From the beginning, this blog has functioned as my personal conversation with whoever out there bothers to stop by and take part--a conversation about books, movies, the media, writing, politics, ranch life, and whatever other aspects of our world catch my attention. I've tried to be scrupulously honest with you about what's going on with me.
In that spirit, I have to report that, although I've been a supporter of Barack Obama's candidacy for the Democratic nomination ever since John Edwards dropped out of the race, as of yesterday, I have a professional, financial interest (not a huge interest, but an interest nonetheless) in Obama's winning the nomination. It's pretty much a given at this point, anyway, and that interest does not extend to him winning the White House (although I'd like to see that, too). But I didn't want anyone complaining, whenever the announcement of what that interest is can be made, that I've been plugging Obama because I hoped to profit from his win. That's simply not the case. At any rate, the nomination will probably be locked up by June 3, so it's only for a short while that I will be both promoting Obama's candidacy and expecting to profit from same (and no, should you wonder, it's not that I've made a bet--I might, but who'd be sucker enough to take Hillary at this point?).
But speaking of Obama, I have to add my voice to the general outcry over the sheer slimy repulsiveness of George Bush's use of an address to Israel's Knesset on the occasion of that country's 60th anniversary to compare Obama to Nazi appeasers. Bush's exact quote, in case you've missed it, was: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
It's long been customary that American presidents would not engage in partisan politics on foreign soil--that the presidency is bigger than that, even if the man is not. Bush has long since demonstrated his utter lack of shame, so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised at this shameless breach of etiquette.
But he's also wrong on the facts. Perhaps it explains much that he doesn't know the difference between appeasement and diplomacy--between realistic engagement and the tough-guy fantasies underlying the moral and physical cowardice that have defined his life. That lack of understanding is probably responsible for his administration making the worst foreign policy decisions in American history--decisions leading directly to a strengthened (although no threat to America yet) Iran and a more powerful and dangerous fundamentalist Islamic world. His brand of foreign policy has made us less safe, and still he pretends that it's Obama who's a danger. And that's not even taking into account the disastrous impact of his domestic policy. We've never had a president who has done so much damage to the nation in so many ways. Impeachment isn't good enough for him. He should be shunned, stripped of his citizenship, and forced to make his own way in a world where his family's wealth and connections don't protect him.
Bringing America back--if it can be done at all--will be a big job for whoever follows Bush. McCain can't do it--he has already jumped on the appeasement train (if in fact he's not the engineer, and Bush not just repeating talking points provided for him by McCain's campaign), and he is too close to Bush in the fundamentals to reverse the decline of the past 8 years. President Obama will have his hands full. John Edwards as Attorney General could help--just imagine how hard experienced trial lawyer Edwards and former professor of constitutional law Obama would work to turn around the attacks Bush & co. have made on our constitution, the degradation of the Justice Department, and the system of checks and balances that give equal weight to the three branches of government. (Should President-elect Obama solicit my advice, which seems highly unlikely, I'll also suggest the nomination of Bruce Springsteen to a cabinet-level position as Secretary of the Arts.)
There's a point in time common to freelancers--when you know there's a check coming in the mail, but each day you check the mailbox and it's not quite there yet, and you really, really need it. That's how I feel about America right now. There's change on the wind, but we still have to put up with eight months of Bush before it arrives.