Monday, January 07, 2008

New Hampshire: don't follow Iowa's lead, do the right thing.

The other day I lamented that Iowans had really learned nothing from 2004. I figured that they had jumped on the bandwagon of whichever candidate looked like a winner. Of course, I might have considered before then that maybe, as the Rude Pundit pointed out, "[w]hite people will vote for a black person, especially if that black person is not nearly as liberal as the second place white person." In other words, Iowans might actually have heeded my earlier advice and voted for the candidate they liked best, which speaks ill of the state of our political party. I mean, is Iowa really that conservative? The thought is worrisome.

At any rate, tomorrow the good citizens of New Hampshire have a chance to vote for an actual, Progressive candidate. Or a Progressive-in-training, like John Edwards. Or, as in Iowa, an anti-change, pro-corporate, status quo candidate like Obama or Clinton. Either way, here are some questions the voters of New Hampshire should ask themselves regarding the issues most important to all Americans.

1.) Which Candidate has stood up for the Constitution and rule of law? Comparing the candidates still in the race (Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped out after the Iowa results were aired, leaving only six candidates), only Dennis Kucinich has actually led the fight in holding the Bush-Cheney regime accountable for its litany of crimes. By forcing a debate on impeaching Dick Cheney onto the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis has shown that he is willing to stand up and show leadership in answering the demands of the public -- which has been calling for impeachment for years only to go ignored by Democratic "leaders". Now, even though the articles of impeachment against Cheney have been buried in the House Judiciary Committee, several members of that committee have stepped up the pressure on chairman John Conyers to bring them forth and pass them. All of the other candidates for president now running have either opposed impeachment, or failed to speak out in support of it. Neither Barack Obama, the Iowa winner, or Hillary Clinton have shown leadership in standing up in the U.S. Senate to the regime's abuses of the Constitution. Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate now running for president who has shown this vital leadership.

2.) Which candidate will get us out of Iraq in the quickest, safest manner possible? This one is a tough question, because the way the Bush-Cheney regime have bungled the occupation (deliberately, so as to keep us in as long as they can) there is no easy way out, or one that will not lead to a greater short term crisis. Whoever the next president is shall have to go back to the United Nations with the Unites States' collective tail between their legs essentially begging for help in restoring what we've destroyed, and helping us extract ourselves from this mess while maintaining some form of stability. It shall not be easy, and a lot of tough decisions will have to be made. But as it stands right now, Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards have both proposed a more rapid and sensible withdrawal from Iraq than the other candidates.

3.) Which candidates are most likely to reverse the power-grabs and abuses of executive power by the current regime? Neither Obama or Clinton have demonstrated that they would. And John Edwards really doesn't seem to have mentioned much about what he would do to reverse the trend of dictatorial usurpations of power from the other two branches of government carried out by the Bush-Cheney regime. Given his record, Dennis Kucinich is the Democrat most likely to reverse the usurpations of power enacted by the Bush-Cheney regime.

4.) Which candidate is most likely to take drastic and serious action to fix our sagging economy, rebuild vital infrastructure, push for the creation of jobs through incentives, protect labor rights, strengthen unions, restore the dollar, and enact fair trade policies? This is another tough one, because both Kucinich and Edwards have spoken out the most regarding these fundamental components. Obama and Clinton have spent the most time trashing them. And do we even know Bill Richardson's position? And what about Mike Gravel? Kucinich has spoken out most strongly, but he may not be able to put together enough of a coalition to fight the interests of big business. Dennis has burned bridges in his time, I have to admit that, even though it was the right thing to do and his willingness to risk political ruin showed integrity not usually seen in the last forty years. Edwards, too, has spoken out against the interests of big business and for labor -- even though his past record as former senator from North Carolina is spotty; but he may be able to pull enough Democrats and shrewd Republicans together to get us going in the right direction. As has been pointed out, Obama and Clinton have both sold us out to the interests of big business far too often in both the past and in recent months to be counted upon. For me, it's a toss-up between Kucinich and Edwards.

5.) Which candidates are most likely to push for true, comprehensive changes in health care in America? Obama actually fought against health care change as a state senator in Illinois, and his rhetoric of conciliation with the health insurance industry is so unrealistic as to be laughable. Not only is it unrealistic, it is indicative of an anti-Progressive agenda by a man whose true colors expose his fealty to the health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies. He is behind only Clinton in U.S. senators receiving the largest amount of payoff money from those industries. So those two candidates should not even be in consideration on the health care issue. Who does that leave? Kucinich and Edwards. As a matter of record, Kucinich's HR 676 is precisely what America needs: single-payer, not for profit health care that covers everyone. John Edwards' health care plan, while not even close to achieving this ultimate goal, is nevertheless a good step forward in the right direction (Ezra Klein offers a very good analysis at The American Prospect). Again, based on the candidates' records, it's a toss-up between Kucinich and Edwards.

6.) Which candidates are all about the progressive taxation? With Obama, Clinton, and Richardson, it's all about the status quo -- Rubinomics versus Bushonomics. Only Kucinich and Edwards have called for raising taxes on the very wealthy. Kucinich and Edwards would deliver on progressive taxation; the others wouldn't.

7.) Which candidate is most likely to take serious, drastic action on the environment and Global Warming? As Obama demonstrated back in April 2007, he wouldn't do more than switch over to different light bulbs. Clinton and Richardson haven't taken a firm stand on this vital issue. Indeed, none of these three candidates seems to take seriously the growing, catastrophic phenomenon we know as Global Warming, and how our nation's energy policy has helped it along. Kucinich alone stands as the candidate most likely to take action.

Summation: When you break it all down, it comes down to which of the two most Progressive candidates -- Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards -- New Hampshire voters should vote for. Mike Gravel isn't even a factor in this race anymore, because of the combination of media blackballing and lack of support. Bill Richardson appears to be merely a shadow in this race, waiting to see which of the two so-called top tier candidates he'll suck up to for a cabinet position. And Obama and Clinton are both in the back pockets of Big Business. Voters of New Hampshire have a choice: vote for actual change and help us win back the presidency, or stick with the status quo and go down in yet another stolen presidential election. If either Obama or Clinton takes the nomination, the Republican Noise Machine will eat that candidate alive -- and the inevitable GOP vote fraud will kick in during the close election to steal it our from under us. But against an actual, Progressive nominee, Republicans (and Big Business) have no hope. It's why they've gone to such great lengths to eliminate all candidates from this race who stand in vocal opposition to the status quo. Don't let them pick our candidates for us, new Hampshire. Speak out with one, Progressive voice, and make the right decision. Don't let us down tomorrow.

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