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Say No to McBama and Incumbents PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 02:23

The two major contenders for the 2008 election are experience (McCain) versus inexperience (Obama). Obama's inexperience is disturbing in that he appears to have disregarded the elected seats he occupied to continue climbing the political ladder. Once elected, he effected little, if any, change. Obama's political career is one of meteoric trajectory from an obscure Illinois legislator to a short-lived U.S. Senator (only two years into his six-year term before he hit the presidential campaign trail) to the Democratic nominee for president with a very good chance of winning the highest office in the land - all with nothing backing his eligibility except good communication skills and nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.

I believe that Obama's handlers read the country's need for change very well. He adopted the two slogans of "Hope" and "Change" and he was instantly electable, which explains the Democratic leadership's attraction to him. By staying on this message during a time of collapsing confidence in the Bush administration, Obama transformed his candidacy into a symbol of hope and change that Americans are desperately seeking.

Sadly, Obama is just that - a symbol, and nothing more, at least according to his record. He has contributed precious little to the political landscape, and accomplished virtually nothing in the eight years of his watch. This is evidenced by only three of his bills passing in the Illinois Senate, where he declined to cast a decisive vote 130 times, instead declaring "present" as a means of avoiding accountability for legislation that may prove detrimental to his future candidacies. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has only passed one bill. What part of this feeble participation suggests any ability to lead? His record more accurately reflects a self-serving political agenda that similarly characterizes the deficient Congress we are currently saddled with, and certainly reflects the antithesis of change, let alone hope.

On the other hand, McCain's experience in Congress for 22 years makes him a major contributor to the ethically anemic legislature that has brought us to this terrible place in history. Ironically, he was investigated during the S&L bailout in the '80s and exonerated by his peers. However, his close ties to the primary culprits of that fiasco, while not criminal, are also an indictment of his character by way of his associations.

That is not to say that experience automatically equals leadership. McCain has passed numerous bills during his tenure, claiming himself a maverick of reform. He cites his sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance-reform bill to his detriment. That bill did absolutely nothing to reform campaign finance, evidenced by the unprecedented and obscene $1 billion for this 2008 election. In fact, this bill further impeded third-party candidates from running and seriously undermined the First Amendment relative to activism.

The same can be said of Obama's past affiliations. While not criminal, they too cast a shadow over his competence as leader of the free world. More importantly, his deliberate deception about several of these associations completely undercuts his credibility.

And while there is no question that McCain showed exemplary courage during his captivity, he demonstrated an equal amount of recklessness in his crashing airplanes five different times during his naval service.

Most important is not how these two candidates are different, but how they are alike. This was demonstrated clearly in their rush to Congress to exert their considerable influence to pass the $700-billion bailout, with no due diligence. Obama's largest contributors are Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Goldman Sachs. Warren Buffet is one of his financial advisors, who bought equities in the institutions receiving bailouts. The ties cannot be ignored and still claim Obama as an agent of change.

Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his VP is further evidence of a fundamental sameness. Biden has been in Congress for 30-plus years. There are few senators that have that kind of ongoing longevity as a lawmaker, or culpability for the self-serving, corrupt entity that Congress has become. If Obama really meant business with regard to change, the last person he would choose would be Biden, who embodies an entrenched legislature incapable of change.

Palin's inexperience in governance makes McCain's selection of her as VP also highly suspect. For a self-proclaimed maverick herself, she has stepped in line to a beat that is as far from reform as Biden is close to the status quo. It is wholesale hypocrisy at its zenith.

Both candidates make promises they simply can't or won't keep. They had better opportunities to advance the causes they claim are most important to them, such as health-care reform, while they were in the Senate, but did nothing. No president can implement the lofty programming each is promising without Congress, so to claim otherwise is disingenuous. And even if either candidate could, once elected, influence Congress to pass such legislation, it is unfundable at this juncture. So at the end of the day, all this campaign talk is cheap deception.

So why do we Americans abdicate our political instincts, knowing that our vote has real power and thus can wield enough influence during elections to exact the kind of change we demand? Instead we redraw the line a little further back each time, giving up our collective political will to the smoothest talker. Have we devolved so far into apathy and civic impotence that we deliver up our vote unchallenged to the candidates' repetitive sound bites? And when did it become acceptable to tolerate outright lies and deliberate deception from our presidents and presidential candidates? Overlooking such deception from the country's highest office has cost us world respect, and obviously our civic self-respect. Lies invariably indicate innate cowardice. Accepting such conduct absolves our leaders from moral accountability. Their arrogance is infused with disrespect/disdain toward voters for accepting the transgressions in the first place.

And why do we allow our political debates to be controlled by the two major parties that couldn't care less about Americans, but whose single-minded agenda is to elect one of two parties' (Republican or Democrat) candidates. Do not think for a minute that these two parties represent different ideologies. If that were true, the Republicans would have denounced the Bush Administration years ago, and the Democrats would have withdrawn support from the Barney Franks of the world.

