Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A president to trust, be proud of


Except for the 20-some percent of voters who remain blindly loyal to modern history's worst U.S. president and vice president, most Americans desperately want relief from the long nightmare of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Without regret or shame, Bush and Cheney implemented kidnapping and human cruelty as policy, gave the United States the global image of a reckless gunslinger, desecrated the Constitution, enriched undeserving corporate cronies while forcing most Americans into financial austerity, willingly trashed the planet's environment, corrupted the real meaning of patriotism, created the world's largest debtor nation, frightened Americans with fabricated tales of terrorist threats that never materialize, filled government offices with incompetents whose chief skills are loyalty to overbearing dogma and bogus "faith," and committed other acts so flagrantly outrageous the next president will require years to untangle the ruin of the Bush-Cheney years.

Which brings us to the sort of president the nation desperately needs—a president Americans can be proud of and trust.

Hillary Clinton surely isn't in that mold. Her disgraceful attempt to turn "hard-working Americans, white Americans" against a black candidate is indicative of a corrupt character. Her continued, pointless campaigning isn't courageous tenacity, just vengeful vanity. And New York Times columnist Bob Herbert reminds us of tacky Clintons' removing White House furniture for themselves when they departed, her brothers' collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars to help engineer Bill's pardons of criminals, and secrecy that creates distrust.

Neither would John McCain be a source of pride or trust. McCain has tastelessly traded on his POW status 30 years ago as a litmus test for the presidency. It isn't. The real measure is conduct in his post-Navy years. His temper is vile. His flip-flop opportunism and lies for political gain are notorious. He'd continue killing in Iraq, possibly even attack Iran, simply to nourish the rightwing obsession that war is essential to national machismo. He promises more conservative judges to prolong Bush's shredding of civil liberties. McCain's vulgar hostility in the Senate makes him ill-equipped to end years of ugly partisanship that has stalled progress on vital social and economic legislation.

Which brings us to Barack Obama.

Obama has demonstrated indisputable decency that's alien to McCain and Clinton and is urgently needed in the next presidency.

His uplifting vision for America also has intensified his appeal to, and hopes of, a nation exhausted by Washington's paralyzing us-against-them fighting and political avarice.

While campaigning, Clinton and McCain have shown their preference. They'd continue the raw politics of the loathsome Bush-Cheney years.

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