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Thread: A world of problems await the winner

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default A world of problems await the winner

    A wise continental scholar pointed out to me once that English is the only European language in which three distinct words have evolved from the Greek root politika: politics, policy and polity. French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian all make do with a single word - politique, politik or politica - to describe the personal rivalries that drive the political process, the effects of political action, and the institutional framework within which politics operates. In English, by contrast, we have a vocabulary that encourages people to distinguish between the ideals and action plans represented by competing parties and the skulduggeries and rivalries of individual politicians. In fact, we are lucky enough in English to have even a fourth word for this: politicking.

    I don't know whether this linguistic abundance has been a cause or a consequence of the relative stability of democratic institutions in the Anglo-Saxon world. But I do know that the focus of America's presidential election, which has so far been entirely on politicking and politics, will now shift towards policy and polity.

    The ideological differences in this election are quite stark. Just because both parties have managed to select nominees who are intelligent, high-principled and well meaning, it does not follow that a victory for either candidate will be an equally benign outcome for the world and America.

    There are at least four policy battles in this election where the rest of the world will have an enormous stake. First and foremost there is national security and the Middle East, specifically the attitude to bombing Iran; secondly, the credit crunch and housing crisis; thirdly, the oil shock, energy independence and climate change; and fourthly, America's role in globalisation and free trade.

    Let me begin with the last three economic issues. With regard to housing and the credit crunch, Barack Obama has called for bigger government programmes to buy delinquent mortgages and prevent borrowers from losing their homes through foreclosure. John McCain has stuck firmly to free-market orthodoxy, insisting that irresponsible borrowing should not be underwritten or rewarded by taxpayers and that housing assistance programmes should only be enacted if they are self-financing.

    In the short term, Mr McCain's position is likely to prove politically unsustainable and economically misjudged. If housing markets continue to deteriorate, as they almost surely will, more short-term government intervention will be required. This should not be ruled out by a dogmatic faith in market forces that have, in this case, quite obviously failed.

    Taking a longer view, however, many voters may be impressed by Mr McCain's fiscal rectitude and will want a free-spending Democratic Congress constrained by a Republican president. If Mr Obama has any sense, he will be very careful not to overdo his rhetoric about recession and the government spending needed to clear up the mess left behind by President Bush.

    Trade poses a similar challenge to Mr Obama. The protectionist anti-globalisation rhetoric that he needed for the Democratic nomination may well help to win support in the short term, but it raises some big risks. What the Democratic establishment does not yet seem to have understood is that, as a result of the housing slump and devaluation of the dollar, US growth is now almost entirely export-driven and will continue that way for years to come.

    Free trade is now more in the interests of American workers than ever before. Protectionist policies will not just frighten economically sophisticated voters. They will also act against the interests of blue-collar Americans - a point that may not be lost even on the unionised workers at internationally competitive companies such as Caterpillar, Boeing and even, these days, General Motors and US Steel.

    On energy and climate change, Mr Obama and Mr McCain do share common objectives, but their contrasting views about government activism and taxes suggest that even in this area, America's future policies will depend critically on who wins the election on November 4.

    The biggest issue between the candidates, however, is foreign policy and here the contrast between the candidates is truly stark. So far, most attention has focused on the contrast between their rhetoric about Iraq: at one extreme, Mr McCain's misreported comments about keeping American troops there for 100 years; at the other Mr Obama's hints at unconditional withdrawal within six months. In reality, both candidates would be seriously constrained by events on the ground. The much more serious difference is actually over Iran.

    Mr Obama's approach is to try to draw Iran into the community of nations, even if it remains under its present extremist leadership. To try to bring this about, he has expressed his willingness to consider direct negotiations, along the lines of Henry Kissinger's rapprochement with China.

