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Why Obama? It's Morale, stupid.

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam

Submitted by JDH (United States), Sep 2, 2008 at 15:21

It wouldn't matter to me if Barack Obama were Muslim. First off, he is not. He is a member of the United Church of Christ. The remarks of Reverend Wright notwithstanding, it is a denomination every bit as respectable as any other. Secondly, while I admire John McCain as both a person and a politician, how is he going to be able to improve the morale of the United States in his first term (assumming that he survives it, given his age). For his part, he would have made an excellent president had he not gotten screwed over in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary.

Considering the lack of experience of his VP candidate, Sarah Palin, he no longer has the foreign policy advantage over Obama, who was smart enough to select a six-term Senator with lots of foreign policy experience (Think about it: what if, two years from now, McCain went to bed and didn't wake up...Then what!). McCain just lost his best sticking point. He'd have done better to try to come across as the national security candidate, as opposed to being so desperate to appease the Pat Robertsons, John Hagees, and Time LaHayes of the world. McCain would have done better to select a candidate like Tom Ridge, Colin Powell, or Mitt Romney. He failed to, and Obama made a wise move in selecting just the right candidate, someone who has a comparable level of experience to McCain himself.

Indeed, Biden's nomination has boosted my confidence in Barack Obama through the roof. Moreover, Americans as a whole probably would not care if Obama were Muslim. Americans are worried about healthcare, the economy, security, and also protecting their homes from foreclosure. Perhaps John McCain could do all of the above. Yet, I doubt that even John McCain could lift American morale out of its present abyssal hellhole. Typically, when things go bad, the other party wins. These are the lessons of Hoover, Carter, Johnson, Bush I, and others. John McCain will have a difficult enough time escaping the party label as it is, independent-minded though he may be.

I honestly do not think that the Republican party, in its present stance, understands just how bad morale is. I think this owes to the fact that the party has been in power in the oval office since 2001; not to the nature of the party. Consequently, the Republicans deserve to lose the election for the following reasons (in no particular order):

1) The response to Katrina

2) The mishandling of (not necessarily the invasions of) Iraq and Afghanistan; we should have had 500,000 or MORE troops in Iraq in 2003; NOT 100,000. And yes, it could have been done without conscription. Our army is that big and that powerful. We also should have protected all the historical sites, rather than just the oil industry.

3) The failure to push for adequate healthcare reforms (not a socialized system, but a not-for-profit, privitized one, like that in Japan and Germany); it seems like so many people are spending their life's savings just to get cancer treatments...so much for the American Dream. Think about it: how would you like to work hard for forty years, play by the rules, get cancer, and lose everything because your HMO refuses to cover you (and leaving you with $200,000 worth of medical bills to pay OUT OF POCKET)...Just thinking about that prospect should make you want to break something.

4) The reckless encouragement and acceptance of easy credit; ANY economist with half a brain knew that the bubble was going to burst. How could they be stupid enough to make home ownership government policy (unless they had enough money to put in safeguards)?

5) Expanding the size of government tremendously, in great contrast to the stance of the party; my father is actually paying even more taxes now than he was in 2000...so much for tax reform.

6) Worrying more about abortion and gay marriage than international security and economic issues; What good is a "culture of life" if enough Americans wish that they were dead?

7) Letting Pakistan blow up in anarchy

8) Countless other reasons

I am from an upper-class family living in one of the most ridiculously expensive areas of the country. I am educated, have a job, and very few worries compared to most other young adults. Yet, an Obama victory would be as meaningful for me as it would be for the average American. Everywhere I look, I see dreary, miserable people, and I have had enough. I see people moaning about gas and food prices. I hear friends worry about how long they will have no medical insurance. I read about people committing suicide due to home foreclosures. Even among the upper and upper-middle classes, we have had enough. Hence, we stand in solidarity with the working American.

My father, once a staunch McCain supporter, is now voting for Obama. For me, Barack Obama represents the future. He represents hope, much as FDR did for Americans in 1932 (and as Ronald Reagan did in 1980). Maybe we can restore the notion that the American Dream lives. Maybe you don't have to go into bankruptcy because of an illness that your HMO won't cover. Maybe you don't have to drop out of college because you can't afford it. Maybe we can restore Iraq and Afghanistan without fleeing. Maybe you can be able to retire comfortably without being a multi-millionaire, thanks to a pension plan that you can count on. Maybe we won't have to walk on eggshells around Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia for their oil anymore. Maybe (and probably), a re-mobilized, re-vitalized American public can, in turn, raise the morale of American soldiers as they fight terrorism and tyranny abroad (I'm sure that Barack knows that we'll be in Iraq for a very long time). Whether or not Barack Obama wins the election of 2008, he has a lot of chances to create the America that we all envision: the powerful, resilient, optomistic America of the late 1930s and 1940s (AND SOLUTIONS SHOULD COME FROM THE BOTTOM-UP, RATHER THAN TOP-DOWN, AS THEY DID IN FDR'S TIME). In one way or another, the future belongs to him.

If our domestic policy does not breed success, neither will our foreign policy. In order for us to win wars for reform against totalitarianism abroad, we must fight our own wars for reform and justice at home. You don't have to agree with me, but in reading this response, I want you to consider the following:

1) Do you have a mortgage to pay?

2) Do you have kids to put through college?

3) Have you been denied health coverage for any reason (or been screwed over by an HMO)?

4) Do you really think that if morale is low here, Americans will really want to confront a nuclear-armed Pakistan and/or Iran? Couldn't the cost of such reluctance be disastrous?

5) What would it be like to get back to the optomism and resilisency of World War II?

6) Do you REALLY worry so much about your candidate's religious beliefs, or is there something else that you are afraid of?

7) To quote Ronald Reagan: "Are you really better off than you were four (or eight) years ago?"

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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