This morning a New York Times editorial tells us something we already know: Campaign 2008 has turned into a brickbat hurling contest.
So far this year, the attacks have been more pinpointed and less sweeping than the low-blow Swift Boat ads of 2004. But we fear these slurs are the harbinger of a more offensive and widespread onslaught to come. It’s ominous that one anti-Obama producer — notorious for the racist Willie Horton attack ads on Gov. Michael Dukakis 20 years ago — is planning a campaign falsely “revealing” Mr. Obama as a Muslim.
The best way to assure that free speech is not despoiled by hate mongering would be for the campaigns to make a routine, unsensational point of denouncing the ads and their creators for what they are — the product of a radical fringe that has little regard for rational debate.
The abandoning of rational debate isn’t limited to fringe groups or interest organizations but has suffused the campaigns themselves. If it were only that the candidates were appealing to the emotions of the electorate it would be quite bad enough but the position papers and stump speeches of both candidates are so full of Washington-speak, the raking up of old scores, talking points, and nonsense that it’s difficult to separate the issues within the chaff of boilerplate.
The key to our economy’s growth is not adding millions of jobs installing roof-based solar panels; we won’t maintain our prosperity with airy platitudes about the workings of the market. There is more to a foreign policy than a set of slogans.
I remain resolutely undecided. Unlike the strongly partisan blogs that made up their minds years ago based on party affiliation however much they’ve denied that would be the case or some bloggers who’ve recently decided which candidate they’d vote for, e.g. Amba and Pat Lang.
I’m deeply dissatisfied with either of the alternatives we have before us this election cycle. Sen. Obama’s resume is extremely thin. His great successes in life have been in campaigning and being elected to office rather than serving in office. We need more than inspiration; we need leadership and there’s little in Se. Obama’s resume to suggest it other than how he’s run his campaigns.
Sen. McCain has a better resume for a prospective president but there are aspects of his temperament and political beliefs that I find very troubling. And, to be honest, while I don’t think his age is dispositive it is concerning to me.
This Tuesday the election will just be four short weeks away. As an explication of my dissatisfaction, an indication of the yardstick against which I’m judging the candidates, and in the hope of starting a substantive discussion of issues in the blogosphere, over the next few days I plan to post a number of explorations of the issues before us. Here’s my planned schedule
|Tuesday, October 7, 2008||Foreign policy|
|Wednesday, October 8, 2008||Fiscal policy|
|Thursday, October 9, 2008||Economic policy|
|Friday, October 10, 2008||Health care|
|Saturday, October 11, 2008||Energy policy|
|Monday, October 13, 2008||Conclusion|
I also plan to solicit contributions from bloggers with a variety of political persuasions; I’m hoping to ignite a cross-blog conversation about the issues. Feel free to pitch in on your own blogs and drop a note in the comments here—I’ll link to all reasonable contributions to the discussion.
Please make your contributions substantive and positive. Not just the regular talking points.