Friday, September 05, 2008

Obama, McCain: Change and the Status-quo

By Ephrem Madebo

I spent a good part of this week watching the Republican Party Convention from Saint Paul, Minnesota. I listened to many of the convention speakers including Laura Bush, Cindy McCain, George Bush, Fred Thomason, the ‘neo-Republican’ Joseph Lieberman, Carly Fiorina, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham. I found out the hard way that republicans are good at one thing. They don’t have anything new, they just keep on singing the same old song over and over again, and they sing it loud. Republicans and Senator McCain say things because they have to say them. Democrats and Obama say things because they have a lot to say. To me, the real drama of Tuesday night that caught me by surprise was Joseph Lieberman’s appearance in the Republican convention floor. When Lieberman blindly stood for the Bush-Cheney failed war policy, I knew he was a confused man. However, as confused as he is, I still thought he was smart enough to know the difference between friendship and democratic principles. Unfortunately, he didn’t! Yes, as he and others said it well, McCain like many other human beings is “his own” man; the problem is Joseph Lieberman isn’t. Last Tuesday night, Joseph Lieberman was a “stranger in the mirror”.

We love McCain for who he is, we respect his service to his country, and we honor his heroism, but we don’t give him the presidency because John McCain simply is not competent to the highest office in the nation. The maverick McCain might do well in some other offices, but not in the Oval Office. In 1992, when Bush senior was running for his second term; he was a war hero [fighter pilot] and a life long public servant. He was chief of the CIA, he was US ambassador in the UN, he was vice-president for 8 years, and most importantly he was a president for four years. G.H. Bush’s experience is by far greater and superior than McCain’s experience, but in 1992, the far sighted American voters saw beyond experience and elected a much younger, but competent president who led a stronger America into the 21st century. Today, eight years of Republican administration has made America a weak nation. With no clear economic, healthcare, education, and environmental policies, McCain will extend the failed Bush-Cheney administration and make America weaker.

President Bush who has a unique ability of looking deep into the eye of people and predict their character, told us about the good things that Senator McCain would do to America in the coming four years. I urge President Bush to look at the eye of Senator McCain again and tell us the truth because his prediction about Vladimir Putin was totally off. President Bush who has the lowest approval rating in history seems to have more confidence in what McCain could do in four years than what he himself could have done in eight years. All in all, instead of telling us what he himself did in the last eight years, George Bush tries to tell us about what McCain would do if elected president. In his campaign trail, instead of telling the American people what he would and wouldn’t do, McCain tells what Obama would and wouldn’t do. These are not the only similarities between the maverick McCain and the compassionate Bush. Neither George W. Bush nor Senator McCain were bright students when they were in college. Bush scored 70 (of 100) in Sociology and a 71 in Economics (no wander the economy is heading south). Senator McCain graduated 894th out of a class of 899. Both McCain and Bush have a clear stand on life’s important issues, but they have hard time explaining their stand or answering life’s important questions.

During the first term of G.Bush’s presidency, John McCain was one of the two republicans to vote against George Bush’s landmark tax cut. Today, McCain is fighting hard to make the same tax cut permanent. Senator McCain stood with the democrats and supported President Bush’s immigration policy. Today, McCain vehemently opposes the same immigration policy that he once supported. Senator McCain was a strong opponent of off-shore drilling. Today, he is a leading advocate of off-shore drilling. What should we call this kind of oscillating behavior? Is this what maverick means? Did any one see the current president and vice-president in the Republican Party convention? No! Because they have nothing to show except mess. The country is ashamed of them, Senator McCain is ashamed of them, and most importantly the party they lead is ashamed of them. If we elect McCain, I am positive, four years latter he will have nothing to show and we will be ashamed of him. By the way, I can’t wait until January 20, 2009 to see Dick Cheney end eight years of hibernation.

