As we watch and listen to the candidates for President, we find ourselves befuddled by what they say from week to week. Senator Hillary Clinton wants to be thought the best leader for the Democratic party while she repeatedly compromises her democratic principles in an effort to gain the votes of dissatisfied Republicans. The only issue on which she has spoken clearly and unequivocally is the management of the health care crises. There again, she appears to be wary of alienating any stray Republicans by recommending requirement for everybody to buy insurance rather than by suggesting ways to either lower the cost or to set up a program for the poor that will really work.
At the same time, Senator Barack Obama can only second the Clinton plan with a bit of softening around the harsh edges. Of course, Senator John McCain has not even addressed the problem since he "prefers to concentrate on national security" by becoming a virtual echo chamber for the Bush/Cheney propaganda. It does seem odd that a man who has prided himself on his reputation as a "maverick" should be strutting around with the wardogs and snarling at the very people whom he is asking to vote for him. Even in his speech regarding the economy, he advocates doing virtually nothing whereas on the war, he promises only to stay in Iraq for generations.
While Senator Clinton has spent years in the Senate, complaining about the Iraq War and the arrogance of President Bush, she now professes to believe that we cannot end the war without leaving troops in place for the indeterminate future. She laments the fact that she did not know then what she knows now when she voted to give the President the authority to use force against Iraq, or she "might have voted differently." Perhaps she now knows that no member of a legislative body should ever vote for any measure without having thoroughly read it first. The same is true with the USA Patriot Act for which she has dutifully marched in lockstep to renew on command.
She professes great experience that fits her for the supreme command. It would seem that most of her experience is in campaigning for public office, largely on behalf of her husband. Your friendly neighborhood neurologist is probably married, but would you ask his wife to do your brain surgery? If that sort of experience counts, I can recall several former First Ladies who would have made much better candidates. As for Barack Obama, his brief experience in public office is troubling, but it is easy to believe that his heart is in the concerns that he expresses. His demand for "change" is well received but the specifics will have to wait until we learn to what "experts" he intends to listen in formulating his own policies.
We would really like to know what their specific ideas are for re-forming and re-regulating our economic system in order to correct the madness which has brought the entire nation to the brink of bankruptcy. We would appreciate it if Senator Clinton would explain why she is so determined that it is necessary to keep troops in Iraq to "protect our Embassy," that huge municipal complex which many of us believe should be left as reparations for the Iraqis in return for the cities and the homes that we have destroyed in this ill-begotten adventure. What would be the attitude of Senator Obama to that proposal?
We, the voters, want to know what they think of the usurpation of powers by the current president; whether they would restore the constitutional division of power among the three branches of government; whether they would take advantage of the measures that have been taken by George W. Bush which would make the new president a virtual dictator; whether they would take steps to end the loss of our civil rights regarding wire-tapping, internet monitoring, and other intrusions into our personal lives. These are vital questions to many of us and the answers are extremely important, not only in the general election but now, in the primaries.
For years, we have gritted our teeth as the Republicans challenged the Democrats to "present a plan" as they opposed the policies of the Bush administration. Now we, the people, would like to suggest the same thing. Regardless of the ultimate winner of the Democratic Convention, these questions will be asked and there must be some answers. The voters have a right to know what to expect the next President to do once he/she takes office, and we could use the same information while making our choice as to whom to support in their primary candidacy.
Failure to do so could cause quite a stir as the Christian right finds that their prayers are having to "take a number" as the Most High is busy fielding all the prayers from the Democrats that someone they can trust will appear as the leader of a viable third party who can beat them all and steer our country out of the shame of the last seven years and return it to the honorable nation which we have loved so dearly.