    Mr McCain, by contrast, outspokenly supports the Bush Administration's policy of ostracising Iran. He wants, if anything, to tighten both economic sanctions and reinforce the country's pariah status. Mr McCain has endorsed President Bush's accusation that talking to America's enemies is comparable to the prewar policy of appeasing Hitler. More specifically, Mr McCain has pointedly refused to dissociate himself from threats to bomb Iran if it continues with its nuclear programmes and seems as gung-ho about the persuasive power of US military action as President Bush.

    Such is the passion of Mr McCain's anti-Iran rhetoric that some informed observers in Washington believe a bombing campaign against Iran could be the “October surprise” that Republican strategists are planning to swing the election in their favour if polling points to a Democrat victory. The idea would be to present the war hero McCain as the best man to lead America at a time of military danger.

    Mr Obama, if he was reluctant in his support of a pre-election bombing, could be presented as a muddle-headed peacenik. And what if he denounced military action? Mr Obama could then stand accused of insufficient patriotism or even outright treason. His campaign would then come crashing down to a McGovern-style landslide defeat.

    That is the nightmare scenario for what should be a dream election. But maybe my friends in America who speculate along these lines are taking their cynicism too far. Even in the language of Washington there is, after all, a difference between politics, policy and polity. Let us hope that John McCain's self-evident respect for the American polity transcends the Republican Party's desire to win the game of politics at any cost.

    World problems for the White House | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Im sorry, any allusion to a "Free spendigng democrat" after the last, ridiculous 8 years of trillion dollar debts, wars, and massive government growth just makes me laugh.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    No shit.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Bush was spending like a drunken sailor on leave...

    But Dems are known as the tax and spend party.....That's something they'll have to get past....People have been hearing that for so long, that what Bush did isn't enough to change the impression given by the party as a whole.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I know, and it's ridiculous. Repukes have consistently spent more every time they've gotten into office.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i will concede that mccain isn't as retarded as bush when it comes to domestic issues, but once you get to the part about foreign policy... jesus christ, how can you even justify that kind of thinking that has been proven wrong, time and time again? it's that kind of disastrous foreign policy that has contributed in great part to the crappy geo-political situation we find ourselves in today, and yet they refuse to even consider the idea that just maybe their misguided policies DON'T WORK.
    american foreign policy under democrats has been mostly shitty too but it's fucking brilliant compared to how republicans view the world.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    McSame's economic policy is a carbon copy of bush's.. more tax cuts, more 'deregulation' and 'let business police itself' nonsense that destroyed the economy and ripped apart the middle class
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Im sorry, any allusion to a "Free spendigng democrat" after the last, ridiculous 8 years of trillion dollar debts, wars, and massive government growth just makes me laugh.
    I agree. And most conservatives would as well. There is absolutely no way that Bush is a fiscal conservative. You don't cut taxes and spend, spend, spend. I look at all the ridiculous pork that was added to the Medicare overhaul bill and it makes me sick. And while I admire the money to Africa, why the hell give the money to a continent that has no fucking clue what to do with the money they're given? I would given a third of what he did, and used the rest for American citizens in some way.

    Then there's the money to the UN. Screw the UN. Its run by a bunch of criminals anyway.

    The list goes on and on (and yeah, I KNOW you're thinking what about Iraq. Let's not go there, k?).

    When it comes to being a fiscal conservative, tax cuts doth not a conservative make. Bush's spending is a HUGE reason why he's lost lots of conservative support, and another reason why many conservative won't support McCain. He's just as bad.

    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Bush was spending like a drunken sailor on leave...

    But Dems are known as the tax and spend party.....That's something they'll have to get past....People have been hearing that for so long, that what Bush did isn't enough to change the impression given by the party as a whole.
    Very true. Guarantee if a Dem is elected, we'll all pay more taxes for more stupid government programs so lazy ass people can get free shit. The fostering of the entitlement culture/generation will continue.

    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkdgirl View Post
    Very true. Guarantee if a Dem is elected, we'll all pay more taxes for more stupid government programs so lazy ass people can get free shit. The fostering of the entitlement culture/generation will continue.