Last night Cindy McCain told us that Senator McCain was a true husband, and she also told us that having McCain as a father of her children was like hitting a home run. Well, way before Cindy McCain, there was another woman who until the ninth inning thought she hit a home run when she married McCain. The week long republican convention focused on one single issue - The biography of John McCain! As an American who needs information to elect the next president, I expected to hear less of McCain's biography and more of what he would do if elected president of this great nation. This election is not about McCain’s past, it is about America’s future. Last night John McCain vowed to work across party lines and change the ugly culture of Washington. Eight years ago, George Bush who was not a Washington insider promised to reach across party lines and change Washington. As soon as he entered the Whitehouse, Washington changed George Bush and today we have a deeply divided America. Watch out America! McCain’s last night rhetoric is not different from what his role model told us in 2000. McCain has been part and parcel of the Washington establishment for more than a quarter of a century. He has nothing in him that brings change to Washington; McCain is the symbol of Washington that Obama the true messenger of change wants to change.

The American people never questioned McCain’s heroism and his distinguished service to America. The slogan “Country First” and fighting for America are not just republican or democratic values, they are undisputed American values. The young men and women that went to Iraq and Afghanistan went as Americans, and when they pay the ultimate sacrifice, their body comes to Dover Air Force base as an American. John McCain and the Republican Party must stop mixing American values with Republican values. But, even if we consider important republican values such as “Traditional Family Value”, McCain started dating his current wife while married to other women whom he eventually asked for divorce. Well, there is nothing wrong because he is a maverick republican.

We all know that there is a significant difference between the Republican and the Democratic parties, but the difference between Obama and McCain is far deeper than the party differences, and it is visible to any naked eye. McCain is a man of yesterday whose vision for tomorrow is limited by his inability to see beyond the horizon. He is an ordinary man in history with less than average intellectual capacity. Don’t get me wrong, McCian is a war hero, but so are tens of thousands of Americans. Obama is a vector of change who is in a mission to make history. Obama has the intellectual capacity to see deeper into the future and seek answer to many burning questions of our time. Unlike McCain, Obama is here to correct the misguided policies of the Bush-Cheney administration. McCain is a mediocre communicator who has identical message for every audience. Obama is a charismatic communicator who has message to any audience. Geographically, McCain thinks Iraq and Afghanistan are neighbors, and politically; he does not know the difference between the Shiites and the Sunnis. Economically, he always fails to understand the threshold of poverty. How can McCain lead the free world with such a little knowledge about the world, and how can he lead America without knowing about poor and middle class Americans? America can not afford to have another so-so leader in this crucial time. I wonder how McCain chases Bin Laden to the gates of hell if he doesn’t know where the gate of hell is. Chasing the illusive Bin Laden is not an easy task for a person who does not visualize the Iraq-Afghanistan borer.

Let’s consider McCain’s judgment in selecting his running mate. Senator McCain barley knew Sarah Palin before he chose her to be a possible US president should something happens to him (if he is elected). I wonder where McCain’s nickname of “Country First” was when he made such a terrible decision. When McCain selected Palin as his running mate, the amount of women votes she would (yes, I said would) bring to the ticket seems to be his primary criteria. “Country first” and what happens to the presidency if the possible happens was not McCain’s cup of tea. John McCain who day-in and day-out tells us about his long time experience did not think otherwise when he insulted our intelligence by giving us the most in-experienced little known vice-president in America’s 232 years history. The only visible experience on Sarah Palin’s resume is governing the state of Alaska (population ~700K) for 21 months. The population of Alaska is almost four times less than the population of Chicago, a city in Obama’s home state of Illinois.

Yes, McCain is a maverick, a maverick to whom the pro-choice Hilary is the same as the anti -abortion slogan bearer Palin. To McCain, there is no difference between one of the most outspoken women in the world and the 2nd year governor from Alaska, a state that barley becomes a topic in the nightly news. Even Sarah Palin herself didn’t understand the huge difference between her and Hilary Clinton. Within hours of her introduction as the next VP, Sarah Palin substantiated McCain’s criteria of VP selection by repeating one of Hilary’s celebrated phrases - “18 million cracks”. What Palin didn’t understand is that, if she swears in as the next vice-president this coming winter, those 18 million cracks will turn into tears for another four winters. As a devoted Evangelical Christian, I applaud Palin’s unwavering anti-abortion stand, but as an American, I don’t vote for her just because we agree on one single issue. The future of America is very important to me because I am a father. I worry about Social Security because that is the last thing that I want to see handled by the private sector. Health Care is always in my mind because as a working father, I want to make sure that I can afford a meaningful health insurance for myself and my family. The future of my children highly depends on the quality of education they get today. I want my children and grand children to breathe clean air and live longer life. I know Senator McCain’s record on many of these issues and have heard him speak on the Environment, Education, Healthcare, and Social Security; to be honest, sometimes, I doubt that McCain’s America is the same as my America.

