McCain and Obama
Early days in the nominations of Presidential candidates. To an outsider it looks like a very drawn out contest, and even then the outcome of people voting reflects the delegates that then vote for the candidates to stand – in short it is not directly for the candidate. So on the one front you have a caucus democracy with a cup of coffee but it is not direct democracy (then again same in the UK that our MPs choose the leader to support – indirectly through this we choose the PM). However the end would give a legitimacy to the eventual candidate chosen, and tested.
Going to sleep in the UK, where by 3 am it seemed that McCain had won and Clinton would keep a slender lead over Obama I had a dream – my first on USA politics. I think it was the unity idea that most candidates mention that there are no red and blue states but these United States. I am a sucker for the vision thing and prose, though I retain my skepticism – it seems an idea that motivates but not a reflection of what really is going on in everyday life. The United States, with no current or vice President standing for the first time in over a generation, the nation seems divided and the race in both camps wide open.
What would unity really mean in a political sense? Well Bush being out of the White House seems the key even for the Republicans and the shadow of Iraq. The candidates would need the gravitas to extend partisan lines but the vision to get things done in a way differently from the normal in Washington where lobby groups reign supreme. Money talks above the concerns of citizens. I cannot see that changing except that the people at the top want to take on the system – that will be politically risky, though necessary if the candidates mean what they say. Can you really change the status quo when as President you are on top?
So to explain my dream – McCain becomes President and Obama is his Vice President. That would never happen, I am sure but the point of my dream was that together they took on the lobby groups using their respective bases of support. Health care reform happened and the partisan bitterness changed to energy happening for reform. Perhaps what matters is whether a new spirit of bipartisanship could occur after the Presidential election. Bush said he would and quickly failed to live up to that – and yet I see no other way that the changes needed in the political system to give government back to the people can happen.
Then again what does an outsider have to say about the politics of Washington? In the global village it really matters who is elected. Even the candidates talk of a global responsibility that the President has in the role (though giving BBC reporters short shrift to reach actual voters in their busy schedules which has been funny to watch!). It matters that the President is on top of the issues and able to do what must be done. Lives of millions are in the hands of the President in what he decides to do, and it extends beyond the coast line of the United States.
You may say I am a dreamer. Perhaps the motivation in New Hampshire for voting (double the turnout last time) is not a renewed feeling of civic responsibility but a motivated partisanship that could be bitter after the election. But I know what would be the best outcome – a civic pride body politic working together to tackle the issues that affect the USA and the World, being honest in disagreement but not shying away from what must be done.
I hope I am not the only one.