It's time for Hillary to quitPosted Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at 9:48 AM
It would be nice to see the presidential campaign between the Democratic and Republican nominees get started.
Which means, of course, that Hillary has got to quit. She's starting to remind me of the black knight from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," who refused to quit even after both arms and both legs had been hacked off by King Arthur.
Yes, she's going to win big in W. Virginia (the balloting took place yesterday), but if she has any kind of good judgement she'll know she's missed her chance this time around and if she wants to have any future chance, she'll stop now.
Right now she's about $20 million in debt for her campaign (and this is the person who wants to balance the federal budget?). That means there are people out there who have provided $20 million in goods and services to her who haven't gotten paid. And most of those are those very "working class" voters she's trying to reach.
Try and collect on a failed political campaign. That's why we make them pay cash, up front, for their ads.
It's one thing for a politician to stiff the voters after they get elected, it's another to do it before they get elected and still ask for their vote!
One person pointed out to me however, that under federal campaign financing rules, if she backs out, she can't raise any more money for her campaign. So sticking around may be more a matter of necessity, just to pay her bills, than anything else.
But it's time she concedes that come November it is going to be John McCain running against Barack Obama.
* * *
This presidential election has been a true mold-breaker. It has demonstrated just how far this country has come in just my lifetime.
I cast my first ballot just a little under four decades ago. At that time, the very concept of a woman or an African-American having a shot at the presidency was beyond the realm of possibility. But it's happened.
And as we've crossed race and gender lines to get to this point, McCain has shown that age isn't a factor either. All the old stereotypes have come crashing down as Americans have sought the best candidates, not the ones who simply fill all the correct slots.
Whoever the final victor is, they will have one enormous advantage. They won't be George Bush.
Bush is most likely to go down as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history (and that's saying a lot, because we've had some really bad ones in our long history). No matter what, this November's victor is bound to look better, at least at first.
But looking better isn't going to be enough. We have some real problems to address.
As the world becomes more tightly knit, our ability to negotiate with and influence other nations will be critical to our own economic future.
We have got to bite the bullet and begin a serious effort to remake this country's energy base from hydrocarbon fuels (and that includes bio-fuels) to an electrical and hydrogen-based economy. If we have to pay $4-$8 a gallon for gasoline for any significant period of time we'll slide quickly past recession to depression.
In the late 19th century this country had to deal with the monopolies of the robber barons, whose greed triggered constant cycles of massive inflation and deep depression. Today, we have to deal with the megalithic multi-national corporations who owe allegiance to no nation. They exploit the cheapest labor in the poorest nations, adding little to those nations but undermining our own considerably with the outsourcing of jobs overseas.
No nation today can achieve full economic independence, but we need a president and Congress who will work hard to create as great an independence as possible, to cushion us from the vagaries of politics and economics in other nations. We'd like to see the candidates indicate their plans for an "America first" economic policy.
We need to deal with the issue of illegal aliens (underline the word illegal). They generate so many problems it is hard to enumerate them all. A method must be found to document and track any alien in the United States, and to develop intelligent -- and humane -- policies for dealing with them, not the knee-jerk scattergun approaches we've been making.
We need to deal with the rising costs of health care, which is literally killing Americans who can't access proper medical treatment.
We need to deal with the greying of America, as the wave of WWII baby boomers leave the workforce and begin drawing on the nation's resources. At the very least, Congress needs to restore to the Social Security fund all the money it has diverted over the years for other purposes (much of them pork barrel projects).
And we need to deal with the growing demands for education. One-third of our youth do not graduate from high school any more, yet to function effectively in today's world requires more knowledge and training than ever before. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" was great if you were a bureaucrat, but it hasn't helped teach our children. Less money needs to go into paperwork and more into the classrooms.
We have a lot of major problems that the old "business and usual" group in Washington, D.C., have simply not been able to deal with, and who have probably aggravated the problems, rather than alleviated them.
The next president, and equally important, the next Congress, must put aside the political power games to begin serious efforts to solve these problems, and they have got to become much more fiscally responsible than they ever have.
This is a watershed election for America. We either move forward with real solutions to these issues, or we will begin to fade from the world stage and pass into history as a briefly glorious nation that failed to act in time to solve its own self-made messes.
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