Readiness to lead is the function of intellectual capacity, judgment, intelligence, experience, character, and toughness in the soul and in the spirit. Both McCain and Obama have all of the above factors, but in different proportions. Senator Barack Obama has a much better judgment and a more developed intellectual thought process than McCain. He is more intelligent, wiser, and charismatic. Both Obama and McCain can handle the 3am calls, the difference is that by the time Obama resolves the problem; McCain is still on the phone. Nothing is important than a quick response for those of us who have a bad memory of September 11 and hurricane Katrina.

Much long after Obama’s first message of change reverberated through the Rockies, the Appalachians, and the Grand Canyon, Senator McCain’s campaign started talking about change. This proves that McCain is a born follower, not a leader. As I mentioned it above, Obama is a vector of change who has a good understanding of things that change, things that don’t change, and the difference between the two. A very important decision awaits us this Fall. We have the opportunity to vote for a change or to sustain the status-quo. If we want to be masters of our destiny, let’s vote for the candidate whose message of hope will be our anchor in the massive waves of the 21st century. As to my self, I am eager to see change, therefore, I vote for Obama!




17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It just puzzels me that the outside world knows in detail about The American politics morethan the politics of their homeland. But we tend to forget at least two recent facts about America 1. that this is is America which elected not once but twice George w. Bush and the Republican party to public office.
2.If you check black and white voter ratio the majority in all 52 states are The whites so what is the prospect of black barack obama beiing elected for white House given these two undisputed facts?

Anonymous said...

NADA!!

Gooch said...

A perhaps unrelated comment...

Most interest groups, the Jewish lobby for example, play both sides of the aisle. That is, they contribute to both candidates, ensuring influence either way.

Of course, the tiny and inexperienced Ethiopia lobby cannot be compared with the rest. But it would be nice if some took the McCain side, just in case!

Anonymous said...

Gooch, can you expand on your last sentence? Do you mean an Ethiopian lobby aligning with John McCain?

Anonymous said...

The opinion of the first blogger throws an idea that when the poeople of the US voted twice to have George Bush in office whether we like it or not agree or disagree with it a 'judjment'was made on their part approving the qualification their leader to lead the nation .depending on which side of the isle you stand , you will certainly have an opinion whether that judjment by the people was fair,correct or wrong or not.In 2008 election yes we may have again unexpected results emenating from the 'judjment'of the people. so at the end of the day what matters is whether a 'rational' decision is going to be made by the people of the USA which we have to wait and see.

Ephrem Madebo said...

As you said, the Jewsh lobby is a very strong group. Yes, they contribute to both parties because to them Republican or Democrat, one fact never changes: America always stands for the Jewsh state. In this election, as a black person I want to send a black candidate to the Whitehouse for the first time (symbolic victory). As an African, I want to give my vote to a man whose father was born less than 500 miles south from where I was born. As an Ethiopian, I want to elect a president whom I believe is easier to lobby than Bush and his alike, and of course who if HR2003 passes the Senate will most probably signs it into law. As an American, I want to elect a democrat because I want to see different economic, social, and environmental policies the next four years. In a democracy you stand together to bring what you want, if you lose, you become a loyal opposition. You can lose as long as there are others who work hard to get what they want. This is the beauty of democracy.

Anonymous said...

McCaine, Albright question Meles regime over expulsions this news came on april 15 2005 during the disputed election in Ethiopia . given this fact, Mr ephrem madebo, I have a question for you does this tell you that senator macaine stands for the status-quo in Ethiopia?

Ephrem Madebo said...

