Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is this funny?

Go to
to see a discussion of Barak and Hillary's position on Walmart in Peru and a free trade agreement.

Obama or Clinton? Iowa or Bust.

In recent days, the race in Iowa for Democratic contender for President is tightening up between Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama appears to be ahead. John Edwards is not far behind. Hillary has faulted Obama by pointing out that the fact he lived abroad, in Indonesia, when he was a child is not evidence of foreign policy experience. Barak fired back by saying something like which one of us voted the right way on the War in Iraq and that he never equated living abroad as evidence of foreign policy expertise. Personally, I do not think Hillary did herself any good taking Obama to task on this issue. It seems just plain petty and defensive though I understand the logic in what she is saying.

When I listened to the Dem debate led by Wolf Blitzer from CNN last week, I felt that Hillary made more good points on some issues and looked stronger than Barak, for instance, her rasing the question of how Obama planned to finance his national health care plan by raising taxes (on the top 6% of income earners) on groups of seemingly high earners i.e. firefighters and police who sometimes in some regions fall into the 98,000 a year bracket. These are usually in areas that have high costs i.e. California. Hillary pointed out how she is backed by firefighters union and the like that would be against such a plan. I thought Hillary's quick evaluation of Barak's plan showed she can think on her feet and make points not that easy to explain in a sound bite. The implication seemed to be we should focus on the really rich and leave the middle class alone when it comes to raising taxes.

On the other hand, Barak appears to be getting a very positive response from many senior (over 65 crowd) Democrats living in Iowa as well as young people (under 25). These groups are swayed by Barak's growing reputation as appearing more honest and open than Hillary and more convincing as someone who cares about their interests.

Barak did not make points with the LGBT community several weeks ago when he had a "convert to straightness", a former Gay man who I think is a reverend following Barakand seaking at his campaign stops in S. Carolina. Not sure what to make of this development though it appeared Barak backed away from this connection in a public statement he made on the topic. Barak has mentioned that Oprah Winfrey will help him campaign in Iowa and if that happens I would suspect he will nail quite a few votes down with her help.

The Republicans campaigning for President i.e. Guiliani says only good things about Obama because I think he wants Obama to be his main contender and think that if he is the public will not vote Obama into office. It is a way of using the race card in a backhanded kind of way. No way to really predict the outcome in Iowa and what the outcome will mean in the long run. At this point, I remain an observer knowing I will vote for any Democrat who takes the lead in the end. It would be great to have the first African American President and great to have the first Woman President. I do think Hillary is obviously more experienced though not liberal enough for my taste and too ready to compromise with the Republicans on many issues though she keeps on demonstrating that the other party is not going away any time soon and so compromise is the only way to get anything done i.e. health care or reforming social security.

The more bad news we hear about Bush and his evil co-conspirators in the Valerie Plame affair and the War in Iraq decision, the more Hillary may look as though she has been weak in not attacking Bush or asking for his impeachment, although Barak has not done this either as far as I know. Hillary can continue to raise the fact that she was a victim of a Republican witch-hunt. Not sure how that will play. I am also afraid as the first Black man in office that Obama will lean over backwards to look and act like middle "white" America to the nth degree. He already has done this. At least, Barak has no baggage like Hillary has to carry into the White House with him. The question for me Is Barak ready to lead? I think Hillary is. What a dilemma!!

I hope whoever wins will put an end to the demagogery and move toward a police state that has taken hold in America since and even before 9/11. Both Obama and Clinton claim they will put this country on the right path. This won't happen if either one tries to prove they are more patriotic or more interested in security and fighting the boogeyman "terrorism" than any other contender. I think Hillary does this more than Obama. Obama says he will use diplomacy to solve problems and not stand on ceremony which Hillary implies she will do with States i.e. Iran and Korea. Edwards has been critical of this security conscious I am stronger than anyone else approach and I applaud him for that. Someone has to get off the merry go round and march to the right. Not sure the major two Dem contenders are up for it but we have to make them do it for our sake. Keep driving home the point, we want this country to abide by the rules the founding fathers created which puts checks and balances on tyrants and those who would fail to follow the principles of democratic governance.

Sharon Raphael