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The Politics of Codependency

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Message Jayne Stahl
When Barack Obama warns that a vote for John McCain is a vote for a third term of George W. Bush, he's not speaking figuratively. However hard he might appear to try, McCain can't seem to be able to shake Bush. The Arizona senator's plans for the economy, health care, his foreign policy, or war plan, are almost identical to that of the current president. He's even going along with off shore drilling. A McCain presidency will come about as close to cloning Dolly the Sheep as humanly possible.

Indeed, the relationship between Republican presumptive presidential nominee and his President is more than merely symbiotic, it is one of textbook codependency, a maladaptive, obsessive behavior acquired in order to survive in an emotionally turbulent and chaotic environment.

After all, what is it if not compulsive after five years of nonstop combat for a prospective commander-in-chief to say "I know how to win wars." He'd better---at the rate of $10 billion a month! With all the foreclosures, job cuts, the fall of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, and predicted volatility in the banking industry, we may need that $10 billion a month just to bail out the FDIC.

So, save us from any presidential candidate who claims to be strong on national security while, at the same time, going along with an economic policy that is bound to perpetuate an unstable housing, and financial market, as well as an shaky global economy. How pray tell, can that possibly be good for national security? Unless, of course, Sen. McCain's plan is for economic isolationism. If so, someone ought to tell him it's a little late for that---after all, we're not only dependent on the Middle East for oil, we are China's biggest debtor after the second largest banking failure in U.S. history, and a cash-eating bacteria is quickly spreading from Wall Street to the global markets.
We may not have learned much, over the past several years, but we've learned one thing.  We now know how to say "national security" in Chinese---John McCain!

Oh, and the Republican candidate boasts of supporting the surge in the face of mounting evidence it was effective. There's only one problem with his logic, as Barack Obama has deftly shown, we're "winning" the war in the wrong battlefield. Senator McCain doesn't want an exit strategy--he wants to continue an irrelevant war, one that the puppet leadership itself now considers an occupation.

And if, as Mitt Romney suggests, McCain invented the surge, bragging about that is the equivalent of bragging about inventing bait and switch!

To think you've accomplished victory in combat when you're in the wrong battlefield is like a surgeon who declares an amputation a success after being told he amputated the wrong limb. Bottom line: can McCain say he knows how to win wars if he needs a map to find them?
If you want good foreign policy--show people some return for their money.

What does the average working man and woman have to show for the past eight years we've had a Republican in the White House? The overwhelming majority, 270 million, have seen our annual income decline while the upper one percent has seen its income grow astronomically, by 650% since 1975. LBJ's "war on poverty" was transformed into GWB's "war on terror" which, as Senator Obama rightly says, was never a war at all, but what looks increasingly like a failed effort to gain leverage in a region that contains the vast majority of the world's oil.

Not that I think foreign policy should come down to who is better at target practice, mind you, but it would help if one didn't have to consult Thomas Guide before taking the wheel. And, apart from his willingness to dialogue with those who might otherwise harm us, Obama combines the charm, wit, and eloquence of JFK with the political shrewdness, and dealmaker savvy, of LBJ, an unbeatable combination.

But, don't let the mainstream media fool you. This election isn't about who will make the best commander-in-chief in Iraq, any more than it is about race. After all, we're the progeny of another global adventurist, Christopher Columbus, who didn't have a sense of direction either and who would, no doubt, also be hunting down Al Qaeda in Iraq.

This election isn't about photo ops, and comfort zones, either. It's as simple as this---are you better off today than you were eight years ago? If your answer is yes, then vote for John McCain, and give this executive, George W. Bush, the privilege of claiming permanent incumbency and, guaranteed, you won't be dancing in the streets eight years from now.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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