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Partisan politics

POTUSSuper Tuesday is not far off and most media commentators have the Democratic and Republican races either tied between the front runners, or with Clinton and McCain having small leads each. With the South Carolina primary only a week away now, it’s interesting watching the tactics of the Democratic candidates.

In case anyone missed it, you should definitely check out the utter cynicism of Hillary Clinton, with her faux crying on stage at just the moment when women were in doubt as to whether or not she was their natural candidate. That two Boston radio presenters decided to heckle her with “Iron my shirt” shirts cannot have been a stunt…could it?

Now John Edwards and Hillary Clinton have come out to play the Democrat-straight-down-the-line card in response to Obama, who praised Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile John McCain is shedding partisan clothing and attacking the Republican party for allowing ‘spending to get out of control.’ The logic behind all of this is palpably clear – but still disgusts me.

Allow me to start with McCain. South Carolina is a state which has been steadily losing manufacturing jobs; since August 2006 the state has lost 4% of its manufacturing base – and this is not new. Now along comes McCain to say that Federal spending is out of control. It beggars belief how, in a state of 6.6% unemployment demanding spending cuts will get votes.

Does anyone really doubt the first place to which Republicans will look when cutting spending? It’s going to be benefits.

As for Barack Obama, you should read the transcript of his comments on Reagan for yourselves.

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.

I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing. (Courtesy of Open Left)

I am totally at a loss. The idea that Ronald Reagan was somehow upholding political accountability in Washington is ridiculous. The man ordered the murder of innocent civilians against the wishes of Congress by selling weapons to one of the most oppressive regimes in the Middle East. His government left America with record deficit budgets and what to show for it? Supply-side economics and the lowest economic growth since WWII, with a massive rise in wealth disparity and a flat-lining median wage.

What is it with the American mysticism surrounding someone who can overcome ‘partisan’ division? All that ever means is taking the slightly less right wing nutjobs from the Republicans, the opportunist Democrats from the other side and tying them together with policies that screw over working people but STILL help those people get re-elected somehow.

A Democrat praising Ronald Reagan can mean one of two things; either Obama is serious, in which case this idea that he is somehow the better of two mediocrities is wrong. The alternative is that he is praising Reagan in order to show how non-partisan he is, which seems to me a deplorable strategy. It may be smart politics but if you can’t represent yourself as you truly are, then you need to get out of the game.

In the week between now and the polls open in South Carolina, I look forward to seeing what else comes out of the mouths of the respective candidates.

Politics as Usual

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