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Monday, September 15, 2008

more campaign comparisons and observations...

Candidate profiles are interesting. You can compare foreign policy experience with 3 of the 4 candidates on the tickets. They are probably about equal in experience, though what makes it up is different for each. McCain and Biden have long careers and resumes. McCain was in the Navy, but Biden has a focus on foreign relations specifically and is chair of that Senate committee. Obama has a shorter career, but with personal overseas experience. His resume is impressive and pretty serious for someone not long in Washington- he’s proven he can reach across the aisle and he’s familiar with a wide array of important issues, and has visited a handful of countries in an official capacity. Palin definitely trails behind these three, though she has a couple of years of executive experience. If she (and Giuliani and other assorted conservatives) laughs/smirks/ at Obama’s community organizing as a resume item, then I definitely don’t think “living next to Russia” (you can see it from an Alaskan island) should count as foreign policy experience!

In the past, McCain has tended to be more independent (“pro” column) and has said more things that make sense than other Republicans, so I didn’t feel like it was so bad that he was going to win the nomination. BUT he doesn’t always vote the way that makes sense and for several years he’s been getting more conservative, perhaps in preparation for the nomination.
Anyway, here are some McCain foreign policy “cons”:

When the issue of McCain not being such a maverick or of Palin accepting a boatload of earmarks while claiming to have refused them, their supporters always point out how Obama hasn’t stood up to his party or how he participates in the earmark game as well rather than addressing the fact that McCain’s not a maverick or Palin’s earmark successes. Obama isn’t running on a platform of standing up to his party and trying to win independents and or democrats. He may be guilty on the earmark thing if you look at the whole issue of reform, though.

Another thing that bothers me about McCain are his adviser choices. I don’t think he chooses wisely- he’s picked some infamously controversial ones as well as ones that don’t make sense. Bolton as a foreign policy adviser?? There are few more controversial than that. If Bush chose this person for anything, you don’t want him! That and his record. Some say he spins intelligence, isn’t too diplomatic, hates the UN, and generally isn’t someone you want involved in diplomacy.

McCain himself has said some rather odd things foreign policy wise. Maybe some view it as revolutionary or reform minded, but I’m going to go with crazytalk or schizophrenic. He is very antagonistc toward Russia, which I don’t think will help a anyone or anything. He has said something about leaving them out of the G8 and or creating an alternative to the UN and not allowing Russia to join. And, he wants an arms control treaty with Russia and more transparency. Doubt that’s going to happen if he excludes them from all the clubs.

Phil Gramm was an economic adviser to McCain. He’s the Enron guy who said we should stop whining; the economy’s fine or something like that. I think scandal has caused some distance here, but I doubt McCain’s judgment on many of his choices of advisers. This proved to be an indicator of how the Bush presidency turned out, so we’ve got to look into these things. Bush surrounded himself with neoconservative war hawks who ended up pushing us into a war we had no right to start.

Palin also appeared to be a rather hasty choice. Rove wanted Romney. McCain wanted Lieberman. Palin was chosen. Palin, with no foreign policy experience (except that Russia is next door) and little to no economic experience (we can’t all balance our budget with Big Oil money). Palin, with a rather interesting personal “situation”- a pregnant teen daughter. On the surface, it seems like a reckless choice, though I’d like to think she’s more vetted than it looks. It doesn’t make much sense, unless he was looking to make ultra conservatives happy, which it did. They may have been trying to “steal” some bitter Hillary fans, but that’s probably not going to be very successful, unless those supporters didn’t care about any issue except the gender of the candidate.

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