Friday, 7 March 2008

Obama vs Clinton

Now that the dust has settled down after the Texas and Ohio primaries, I'd like to add my thoughts to the huge volume that have already been aired.

1. There is a major difference between the Obama and Clinton campaigns that needs highlighting more prominently. Where is the money coming from and what will the donors expect from their investment? With over 1 million small donors Barack Obama's campaign is fueled by the desire of Americans to get away from the corporate ownership of government. Where is Hillary's money coming from? How many lobbyists are involved in fund-raising for her ? A Clinton administration will mean more of the same with policy decisions being driven by big-money interests.

2. Open government. After 8 years of the most secretive government in recent times and a massive extension of Executive power, how much is either candidate prepared to roll it back and restore the influence of Congress? Obama's website makes it clear that open government and high ethical standards will be a priority. What will Hillary Clinton do with all that power? I haven't read that she intends to restore the balance of powers. What about the secrecy surrounding her White House papers and tax returns.

3. First Lady or First 'Laddie'. This is another key difference which should be pushed. How will Hillary control Bill in the White House? How much influence will he hold in the partnership? After all, she is claiming that the eight years of his presidency counts as Executive experience for her. Will this turn out to be a third term for Bill? I must admit, I am really uncomfortable with the dynastic appearance of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, and who knows, another Bush in eight years time.

4. Iraq. I know that Obama has been hammering this but he shouldn't let Hillary get away with the 'one speech' comment. This was a momentous decision which was made, just before the Congressional elections in 2002 to try and make the Democrats look 'weak on terror' if they voted against it. Obama should highlight this as a real weakness in Hillary that she didn't have the courage of her convictions and could be bullied by the administration. To highlight how important this decision was, I see that the Bush Administration is now claiming that the resolution now gives them permission to sign a treaty with Iraq without Congressional approval.

5. Dignity. With all of the negative campaigning that has gone on in the past few weeks, Obama would still command the respect of Hillary's supporters in the presidential campaign. I'm not sure if the reverse would be true as Hillary follows the Rove playbook. I'm reading a lot of disillusioned Democratic supporters at the moment who could stay home if she somehow prevails.

6. America's standing in the world. After 8 years of the trashing of the USA's reputation, Obama holds the greatest hope in restoring it. I know we can't vote in the coming election but the result will have a major influence on us all. Obama represents a clean break from the past while Hillary, while reversing a lot of the damage, will mean a continuation of the partisanship or American politics.

We, in Australia, had our own change of course last November. Let's hope that America can do the same in this.

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