Obama's America vs. McCain's America: Ten Reasons Undecideds Should Choose Obama
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
Sources you'll hear include: the New
York Times, the Washington Post, the websites of Barack Obama and John McCain,
aflcio.org, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, commondreams.org,
thinkprogress.org, Yahoo News, and CNN.
Usually on Blast The Right you hear
me condemn right-wing ideology and policies.
Not only the theory, but the negative effect of right-wing rule on
Then the idea is, you use the
information to win the water cooler wars, to "blast the right."
With just about a month to go before
the election, arguing with right-wingers isn't the most productive use of your
time now, I don't think.
This presidential election could well
be razor-tight. The polls
consistently indicate that 4-8% of the electorate says they're undecided.
And what really struck me, up to a total of 18%
say they could still change their mind.
In other words, they're persuadable.
The undecideds and persuadables
aren't guided by ideology or party loyalty.
Or else they already would have firmly settled on a candidate.
So in this podcast I'm going to set
out Ten Reasons undecideds and persuadables should choose Obama, hopefully in a
way undecideds and persuadables will find convincing.
A bit softer than my usual style.
Remember, in addition to the audio of
this show, there's a transcript available on the Blast The Right home
page, in case you want to send all or part of it to an undecided voter you
OK, I'm going to start off with the
broadest issues, and then work my way down to more specific areas of voter
Reason number one has to do with the
overarching question, what's the proper role of government?
Ronald Reagan famously declared:
I've always felt the nine
most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and
I'm here to help.'
Government is the enemy.
Grover Norquist is a long-time
Republican strategy guru, a Reaganite. He
the right-wing goal is to shrink government down to the size where you can drown
it in the bathtub.
One way to do that is, in his
terminology, to "starve the beast."
Drastically cutting taxes, and
running up huge deficits, are two ways the right-wing works to starve the
To deny government the revenue it
needs to function, except for functions like the Defense Department.
Government as a leveler of the
playing field? As a positive force
for good? As a provider of a safety
net for our fellow citizens who have fallen?
Forget about it.
Present day head cheerleader for the
Reagan Revolution, Rush Limbaugh, has no shame in boasting:
Roosevelt is dead.
His policies may live on, but we're in the process of doing something
about that as well.
Roosevelt's entire New Deal and its
later offspring -- Social Security, Medicare, student loans, the Environmental
Protection Agency -- all that kind of government activity -- the Reagan
Revolution wants to destroy.
What's this got to do with McCain?
McCain is no moderate, as many people
John McCain often proudly says
that he began his political career as "a foot soldier in the Reagan
And there he remains, as you'll see.
If you're undecided, or not sure
you're who you're going to vote for, please ask yourself: do you want to
continue the process of destroying the New Deal?
Destroying social security and all the other important programs that help
the average citizen like yourself?
If so, McCain would be your choice,
because that's the direction he'd take the country.
If not, if you believe in a positive
government role to assist the average citizen, level the playing field, vote for
Now let's get into some details.
As you'll see, much of what follows
flows from this anti-government, government is not capable of being, shouldn't
be a force for good, philosophy. It
permeates McCain's positions.
Reason number two to support Obama is
the all-important Supreme Court. Among
other things, it decides which laws are constitutional, which aren't.
The Supreme Court, to quote
one legal scholar, currently "sits on a knife's edge."
There's a 4-4 liberal-conservative
split, with Justice Anthony Kennedy a swing vote.
The next president will replace two,
possibly three Supreme Court justices.
John McCain states
right on his website that he would appoint more justices like Samuel Alito and
John Roberts. Ultra-conservatives.
Reagan Revolution types.
A President McCain could produce a
6-3, or even 7-2, solidly right-wing court.
Why is that dangerous?
A McCain right-wing Supreme Court
would use its power to further the anti-government agenda of the Reagan
It'll do so by interpreting the
Constitution in a way that severely curtails the power of the federal
Mr. McCain’s justices
are likely to join the conservative crusade against the power of Congress. They
could be expected to strike down, or sharply limit, federal power to protect
clean air and water; ensure food and drug safety; safeguard workers; and
prohibit discrimination against women and minorities. They would also likely
further erode the separation between church and state. [source]
And of course there's a woman's right
to choose. That's a whole separate
reason, up next.
Hillary Clinton in her speech to the
Democratic Convention, said
the Supreme Court was already in a right-wing headlock.
A President McCain would make things
A President Obama, on the other hand,
would appoint justices who would allow the federal government to play a positive
role in our national life.
Reason number three, as I just said,
is the very fate of a woman's right to choose, reproductive choice.
on his website, John McCain states that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
Some people think McCain is
pro-choice. He doesn't go around
trumpeting his anti-choice position. But
that's where he firmly stands.
And McCain will appoint justices who will
"lead the charge to eliminate the right to abortion."
To safeguard a woman's right to
choose, it's President Obama you want to see elected.