Senator McCain for the most part runs Bushes's war policy. America's blind support of the Meles regime is rooted in this war policy. To see the ugly side of Meles, any leader in the US should differentiate between support for democracy and the war on terror. Bush helped Meles in spite of the mass killings on the streets of Addis because all he wanted was Meles to do the bad job for him. America's fundamental value is promoting democracy; this fundamental value should not be negelected to meet other interests. To answer your question, Yes, McCain will support the status quo in Ethiopia because of his and his party's war policy. By the way, what makes Obama's stand different from McCain is not just that he is a democrat, but his personal unwavering stand on war policies. Any US president should be able to rebuke and say enough is enough, when a leader like Meles kills pro-democracy supporters out on the streets. When such a killer uses foreign military aid to do the killing, the aid needs to stop. Bush didn’t do that, I don’t think McCain would do either. That is why I said McCain stands for the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Now is the right time for All ethiopians to invite both candidates I mean Senator obama and Senator mcaine to an Ethiopian audience and ask them straight forward questions. One of the questions that each one of them should answer is the question of double standard . I will explain what I mean by that when election was conducted recently in Zimbabwe and kenya Generally the west particularly Britain and USA consistelntly demanded that the elections be conducted in a free and fair manner and their diplomats were quick to critisize all kind of harrassment and irregularities in these countries . In the case of Ethiopia their reactions were not as strong as the case of zimbabwe or kenya This is the time to invite both candidates to know their specific views on these matters of election pertaining to Ethiopia .I have heard that Eritreans are preparing to ask these candidates on The border issue whether or not they are ready to put presure on Ethiopia to implement UN court decision after they became presidents.we should also ask each one of the candidates what they will do when they go to the white house with respect to democracy and election in Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

Lazy people always criticize others for their laziness. Ethiopian opposition politicians now blame Bush and Mccain for supporting Meles little did they know that Obama will change that course. While its doesn't need a brain of a 6th grader to figure why America (bush administration) support Meles, people like Mr Madebo missed a basic fact here exposing their little knowledge on how governments function and the games of Politics.

The Bush Administration need only one thing from Meles Zenawi. that is cooperation against Terrorism. As long as Meles cooperates with Bush plans, America can't do anything to harm Meles Zenawi. this is the fact we saw in Pakistan and other dictatorial regims. The American government has always it's interest first and then it will see your interest next. This is not the job of Bush but the senates and the entire working system of the state department. Thinking to bring Obama to the picture and believing this will change is foolishness. Obama is not Jesus. Obama is running for the interest of America and Americans. Only the kingdom of Jesus treats everyone equal and fair.

The other issue i raised on the top of this comment is that, it looks like we are looking for scapegoats for our lazyiness and weakness. Ethiopians are by nature lazy. We don't work hard or fight to the teeth to change things. We either blame America or sit down until God changes something. America would have changed its course if a stronger political Organization or group rose to challenge Meles and his power. all the american administration wants is cooperation and any strong oppositon who cooperates with America would have won a jack pot. But due to the laziness we have in ourselves, we are and will not be capable of overthrowing Meles. Not only that, we thing we are heros by writing articles or going to meetings or demonstrations. It is almost like if you go to meetings and demonstrations and show some strong slogan with the green yellow and red flag wrapping on you, you will be a national hero. that is it. you will be next to Theodros, Yohannes or Minlike.

Both Mccain and Obama serviced their country differently. they both have done magnificent job to their people before we actually see them making speeches. While Ethiopian politicians like Mr. Madebo who created a new political party called Ginbot 7 has done nothing yet to change the course of politics in Ethiopia. These people just want to be leaders. anything that challenges their motive will be send to downfall by their smear campains in the form of articles. luckily , americans don't by Mr. Madebos smear campaign against Mccain. Mr. Madebo and Berehanu Nega, the leaders of Ginbot 7 were distroyers of Kinijit (CUD) just one year ago. now there is nothing to distroy, Mr Madebo moved to distroy the republican party. If they see his article they will say, what is going on with this little nigga. Mr. Madebo, please tell us where Ginbot 7 is now? how far from Addis Ababa. rumors has said it it is 30 kms outside :) keep talking mr. Madebo. Weyane and Meles won't go with your nonesense speeches and articles. Please go to the jungle and the mountains if you thing you can bring change. Creating a political organization is very simple. but making it a real party is another thing. a real party doesn't require speeches and slogans. it needs real men and women. you and dr.Nega are not real men. you are faggets.

Gooch said...

Gooch, can you expand on your last sentence? Do you mean an Ethiopian lobby aligning with John McCain?
Yes, that's what I mean. Ethiopians for Obama and Ethiopians for McCain, just like the Israel lobby.

