our troops home within 16 months of taking office. He will do this by forcing the leaders of Iraq (al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, also wants the US out within 16 months) to take responsibility of their own police, military, and infrastructure. He will withdraw brigades as recomended by the Generals on the ground, and slowly ween us off this unending war. If McCain and Bush had their way, we would stay in Iraq until the end of time.
I could keep going with this but I'm too tired, I have to get some sleep. If anyone wants specifics on an issue PM me and I will be glad to answer the best I can. Sorry about the spelling, I didn't have time to spell check or proof-read.
To Ellimem, I hope I was able to answer your question, at least to some extent. Now I want you to answer a question for me:
What exactly, does "winning" in Iraq mean? What is the criteria that determines "winning" and how would we recognize the fact that we "won" in Iraq?