Tomorrow's Pennsylvania primary could be the final nail in the coffin for Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. By most accounts Hillary must win and win big to have any chance at all in the Democratic race. Regardless of who ultimately wins the nomination the concern for the Democrats is whether or not the party can unite at the end of a sometimes brutal campaign for the nomination. My guess is they will, my hope is they will not. One thing is certain, the country is divided and that won't change no matter who wins in November.
Drawing a sharp contrast with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama said in an interview that he has the capacity she may lack to unify the country and move it out of what he called "ideological gridlock."
"I think it is fair to say that I believe I can bring the country together more effectively than she can," Obama said. "I will add, by the way, that is not entirely a problem of her making. Some of those battles in the '90s that she went through were the result of some pretty unfair attacks on the Clintons. But that history exists, and so, yes, I believe I can bring the country together in a way she cannot do. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be running."
Just how Obama plans to move the country out of its "ideological gridlock" is unclear. His extremely liberal agenda is unlikely to move any true conservative. Obama, who has done extremely well in capitalist America, seems to think the rest of us need some restraints:
The big irony here is that while Obama has done extremely well for himself in our very unique free-market economy, he has the “audacity” to demonize others who have done well for themselves, and to propose economic policies that, if implemented, would radically change our nation into something more akin to a Western European socialist state.
Obama has proposed a federal crack down on what he deems “excessive pay” for corporate executives. He has proposed that the federal government begin taxing people’s capital (not just earnings or interest payments, but, yes, capital itself). He has proposed that the capital gains tax rate be raised to 28%, nearly doubling its current rate of 15%. And he has made it a constant theme of his campaign to lament “Bush’s tax cuts for the rich,” conveniently ignoring the fact that the President and the Congress lowered the taxes of ALL Americans earlier this decade.
Of course this is ice cream and candy to those on the left who think government should take care of us cradle-to-grave (emphasis in the original):
OK, let's examine that for a minute. Aside from the implications that they are communists, what does "Western European Socialist State" really mean? European citizens get 5 weeks paid vacation per year for everyone, free full-coverage health care for everyone, generous pays and pensions for everyone (with retirement earlier than here), corporations required to benefit the public, modern public transit systems, child care, clean public-oriented cities, governments responsive to the people instead of the wealthy, the corporations and the big military contractors, ... oh I could go on and on about the terrible state of things for Western European citizens...
If the conservatives are trying to scare me away from voting for Clinton or Obama by claiming that if elected they will bring us 5 weeks paid vacation a year, free health coverage and the rest, and that the cost will be taxing rich CEOs and corporations -- well I gotta tell you I want to get me some of that!
After all it's worked out so well in Europe:
Europe, with its heavy-handed economic regulation, struggles to keep itself out of Jimmy Carter-era unemployment. They celebrate 8.6% unemployment. Meanwhile, the Democrats claim that 5% unemployment here requires the exact same kind of solutions that brought Germany their current economic "success".
Lest anyone think that this problem is confined to Germany, take a look at this report from last February . The "Eurozone" celebrated its best unemployment rate ever -- at 7.4%. Three weeks ago, they announced a further improvement -- to 7.2%. Either of these numbers would have Americans screaming in the streets for new leadership, and yet those who claim to represent that new leadership want to take the US down the same statist path where 7.2% is a "record low".
Conservatives are hardly likely to jump on the statist bandwagon with Obama (or Hillary for that matter) anytime soon. I, for one, don't want any of that.
The more critical issue is the war on terrorism. Both Clinton and Obama are determined to withdraw our troops from Iraq regardless of the consequences. Regardless of the situation on the ground and regardless of what our military commanders recommend:
Both said they would begin withdrawals of U.S. troops soon after taking office and would move quickly to end the war. They didn't leave themselves much room to change their minds even if the military situation were altered or U.S. commanders gave a different recommendation. This could make it more difficult for each of them to be flexible during the general-election campaign and, more important, as commander in chief.
"Only through our commitment to withdraw will the Iraqis begin to do what they have failed to do all of these years," Clinton said. "We don't know what will happen if we withdraw. We know what won't happen if we don't."
Obama said, "The president sets the mission. The generals and our troops carry out that mission."
Obama and Hillary are of one mind on most issues, neither will be able to unite our country. Obama's words are prettier, but that's about the only difference.
John McCain's chances of uniting our country are not any better. With Bush Derangement Syndrome fully embedded in the very brains of many on the far left, January 20, 2009, will not be the end of it regardless of who wins, but expect it to get worse if McCain prevails. We would then have MDS. Same syndrome, different name. Should Obama or Hillary win, expect George Bush to be blamed when their misguided policies fail to work out as planned.
The ideological gridlock doesn't just exist "out here" in the country. It's pervasive in Washington as well. The efforts by the Democrats in Congress to thwart anything and everything the President proposes, from funding the war to appointing judges has resulted in a near constant state of gridlock. The latest example is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's refusal to allow a vote on the Columbia free trade agreement.
These examples just scratch the surface of the ideological - and political - divide in the United States today. The upcoming presidential election will do nothing to change it. Too many Americans are too comfortable letting the federal government control their lives. Too many Americans are willing to let the terrorists win, no matter what the cost. The gridlock will continue and we will pay the price with our freedom.
The principles upon which our country was founded are slowly but surely headed toward history's trash bin. The federal government, which was supposed to be limited, has grown into an out-of-control monster that cannot be tamed.
James Madison was wrong.