Ok, politics.

I haven’t commented on politics in a bit and with the primaries looming and debates already starting, I thought I’d pipe in.

None of the candidates are appealing to me so far. Clinton and Obama are too liberal. Edwards is a guy I’d like to like but he needs to drop the timetable for pulling out of Iraq and keep talking about what happens after. None of the Republicans are very promising. McCain is a guy I want to like too. From him I’d like to hear more about what comes next in Iraq and less about troop build up. The rest are meah.

So here’s the issue round up for me:

Iraq: We need a better plan to bring that thing to closure. The best thing President Bush can do for it for the next President would to graciously be the fall guy. Let the next President say publicly that Bush messed it up and he wants to fix it. By Bush being the fall guy, other countries could step in to help and still save face. In politics, that’s more important than it sounds. Simply pulling our troops out is no answer. It plays well at home but I doubt that anyone who is elected will actually be able to do that once in office. Drop the pretense. Let’s get some real answers on this.

Health Care: Ugh. The pharmaceutical companies  pretty much own the politicians on this it seems. Clinton and Obama promise health care for all but we know what that will mean: higher prices for all. And the prices for heath care are already too high. Part of the problem is the way new drugs are introduced. Not so much based on need but based on economics. A new treatment for high blood pressure (do we need another?) is introduced to be competitive and to generate a profit. If it actually does something for the patient, that’s great too. We need to get a handle on prescription meds. It is a business more than anything else. There are good, honest chemists and doctors working on them but in the end the drug has to be profitable or it doesn’t get introduced. The other part of the problem is that care providers get sued too easily. Look, they’re human and they make mistakes. They’re so afraid of getting sued now that they have to order tests that are probably not warranted but they have to cover themselves. Let’s take the pressure off these folks and get some sanity in the medical malpractice laws. Finally, not every problem detected needs to be treated necessarily. There are tales of men dying of old age who, upon autopsy, are discovered to have had colon cancer for a while. Screening makes sense but if it is found during screening does it need an operation or does it just need to be watched? Again, more sanity please.

 The Economy, Stupid: Or the stupid economy. The housing market is slumping and I’m convinced that it isn’t done yet. The full effects of the sub prime lending and McMansions have not fully come home to roost yet. No politician can admit that or it may trigger a bigger slump, but I’d like to see a President who is ready for an economic slump and can address it. If they ignore it and wait till it happens it will be too late. No one is mentioning the economy yet and I’m sure they are not considering it. Wake up gang!

Trade Deficit: We are buying too much from China and they’re buying too little from us. The trade deficit is bigger than it should be. Also, China’s economy is shakier than they admit and if it collapses that deficit will get even bigger. I would like to see some thought go in to how we trade with them.

Immigration Reform: We need it. A functional guest worker program is necessary for Texas and California. If we will allow and favor people who come and work and go home legally we’ll be in better shape. Also, the mass of people here illegally needs to be addressed beyond “send them all home.” I think Bush is right, we need to create a path to citizenship for these folks. They need to become a legal, tax paying part of our economy rather than the current illegal, under-the-table part they are. It won’t make all the illegal immigrants go away but it will begin to bring the problem under control.

Jobs: We send too many low skilled jobs away.  Take a look a many of our urban centers. There is joblessness and no hope. If we could move some of the low skilled jobs into these depressed areas it won’t solve all the problems but it will provide many people a path out of the poverty. Yes, the work will face the resistance of the gangs and skepticism of the people. Yes, there will be people who won’t work if you lay a great job in their lap. But those problems a) aren’t as big as they seem and b) are not insurmountable. Let’s do something that stems the flow of jobs overseas and to illegal immigrants and start funneling jobs to our poor. That requires risky investments in depressed sections of major cities. That isn’t going to happen by business alone. Government, government with guts, needs to help make that happen. It takes leadership and that is something I’ve not seen in the White House since Reagan.

Gay Rights: Wow, here’s a powder keg. Homosexuals cannot marry. That defies the very meaning of the word. At the same time, they should not be discriminated against simply because of their behavior. I oppose the marriage amendment to the Constitution for two reasons. First, that is not a defining principle of our Union and therefore doesn’t belong in the Constitution. Second, I am surprised that conservatives are pressing for it. It clearly oversteps the distinction between the Federal government and the States. That is an issue for the States to decide, not the Federal government. A Presidential candidate I could vote for would articulate that. He or she would be opposed to gay marriage and at the same time would oppose a Constitutional amendment banning it. He or she should instead encourage the States to develop better domestic partner laws and benefits. He or she should also strongly dissuade any State from legalizing gay marriage as it puts the rest of the Union in a bid as far as how to handle ‘marriages’ from that State.

Global Warming: I know many Conservatives want to say that it isn’t happening or that it isn’t our fault, but we have to face the music. It is happening and many, many scientists say that we’re at least contributing to it. We can’t put our fingers in our ears and act like it isn’t real. We need to take some real steps to deal with it. We need a moon-shot like program to promote alternative energies. The oil companies should be brought in and given an opportunity to help in this effort since they are the ones who will be most directly impacted by it. Government needs to push to get us to reduce our reliance on oil and coal. We have to cut down how much we burn, by a lot. This requires visionary leadership and there seems to be a dearth of that going around these days.

Well, those are the big ones anyway. My problem is that no one is talking the way I want to hear them talk about these issues.

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  • COMMIE!!!!

  • Stay away from politics (not your strong area) and do more St Esophogus satire!

  • Okay, okay! I can take a hint. I’ll keep my politics to myself. Stick with theology and satire. Gotta give the people what they want! :)

  • My vote is for the village idiot, or maybe the man with two bricks and a napkin atop his head.

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