Republicans and Democrats have quietly merged into one party. They conspire behind the scenes to keep each other in control at the expense of third-party candidates and alternative voices. The leadership of these parties deliberately perpetuates the notions of difference to keep Americans opposing each other at the polls, and their eyes off the real ball. This ensures the status quo and so far it has worked like a charm.

Voters need to shake things up in a meaningful way by voting the incumbent senators and representatives out of office. Elect the challengers to the campaigns wherever possible. This will not only send the strongest possible message that we've had enough, but it replaces legislators who ignore us with ones who have a mandate to do something different - implement real "change." If we reelect the incumbents, we are sending an endorsement of their leadership, and a clear message that we accept the current state of things, including the economy, and do not want anything to change.

As for the presidential election, there are third-party candidates on the ballot - some liberal, some conservative. Voting for a third-party candidate, such as the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Peace & Freedom Party, is in no way a wasted vote. In order for these independent third parties to be on any state's next general election's ballot (2012), they must win 2 to 5 percent of the vote in the previous general election (2008). Therefore, by voting for a third-party candidate, you are helping to ensure that third parties are represented and available for candidacy in the next election. This is critically important and hardly a waste of your vote. In fact, under the current political circumstances, I would say casting a third-party vote would be considered a supremely patriotic act.


Say Yes to Michael Elliott for Auditor

Which brings me to our one and only three-way local race, the Scott County auditor, between Republican Steve Ahrens, Democrat Roxanna Moritz, and independent Michael Elliot.

Jeff Ignatius summed it up best in last week's Reader: "Put simply, he's [Elliott has] turned a campaign that was bound to be about personality and party into one about issues and political philosophy."

Scott County citizens are fortunate that Elliott even got into the race as the independent candidate. His two opponents are quintessential examples of "perpetuating the myth" as viable candidates for a position that requires stewardship, not partisanship.

And if previous outcomes during Moritz's and Ahrens' terms as aldermen on Davenport's city council are any indication, then we can expect the auditor's office to be ruled by partisanship and/or incompetence, should either of them win the race.

Elliott is the only candidate to take voting integrity seriously and not to take our current paper-ballot system for granted. Despite his opponents' unified efforts to cast Elliott's stance on protecting voting integrity in Scott County as irrelevant, Elliott has persevered and taken a committed stand on keeping previous auditor Karen Fitzsimmons' legacy for clean, successful elections intact by maintaining a paper-ballot system despite huge pressure from her own Democratic party.

To educate citizens about the threats to freedom without a paper ballot system, Elliott has been hosting free film screenings in libraries of the gripping documentary Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections.

Paper ballots are the central topic relative to the current election and its successful tabulation. Numerous counties are struggling with myriad new mandated voting systems, especially computerized ones. Not only are these systems inaccurate and faulty, and they have questionable programming, but there are no reliable remedies for verifying votes or for recounting votes by precinct, county, state, etc. Just examine Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, or any other state that has reported voting nightmares in the past two elections.

With the unprecedented vote expected next Tuesday, Elliott's knowledge of, and commitment to, the continued use of paper ballots, including a post-election-audit policy, is monumentally reassuring. He demonstrates a keen sense of respect for the current staff in the auditor's office. His passion for the constitutionally protected right to vote should inspire confidence on the par of Scott County voters that is unmatched by his opponents.

Elliott is a refreshing choice in that as the independent candidate he has no political baggage. Moritz and Ahrens are rife with it and owe allegiances that will not serve Scott County citizens. This office is best served by a neutral auditor, certainly not by someone so entrenched in local partisan politics to the degree that defines both Ahrens and Moritz. These two candidates are career politicians or political appointees, whichever pays better. And partisanship is the only thing that distinguishes their careers, evidenced by the various offices they have each run for over the past decade. As their records will attest, both Moritz and Ahrens supported special interests at the expense of taxpayers, from improper use of tax-increment financing for urban sprawl to fast-tracking the boondoggle riverfront casino development deal that never materialized. And Moritz has a history of vindictively firing public employees, evidenced by the ordeal with city attorney Mike Meloy as one example.

Elliott has the background in management at big-box retail stores that is more than sufficient to serve as the steward of an office with fewer than 10 staffers. He is an entrepreneur and small-business owner, so he understands the needs of the customer/voter/taxpayer/resident come first. His passion for constitutional law and the history of the role of government in our lives will bring a perspective to the political dialogue in Scott County that is desperately needed both here and nationwide. His ideas to increase the transparency in Scott County finance reporting may be threatening to the establishment, but it is just another example of how Elliott will be a citizen advocate first rather than a partisan party operative.

We respectfully and enthusiastically encourage Scott County voters to cast their ballots for Michael Elliott on Tuesday, November 4.


Comments (8)Add Comment
written by schqc, October 30, 2008
A complete misreading of the Us political system. Any system attempting to somehow govern 350 million people is going to be crappy and corrupt. Democracy on such a scale is a constant experiment.

Given that its a constant experiment, it is also based on a thrown together 200 year old document. A living document, but 200 years old, none the less. It pretty much constrains us to a two party system. "love it or leave it" as some are wont to say.

