Thursday, December 27, 2007

One Week to Go

Matt Stoller rightly critiques the lack of inspiration coming from our leading candidates:

Ezra is happy with the Democratic candidates; most Democratic voters share Ezra's views. I don't (and neither do a few others)...A real progressive candidate would take an apolitical problem and turn it into a mainstream political subject. None of our candidates have done that. Here are five easily mainstreamable problems ripe for the picking...

[1] Subject: End the War on Drugs
Factoid: There are 1 million people put in jail for doing what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush have done...

[2] Subject: End corporate media ownership:
Factoid: General Electric, a major defense contractor and conglomerate, owns NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC...

[3] Subject: End American empire
Factoid: As of 1998, America had troops stationed in 144 countries around the world...

[4] Subject: End the war economy:
Factoid: Money for Iraq keeps passing in 'emergency' legislation to avoid being subject to budget rules...

[5] Subject: End the cradle-to-prison superhighway
Factoid: 2 million people are in prison in America, by far the highest total of any other country in the world...

Items 1 and 5 on Stoller's list I think are really the same issue. But in any event, neither has been addressed by our leading candidates, probably because of Item 2 on Stoller's list. Items 2-4 are also highly correlated.

To Stoller's list, and he admits there are other equally valid concerns that might fall into the same categorization as "untouchable symptoms", I would add:

[6] Subject: Our ridiculous, counter-productive, and probably immoral, Cuba policy;
Factoid: nearly 50 years since Castro has been in power, and almost two decades after the end of the Cold War, most American citizens can still not travel directly to Cuba without a special You Can Go To Cuba Pass, thereby feeding the island's isolation and increasing the power of Castro's cultic rule; and

[7] Subject: The War on The Separation of Church and State (and on the value and Constitutional foundations of political and religious pluralism generally)
Factoid: see Sally Quinn's recent op-ed, amidst a rising mountain of other evidence.

Obama has challenged, if in a rather off the cuff manner, item 6--and as a result come in for a chorus of catcalls from the other candidates and the professional media class (item 2).

But he, and the other candidates have been mostly AWOL from item 7; Worse, our leading contenders have shown signs of pandering to this sentiment rather than confronting it.

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