Monday, July 26, 2004

Bill Clinton
First off, Clinton's speech from a delivery point of view was amazing. The tone while respectful, was passionate. The pauses were well timed, and the jokes (one example being the joke Clinton made about us not being able to enforce trade laws on Japanese and Chinese imports when they are financing our deficit caused by Bush's tax cut, or the line that strength and wisdom are not opposing values). The speech seemed centrist, and Clinton went out of his way to emphasize that Republicans and Democrats both wanted similar things, yet disagree on how to achieve them. Then Clinton explained the differences between how Republicans and Democrats sought to achieve their goals.

As somebody not planning on voting major party in this election, I found the problem with the comparisons the speech made was they were bullshit. While purporting to spell out the differences of the philosophies between the Democrats and Republicans, all too often Clinton would mischaracterize the position of the Republicans. The Republicans do not seek to act unilateral and cooperate only when they have to on foreign policy  rather they are prepared to act unilateral when they believe an action is wise, yet unpopular. Clinton said scorn for the international community could be evidenced by Bush pulling us out of several treaties such as Kyoto and the Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty. The trouble is that Clinton wasn't exactly in favor of those treaties either. Yes, the Republicans give tax cuts to the rich, but not because they are out to serve monied interests. Rather they do not believe in progressive taxation and any transition to a more flat rate tax system would require that the immediate apparent benefit would go to the rich. Those trade laws that Bush isn't enforcing, such as anti-dumping laws, I trust that a President as smart as Clinton knows that the laws were passed only to benefit special interests at the expense of the American consumer.

Oh yeah, about strength and wisdom not being opposing values, I completely agree. It was Clinton and Sandy Berger who were afraid to go after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and shot missiles from 30,000 feet at empty tents. It was Clinton who set a policy of regime change in Iraq, but did not act on it. It was Clinton who had the "wisdom" of allowing, through a poorly thought out 1994 treaty to allow North Korea to go nuclear. While strength and wisdom are not opposing values, the problem is that Clinton (and Kerry I presume as well) most likely have neither.

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