If you want to reform the document (have a more European parlimentary system) go for it. Good luck. Without that, though, it is truly worthless to vote for a third party. The most it has ever done is be a spoiler (without Perot there is no clinton, no NAder, no W)

of course, voting for president is actually a pretty useless thing to do in most cases. In illinois there isn't much point. Iowa, a little more so. Even then it comes down to stupid people who don't understand the two party system to tip the scales. People who are ignorant of what differences there are between two parties, and the type of real effects it will have on our lives.

Very few voters understand that Supreme Court nominations are, perhaps, the single most important thing a president does. Bush's legacy will destroy this country for many years because of his court nominations at the supreme court and the appeals court level. In those instances, voting third party really is wasting a vote.

We are less free due to an ignorant middle.
Vote dem for progressive courts!
written by Roberta, October 30, 2008
So, as the editor, I supppose you feel it's ok to use your paper to inflict your opinion on who you think we should or shouldn't vote for ... implying that those who have made their choice are beneath you if we haven't made the choice you think we should have. Stating opinions without knowledge of the future, touting that the candidates make promises "they can't or won't keep." None of us has that insight. Do you really think you'd ralley enough votes for ANY third party candidate from the Reader? Or having us vote, whether respectfully or enthusiastically for the candidate of YOUR choice ... again, as the editor, I guess you have that right to be condescending and didactic to all who happen to read your opinion ... after reading this through I must admit it comes across as taking the opportunity to use your position in the paper to control your little part of the world with half truths and misinformed facts ... funny ... that sounds vaguely familiar of the type of folks who support the current administration. I will not say any vote is wasted, this is the U.S ... we can vote for whoever we choose ... as far as it impacting the state of things, we'll see if the third party choice gets the vote ... then the folks can determine just exactly what happened to their vote of their own conclusion.
written by RI, ILL, November 01, 2008
All I can say is WOW....I am truly astonished that the editor of my "once" favorite news source would write such a biased article on the front page. As an "independent" publication, I guess I would have thought there would be more bipartisanship, instead of condescending opinions. And I don't believe that ANY vote is wasted....VOTE, everyone, VOTE!!!
written by KT, November 02, 2008
Great Article. If you want real change you have to look beyond ALL the people who have had a hand in getting us to where we are today - BROKE and serving special interest groups. Also,I am glad I live in a country where this article can be freely published and all readers have the right to voice their opinions - for or agin. Vote. It matters. Regarless of who you vote for.
John Darby
written by Jack, November 02, 2008
Thank you for a good and timely article. If there is one thing wrong with it it's that it did not go far enough to expose the lies and fraud being perpetrated by the two major parties. In my opinion, anyone with an IQ over 50 should be able to see right through all the hot air these two candidates are spewing, especially Obama. He single handedly increases global warming every time he opens his mouth. His "solutions" are nothing more than worthless band aids which will only make things worse. He wants to "help" those with home foreclosures yet his largest contributers are from the banking industry that caused the problem. Does anyone really think the banks would be supporting him if he was going after them? Same with health care costs. Not only would his "universal crapcare" be a disaster but his second largest contributions come from the health and drug industry. He is committed to robbing us taxpayers so that industry can be enriched even more. He has a consortium of millionaires and billionaires backing him. Does anyone truly believe they would want him in office if he really was going to raise taxes on them? The only reason he was even nominated is because he is a media darling who is making them huge amounts of money. Be a true American and just say no to Obama/McCain and vote third party. Don't waste your vote on the evil of two lessors.
steven montross
written by steven montross, November 03, 2008
I plan on wasting my vote on third parties, thank you very much. I also support balloting that leaves a paper trail.
written by Joe Penry, November 04, 2008
I find it very hypocritical of you to denounce Obama and yet still accept advertising from his campaign. Seems like maybe your in it just for the money. And that is part of the problem in the USA today. I am supporting a major party candidate and do not feel my vote is wasted. And having read your opinions for several years, I find you to be real negative all the time. Is there anyone out there you approve of besides yourself?
written by Hank S, November 04, 2008
An excellent, well-written, well-thought-out opinion on this election. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

Now, why anyone would become upset over another citizen using the medium available to them to express their opinion over the current political climate in this country...that I do not understand, regardless of whether or not you agree with the expressed opinion.

Roberta, RI, and Joe -- do you understand that this is an editorial? Do you understand what that means? If you refer to Merriam-Webster Online ([2]), you'll find that an editorial is "a newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers ; also : an expression of opinion that resembles such an article." This is one citizen's opinion, and it is very clearly presented as such. It is not an example of media bias, or someone trying to cram their ideas down your throat. This is an American citizen exercising their right to free speech, within the medium available to them. If you realize this, I don't see how this column could be construed as heavy-handed use of her position or some kind of condescending diatribe.

This is also not an example of an organization being hypocritical. If anything, the fact that ads have been accepted for candidates with whom the editor does not agree, illustrates the Reader's commitment to fairness and the democratic process. They're not limiting who can advertise in their publication, even though they may not personally agree those candidates are qualified for office.

I sincerely hope that everyone here, regardless of their opinion, excercises the most powerful voice our constitution has provided us today. The ballot.

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