Some comments on the 2008 election |

Some comments on the 2008 election

All too often, clarity of thought loses out to emotional response, and elections are no exception. Take $4 per gallon gasoline for example. The emotional reaction is that we have to do something about it, and do it right now ” “Drill, baby, drill.” This is supposed to bring down gasoline prices overnight, and make us independent of foreign oil, something President Nixon promised us 35 years ago. But what are the cold hard facts?

Domestic oil is neither plentiful nor cheap. America has only three percent of the world’s oil reserves. Our limited production from that three percent will have almost no effect on world production and the world price of oil. Furthermore, it would be 5-10 years before any offshore or Alaskan oil could be brought online. The quickest way to lower the price of gasoline is to reduce world oil prices by cutting demand through conservation and increased energy efficiency. Who do you suppose has the most to gain from more drilling? If you said “the oil industry,” you got it right.

Presidential candidate John McCain’s picking 20-month Alaska Governor Sarah Palin out of obscurity is a desperate attempt to resuscitate a lackluster campaign, clearly designed to appeal to emotions over logical reasoning. And it might just work!

She was picked to appease hard-core conservatives and the religious right, who he had alienated with centrist statements aimed at increasing his appeal to middle-of-the-road voters. Her creationist, abstinence-only, and school-prayer positions are contrary to education free from religious influence. She is equivocal about the effect of human activities on global warming, maybe because Alaska could use a little warming.

Candidate McCain has railed against pork-barrel “earmarks.” But as mayor of Wasilla, Palin lobbied for, and got, $27 million in federal earmarks (about $4,000 per resident), and still left a city which had no indebtedness in 1996, $22 million in the red in 2002. And as governor, she was all for the “Bridge to Nowhere;” then after it was defeated in Congress, she has tried to take credit for rejecting it.

Sarah Palin has acknowledged that throughout her political career, her focus has been on local and state issues, and that her awareness of national and international problems has come largely from the media. Her appeal to many is that hers is a typical American family, working hard to raise their children, attending church, and dealing with everyday family problems ” just like you and your friends and neighbors. But which of the above would you feel comfortable about possibly entrusting your country’s future to in these trying times?

It is clear McCain is putting party before country, and would rather risk having a vice president who is ill-prepared for the possibility of having to deal with our serious domestic problems and the likes of Vladimir Putin on the international stage than lose an election.

Critics of presidential candidate Barack Obama have claimed he lacks the experience for that office and is not ready for the job of commander in chief. Nearly 150 years ago, on the eve of impending civil war, the Republican Party chose as it’s nominee for president an inconspicuous candidate from Illinois known only for his rhetorical skills. His credentials were just one year of formal education, a failed run for the U.S. Senate, one undistinguished term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and eight years in the backwoods Illinois Legislature. His military experience consisted of an appointment as captain of a company of volunteers in the 1832 Blackhawk War, which never saw action. His name, of course, was Abraham Lincoln, who despite his simple background, had carefully studied and formed his positions on the serious issues of the time, including slavery, which threatened to divide the country. He rose to greatness as president for the entire Civil War, and as commander in chief faced with a sequence of incompetent generals, brought the war to a successful conclusion.

“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth more than a life’s experience.” ” Oliver Wendall Holmes

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