Saturday, August 23, 2008

What We Could Use Less of This Election

It wasn't unexpected except that it comes from a fairly mainstream source and writers, and it's a real shame that they have contributed to the general nastiness that is contemporary American politics.

Jacob Weisberg opinines in that only a racist would vote for McCain:

You may or may not agree with Obama's policy prescriptions, but they are, by and
large, serious attempts to deal with the biggest issues we face: a failing health care system, oil dependency, income stagnation, and climate change. To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States. It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline.

You knew something like this was coming. Obama is "handsome, brilliant, and cool" and "What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one." Taken together, Obama should be running away with the polls, and race is the only explanation since Obama's policy proposals are "large" and "serious." Given this combination, he's entitled to the White House apparently, even though Weisberg acknowledges that voters may rationally prefer McCain's policies.

Or, they may prefer McCain's experience, particularly in foriegn and military policy that recent events along the Russian-Georgian border make clear are still very relevant.

Or, they may prefer McCain's record of actually enacting bills into law rather than just giving inspiring speeches. Obama's legislative accomplishments are, in contrast, negligible and include merely adding his name onto other people's bill (co-sponsoring) rather than working to get his own ideas enacted into law.

To be fair to Weisberg, his arguement isn't really that everyone who votes for McCain is a racist, but that given that Obama should win easily given the fundamentals, racism will be the deciding factor should he not win. Still, this is too clever by half. There are enough good reasons to choose McCain that "racism" should not automatically attach itself should Senator McCain triumph. If it does, we'll just have another four years of bitter division - a heads we win, tails you lose proposition.

My point isn't that people should vote McCain. There's a strong case to be made for electing Obama, but those who don't shouldn't be automaticall castigated as racist. Slate magazine and Jacob Weisberg can do better than this.

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