01 October 2007

speaking of abortion (and everything else)


As expected, it appears likely that Clinton will be winning the 08 election. I was not under any delusional expectation (or necessity) that a GOP candidate would win, but if the religious wackos aren't going to vote for them, they have no chance of winning. On the one hand that's a good thing. Abortion is an overrated political issue with minimal importance. It is a highly discussed powder keg with extremist viewpoints evolving over it, but those extremist points are basically functionally impossible to deploy politically. For whatever issues I'd have with Rudy, and there are many, he at least gets this one right. But he'd have to suffer for it by disposing of a large caucus of votes to some independent party. Not that that large disaffected swing vote was going his way either (I certainly am waiting for a legitimate 3rd party to emerge here myself rather than vote for the events of September 11th candidate). Plus the media needs to rename 'pro-abortion' as 'pro-choice'. And 'anti-abortion' as 'anti-choice'. Those are the only legitimate names on this issue.

But on the other hand, Hillary is just more of the same disguised as a rollout of social entitlement programs. To be fair, her stances on issues are on issues that are of great concern. But her stances are either out-right wrong or at best incomplete solutions to those real issues that Americans have. Her solutions are temporary bandages that buy votes but do not in any way resolve the underlying issues. Health care? Let the government pay for it. How does that resolve the issues Americans have there? No price competitive advantages, no independent incentives for quality of care, no incentive for Americans to take care of their own bodies in a modicum of effort. Not a solution. Retirement and savings? Give money to newborns. How are these to be established with a stringent rise in taxes and still few if any incentives for private investment? Oh sure, the kids will get money for college or a first house, but without some lookouts and lockouts on that program, I'd be very worried about fraud and yet another government bureaucracy creeping and presiding over American's futures. Plus it distributes money to people irrespective of whether they need it or have developed any firm idea on how to responsibly use it. Environmental issues? Tax carbon? I'll not get into that one. But suffices to say, it's not a solution either.

And finally, and most important to someone like me who has a defined view of what the President does, or should be doing, she has zero good ideas on foreign policy. None. Her husband clearly had no idea what he was doing internationally, although he was swift to take credit for things that he didn't actually resolve, and I have seen nothing which implies she would be any different from her votes or her speeches relating to foreign policy. Running without a plan or a model of what they want the world to look like in relation to their country is not a effective way to run the government. Bush doesn't know what he's doing either; actually nobody has had a good, clear idea since the old Cold War mentality lost it's usefulness. But simply replacing one very dumb idea with no ideas isn't a solution.

I'm not opposed on the basis that she's a she. I'm not opposed on the basis that she's a Democrat. I'm opposed because she's not a good candidate. Unfortunately there is no one with well-defined and agreeable positions capable of opposing her. We need more parties with more views and some actual ideas. Or we're screwed.

Here's what we need as nation as far as national ideas:
Free exchange of ideas pertaining to social issues; poverty, racism, etc. This was perhaps one of the few good ideas the first Clinton administration had.
Strong incentives, both negative and positive, for more energy efficient and less wasteful society. Get back to the strong conservationist messages of the 80s and get away from the lightning rod of stupidity known as Al Gore.
Strong incentives, both negative and positive, for more healthy citizenry by encouraging people to make healthier choices in a proactive manner. Not by paying for it when they screw up their bodies.-- I've discussed most of these changes in regulation and taxation and so forth at length for both issues.
Reduction of the importance of lobbying by expanding the base of political activism in the general public. Making it easier for smaller parties to run on single issues would also help, but a major candidate isn't going to voice this idea.
Reform the tax code into something sensible, fair (I don't care if it's even or flat, but make sure the loopholes are actually pertinent to a sizable portion of the populace, the rich will want decreased taxes in exchange for losing out on the precious loopholes), and which encourages savings and investment/entrepreneurship rather than spending. Expanding the base of people who do investing in any amounts privately or through their employer is also important here. Rather than hearing about evil greedy stock traders and corporations getting rich, we should be hearing about evil, greedy Americans.
Reforming education by placing a premium on school choices, or at least allow the money to follow the children rather than the other way around. Also reforming away from standardization, creationism, federalized schools, and heavy premiums on science and math to the expense of socially or culturally useful coursework. Science and math are important, but so are civics, music, and foreign languages. Reforming schools to place higher value on vocational training and accelerated learning. If schools would stop repeating the previous year's study for the first six months, kids might be able to get what they need to get by socially by middle school anyway.
As far as foreign policy, here's what we need. Strong stance on anti-terrorism is achieved not by standing as a monolith with a sign saying 'hate us' on our country. What we need is both the ability to strike at the weeds, and the ability to strike at the roots. That second issue is ignored when we ignore the cultural and social realities in other lands. Using multi-lateral fronts, such as employing China in the DRPK situation helps. Finding the problems that inspire strife, division, and general discord. Ignoring world opinion and suppressing brutal regimes by replacing them with one of our own is not a viable solution. Disagreeably, the UN needs reform too, it is outdated and often a useless, clumsy instrument of foreign policy.

Poverty is a main weapon of our enemies here. Strictly speaking this is not resolved by spreading American democracy or capitalism abroad. Democracy does not work without a strong base of middle class establishment created by well-regulated capitalism. And capitalism does not work when trade is imbalanced and labor is frozen by non-upwardly mobile status. We need broader trade agreements which tackle the migration of cheap labor by steadily improving the conditions of that labor force and stemming the flow of that labor by breaking down mercantile governments.

As far as abortion, I'll go with the Kang/Kodos saying "no abortions for anyone.. boooo.. .abortions for everyone.. .booo... very well, no abortions for some, and abortions for others" And then I'll go home because I don't care beyond that.
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