Up next: how Obama and McCain compare
on economic issues. Stick around.
The fourth reason to support Obama is
Nearly two-thirds of Americans think
the rich pay too little in taxes.
McCain should definitely not be their
McCain wants to make the system even
more unfair. He would continue
Bush's tax cuts, which disproportionately favor
Obama stands in direct contrast.
He's for a more fair tax system.
We're all in this together, one
country, and the rich should pay their fair share.
Obama's tax plan would increase taxes
on the richest 3-5% of Americans who make more
than $200,000 filing singly, $250,000 married.
The vast majority of working
Americans would enjoy a tax reduction in the form of a credit against their
Also, very important: Obama, unlike
McCain, would retain the estate tax. Right-wingers
call the estate tax the death tax. That's
a deliberately misleading name. Everyone
dies, but less than 1% of
Americans wind up paying an estate tax. That's because it only applies if you
leave millions behind. That's why
it's called an estate tax.
Choosing Obama means tax fairness,
McCain fairness only for the wealthy.
Continuing on with the theme of
economic fairness, you have the federal minimum wage law, reason number five.
The minimum wage law has proven to be
one of the most effective means to enable the working poor to lift themselves
out of poverty and into the working class.
The effect of the minimum wage also
ripples upwards a few steps of the economic ladder, increasing wages there as
Most Americans recognize the bedrock
morality of establishing a floor on how low wages can go.
consistently support raising the minimum wage when it falls behind inflation.
But McCain and the Republicans have
been no friends to the minimum wage. To
say the least.
Right-wing ideology would prefer to
have no minimum wage laws at all. Such
laws are, in the conservative view, an unwarranted intrusion on the market
Republicans vehemently opposed the
first minimum wage law passed during the New Deal.
Like all of Roosevelt's policies that
Limbaugh wants to kill, the minimum wage is constantly under attack by
Republicans in Congress.
For 10 years, while in control of
Congress, Republicans refused to raise the minimum wage.
According to the AFL-CIO, in 2007
for a measure that would have repealed minimum wage laws in at least 45 states.
Other times McCain has only agreed to
support an increase in the minimum wage when provisions were included to weaken
enforcement of the law.
On the other hand, raising the
minimum wage was one of the first goals that Democrats accomplished
in their first 100 days in control of the Congress in 2007.
Obama continues in that tradition of
supporting this crucial piece of New Deal legislation.
would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011.
Critically, he would index it to inflation, so that in the future
increases would be automatic, and couldn't easily be blocked by hostile
Republicans. Like John McCain.
Reason number 6 is related:
If minimum wage laws lift workers out
of poverty and into the working class, then unions are one of the main vehicles
that allow Americans to leap out of the working class and enjoy a middle class
level of comfort.
Unions fight for, and have achieved,
higher wages, increased benefits and improved working conditions for Americans
across the nation.
Unfortunately, these days you may
intuitively feel that the rich are getting richer, and everyone else is getting
One reason for this growing
inequality is the successful 27 year campaign against labor unions by the Reagan
Revolution, which John McCain brags he's a foot soldier in.
There's now a $4
billion union-busting industry.
John McCain is no moderate here
either, but a good Reagan Revolution foot soldier.
Labor's main goal in recent years has
been to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It
would prevent employers from intimidating workers
when they're deciding whether to form a union or not.
John McCain voted against
the Employee Free Choice Act.
In fact, you should know that McCain
has a 17 per cent lifetime AFL-CIO rating.
If you want fairness in the labor
market, and a strong middle class, you'll want to support Obama.
He's a sponsor
of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Obama has a 98%
favorable voting record with the AFL-CIO.
That's why harshly anti-union
all its managers recently against a Democratic victory.
Who's on the side of the working man
and woman? On the side of fairness
in our society?
OK, reason number seven to support
Obama is health care.
Tens of millions of Americans lack
health insurance. Tens of millions
more have insurance but it's inadequate.
The government estimates that lack of
health insurance kills 18,000
Americans every year because of late diagnosis or inadequate treatment.
You may be one of the vast majority
of Americans who believes the government should guarantee health care for all
Barack Obama agrees, but John McCain
That's expected to lead many
employers to drop health care benefits.
A recent study estimates 20 million
Americans would lose employer coverage under McCain's plan.
McCain would then offer individuals a
tax credit of $2500, families $5000, to secure insurance in the private market.
Insurance costs far more than that,
over twice as much.
Even worse: if you're already sick,
insurers can deny coverage. McCain
proposes a high-risk pool to cover those denied, but doesn't provide adequate
funding for it.
McCain's plan is a disaster.
The study says it will
“almost certainly… increase family costs for medical care.”