For what it's worth, I don't think Obama will bring about much change to American policy towards Ethiopia. Most foreign policy analysts predict a gentle shift back to 'realism' and away from Bush's maverick policies. Realism has more of an emphasis on maintaining the status quo and keeping things calm, which means being nice to Meles.

Of course, if the lobby strengthens in numbers and money, then we're talking...

Anonymous said...

Gooch

You are absolutley right we neeed to set up the Ethiopian looby just like the Israel lobby these are grassroot organizations to be formed across the US to influence the outcome of elections at local and federal level. they are also known as political action comitees or PAC'S OR SECTION 527 Organiztions they are lawful and any one can form them .'When an interest group gets directly involved within the political process, a PAC is created. These PACs receive and raise money from the special group's constituents, and on behalf of the special interest, makes donations to political campaigns.'There are left leaning groups and right leaning groups in PAc for a detailed discussion on the subject log on to 'Israel lobby USA 'wikepedia' AND learn more about them.

Anonymous said...

Gooch

You are absolutley right we neeed to set up the Ethiopian looby just like the Israel lobby these are grassroot organizations to be formed across the US to influence the outcome of elections at local and federal level. they are also known as political action comitees or PAC'S OR SECTION 527 Organiztions they are lawful and any one can form them .'When an interest group gets directly involved within the political process, a PAC is created. These PACs receive and raise money from the special group's constituents, and on behalf of the special interest, makes donations to political campaigns.'There are left leaning groups and right leaning groups in PAc for a detailed discussion on the subject log on to 'Israel lobby USA 'wikepedia' AND learn more about them.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Anonymous (12:09am),
I am not a politician, I’m just a citizen involved in the politics of my country. What I wrote about Bush-Meles cooperation is exactly the same with what you wrote. I may always miss what should have been said, but I’m not sure what I missed from what you said. This is what I said:
“To see the ugly side of Meles, any leader in the US should differentiate between support for democracy and the war on terror. Bush helped Meles in spite of the mass killings on the streets of Addis because all he wanted was Meles to do the bad job for him. America's fundamental value is promoting democracy; this fundamental value should not be neglected to meet other interests”
There is a strong current economic relationship and future economic and scientific interest between the US and China, but the US always has a powerful word on China’s human rights abuse. I strongly agree with the Anonymous who made a comment on “double standard”. See http://thenewsouth.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_archive.html The US has a different standard for African, European, and Asian countries, and this is true regardless of who is in the Whitehouse. When the US quietly let Ethiopia go into the strange Eastern bloc, the man in the Whitehouse was democrat Jimmy Carter. The Ethiopian lobby group must fight this kind of double standard and should approach both democrats and republicans equally. We Ethiopians should balance our need here in the US and the need of our country. We have to support any political candidate who on the average satisfies our double need (here and back home). It is unlikely to see any candidate that fully satisfies our double needs because after all America always has its own interest. Currently, we are blindly aligned with the democrats and we as a political block are predictable. When we are so predictable no political candidate (republican or democrat) will approach us seeking our vote; and if they don’t approach us they will be reluctant to do what we need them to do. The other problem is that our lobby group itself is not well organized, financially not stable, and immature in the highly complicated world of lobbying.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to see that you are still at it - and I mean the politics. I would like for a talent like yours focus more on Ethiopia and/or Ethiopia-related issues and concepts. Some of the stuff you wrote lately sounds like you are double talking your way...
Honestly, you are a much more effective communicator when you speak directly but the choice obviously is up to you. If you stay focused, I can only hope you will, on what you know matters most, you can help Ethiopia a lot. I may have more comment coming. Just copied your two articles for off-line viewing.

Take Care

Ephrem Madebo said...

Anonymous (7.54pm),

Thanks for the advice; but I fail to accept or to even consider your proposition. I don’t write because I know I write because I want to know. I leave in the US and I raise my son here in the US, therefore, I don’t want to leave everything to others. I want to participate in everything that affects my life and my son’s futurity. One of the effective ways of working for Ethiopia outside Ethiopia is to participate in the political process of the countries we leave in and use all open channels to force law makers to influence dictators in our land.

Gooch said...

More on U.S. foreign policy...

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/2008%20-%20Winter/full-without-exception.html

It's a long article, but puts to rest all the myths...