    That's the area where I disagree with the Dems.....I can't stand the hand out mentality. I was raised in a culture where you don't ask for help, you do what's required to take care of yourself and your family.

    My family came here from a place where the government exploited people and kept them down, so when my family came here, the thought of getting help from the government never occured to them.

    Never mind the fact that there were no social programs at that time in our history. You worked or starved.

    I know that there are certain programs that handle dire cases.....and there should be. But for the most part, I find they take people's ability to become productive away.

    I respect anyone that works and does what they can- and when the working poor need a hand I'm all for it

    But for the lazy bastards waiting for a handout, or free rides, no. I resent that my taxes go to give them anything.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Would you rather have your taxes go to fighting wars that didn't need to be fought?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    No, I would not......

    but either way I don't like what they're being used for.

    I would like to see a common sense approach to government spending. It'll never happen, but it would be nice.

    I'm also not all gung-ho on national health care. I know it works well in other countries, but none of our government programs work well enough (and none in my lifetime have) to make me want to trust my government with my healthcare.

    I think about it when I'm at the DMV....do I really want people like this handling my insurance? Scary....

    Our history under liberal dems (not moderates), is a huge amount of welfare money, social programs, low cost housing and wasted money spent on lazy people who feel entitled and sit around while the government takes care of them.

    While the working poor and lower middle class suffer, and aren't entitled to these things. They reward the wastes, and give nothing to people trying to help themselves. I lived through the 70's once.......
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    That's the area where I disagree with the Dems.....I can't stand the hand out mentality. I was raised in a culture where you don't ask for help, you do what's required to take care of yourself and your family.

    My family came here from a place where the government exploited people and kept them down, so when my family came here, the thought of getting help from the government never occured to them.

    Never mind the fact that there were no social programs at that time in our history. You worked or starved.

    I know that there are certain programs that handle dire cases.....and there should be. But for the most part, I find they take people's ability to become productive away.

    I respect anyone that works and does what they can- and when the working poor need a hand I'm all for it

    But for the lazy bastards waiting for a handout, or free rides, no. I resent that my taxes go to give them anything.
    Oh I COMPLETELY agree! The US gov't is responsible for fostering three generations of an entitlement culture, with each one getting more and more demanding, and more and more lazy. Its easier to get something for nothing than it is to earn it.

    From personal experience, the high unemployment rates of the 70s hit my family hard. We were eligible for gov't assistance, free school lunches, food stamps, etc. And there was no way in hell that was going to happen because as long as my mom was able, she was going to work. And do anything she could to provide for her family. She took a job as a cleaning lady. Then in 1980, she got a factory job and worked there until she retired. Not once did she every rely on the government because she knew she was capable of taking care of herself and her family.

    We have done nothing in this country to end this crap. Anytime anyone mentions 'welfare reform', people go batshit crazy and think benefits will get cut. And maybe they should. Because there ARE jobs out there. Now, even with unemployment at 5.5% (which, during the Clinton years was considered a booming economy), jobs are still out there. But pride and sense of entitlement stops most recipients from even considering a job at McDonalds. Or working hard physical labor in the fields, etc. And guess who takes those jobs? Illegals.

    Its all bullshit. And I'm tired of my tax dollars going to lazy ass mother fuckers who sit on their sofa playing Mario Brothers on a playstation MY tax dollars funded!!!!

    End of rant.

    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Uh hello? there's 2 wars going on that have bled your treasury dry and have cost more than freakin medicare and welfare combined! Why doesnt anybody acknowledge that?

    Yes, welfare bums need to be kicked off. A strong social (eek!) safety net should be well funded, but also WELL POLICED. Right now it's not policed at all, there's no teeth to any rules.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Of course I acknowledge the war and what it's costing....I want it to stop...

    But I am opposed to idiotic gov spending in all it's forms.

    I would really like to see a good sensible economic policy. It would be a miracle if someone that had one got past the first round of the primaries here in the US.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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