Bob Herbert wrote in the New York
This entire McCain health
insurance transformation is right out of the right-wing Republicans’
ideological playbook: fewer regulations; let the market decide; and send
unsophisticated consumers into the crucible alone. [source]
On the other hand, Obama's plan
just builds on the current system. It
essentially sets up a Medicare-type plan, publicly run, that anyone, employer or
individual, can buy into. But if
you're happy with your current insurance, you can keep that.
Subsidies would be available to make
sure low and moderate income families can afford insurance.
The plan details how the subsidies would be funded.
Remember, when it came time last year
to vote on providing millions of children health care, Obama voted yes, but
McCain voted no.
That's a good indication of what the
effect would be of their respective overall health care plans.
Stay tuned to hear the remaining Top
Ten reasons, and a summary comparison of Obama's America vs. McCain's America.
Your eighth reason to prefer Obama
over McCain, involves another New Deal legacy that right-wingers and McCain are
hostile to. I'm talking about the
federal regulatory agencies.
Such problems result when the starve
the beast strategy is used. The
federal agencies designed to protect Americans, like the Food and Drug
Administration, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, are systematically
under-funded and shrunk down by right-wingers in Congress.
Remember, these agencies have to be
drowned in the bathtub, as part of the Reagan Revolution that McCain's a proud
Oh, and all this anti-regulatory
fervor includes the financial system.
Lack of adequate regulations or
enforcement of existing regulations, is a major cause of the present-day
himself as fundamentally a deregulator and he has no history prior to the
presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment
Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased
capital and financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting, and tax
impediments to raising capital.
I am less government, less regulation, lower taxes.
We need less government. We
need less regulation.
Even after the present day crisis
developed, McCain has no regrets, as he told
the program 60 Minutes:
In 1999, you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of
Wall Street. Do you regret that now?
Well, I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our
[W]e're also going to have to look at, how is it that we shredded so many regulations? We did not set up a 21st-century regulatory framework to deal with these problems. And that in part has to do with an economic philosophy that says that regulation is always bad.
The next to last reason to support
Obama, builds on all the prior reasons. As
you've seen, the best policies in the areas I spoke about, are Democratic
policies. Regardless of who's
elected, the Democrats will control Congress.
And can pass good legislation to help the average American.
But if McCain is president, he can
veto those bills. It then will take
a two-thirds majority in each house to override McCain's veto.
And that's very difficult to achieve.
So having a President Obama will
ensure that good legislation actually gets signed into law.
The final reason I'll suggest that
Obama is a far better choice than McCain, involves the ultimate issue: war and
After the Iraq disaster, one would
expect prudence and caution from a leader.
But listen to McCain in January at a
town hall meeting:
McCain more wars
This is a tough war we're
in. It's not going to be over right
away. There's going to be other
wars. I'm sorry to tell you,
there's going to be other wars.
McCain didn't say we may have another
war, singular. Or even that we may
have more wars, plural.
No, he's certain that there will be
other wars, plural.
I wonder which countries he already
has in mind?
Does McCain even take war seriously?
That old Beach Boys song,
"Bomb Iran"? Bomb, bomb,
The psychology of McCain here is
scary: can you in your wildest nightmares imagine Obama having such a cavalier
If you're concerned about McCain's
cavalier attitude towards war, his almost war-mongering persona, you're not
alone. A recent poll
found that 63% of the American public was worried that when problems arise with
other countries, McCain will be too quick to take military action.
War and peace -- Obama's the best bet
here as well.
Ok, you've heard a lot in my
Let me quickly paint you a summary
picture, McCain's America vs. Obama's America.
In McCain's America, from the
President on down, it's assumed government should be diminished in size and
influence at all costs. The Supreme
Court will be all too happy to go along with that view, striking down laws
enacted by Congress to help the average American.
Abortion will be made illegal.
Taxes on the wealthy will continue to
be reduced, leaving the rest of us to increasingly shoulder the burden.
The minimum wage will stagnate, sending more and more workers into
poverty. Anti-union efforts will
proceed apace, further weakening the American middle class.
Tens of millions of Americans will
remain without adequate health care, and that problem will get worse.
Federal regulatory agencies will fail
to protect our food, drugs, consumer products, air and water.
Not to mention our financial system.
And, in President McCain's own words,
there will be other wars.
Now please envision this reality:
In Obama's America, from the
President on down, there will be an understanding that the government has a
positive role to play, that duly elected representatives can and should enact
measures to help and protect the public. The
Supreme Court will decide cases with such an understanding of the Constitution
A woman's right to choose will be
The tax system will be fixed so that
the wealthy pay their fair share, lessening the burden on everyone else.
The minimum wage will be raised and millions escape poverty.
Unions will be supported by the government, not attacked, and the middle
class will grow.
A national health care plan will
ensure that every American has adequate medical care.
Federal regulatory agencies will do a
better job in protecting our food, drugs, consumer products, air and water.
The financial system will be adequately monitored, our economy
And President Obama will protect our
nation by relegating war to an absolute last resort.
Which America do you want?