I pick up the discussion from where I left off yesterday. Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly smart. Her only stand on any political, economic, or social issue, whether domestic or international, is that she takes the stand that benefits her electoral campaign. She is not ideologically committed. Her position on the war against Iraq came first, as the readers notice, in line with the massive popular endorsement of the war that once reached 80-90%. Her support for the war later waned with the declining popular support until Hillary Clinton expressly against the war similarly to the American street, as I explained yesterday.
Clinton's opponents did not overlook that recantation. In the debates among the Democratic rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards focused on the difference between their stand on Iraq and hers. Hillary Clinton gave her opponents ammunition when she approved a Senate bill labeling the Iranian Republican Guard as a terrorist organization, a step considered as an authorization to the president to wage war against Iran. In a debate held on December 5, 2007, Edwards said he disagreed with Hillary Clinton on the Iranian issue. George Bush and Dick Cheney are beating the war drums and they must be challenged.
I noticed something strange while following Barack Obama's activities - or maybe it is not strange. The Illinois senator did not attend the session when the bill on Iran was voted, which usually happens. But I noticed that he is absent when taking a position does not suit him or he abstains from voting with a yes or no. I am grateful to Unusually Stupid Politicians, a book by Kathryn and Ross Petras. I report from the page entitled "Barack the Brave":
Barack Obama announced his candidacy and said, "What's stopped us is the failure of leadership … our chronic avoidance of tough decisions." But how did he make the tough decisions?
He voted on the tough issues. He just did not vote for them or against them. He rather voted "present." That's an option in the Illinois legislature. He voted "present" twice on two bills that would have prohibited a procedure partial-birth abortion. He voted "present" on a bill which called for mandatory prosecution for firing a gun on or near school grounds, he voted "present" on a bill which protected the privacy of sexual-abuse victims, he voted "present" on two parental notification abortion bills, and "present" on a bill prohibiting strip clubs and other adult establishments (near) schools and churches.
So, Is Obama a bold leader - Yes? No?
We say, "Present."
Obama has apparently kept the habit of voting "present" after he moved from the Illinois legislature to the Senate. Hence, his absence from the vote on the Iran bill can not be considered spontaneous.
When obliged to take a position, he tries to keep an outlet for escape. He opposes capital punishment but excludes "heinous crimes" without giving any details.
In spite of this, Obama can boast of his stand on the war on Iraq. On October 2, 2002, he declared that he did not oppose all wars but a rash war. Even a successful war against Iraq would require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.
Hillary Clinton certainly wishes today having adopted this stance instead of endorsing the war simply because the overwhelming majority had originally endorsed it.
Obama is facing difficulties unlike all other candidates. In fact, his father is from Kenya, while his mother is American. He was born in Hawaii and spent four years with his father in Indonesia. He was ten years old when he saw his father for the last time. Afterwards, the father went back to Kenya, where he got married and had children who are Barack's half brothers.
As a result, Barack Obama comes under a bitter campaign reminding people that his middle name is Hussein. In the same respect, some websites claim that he is a "secret Muslim" and will swear oath on the Koran once elected president, as did MP Keith Allison, the only Muslim congressman.
All this is sheer lies. American journalists have even visited the school Barack attended in Indonesia and found out that it is not a "madrasa" of the type that incubates terrorists. He lived with his mother and grandparents and was a member of the Protestant Church in Chicago. His political activism may go back to his activities among the Chicago churches where he urged people to help the community poor. He used to go from door to door and make acquaintance with people, which earned him experience in asking for support when he decided to enter politics.
He graduated with a degree in law from Harvard University and was the first black to head its Law Review. He equally worked as a law professor in Chicago. Yet, some people claim that he is a "Manchurian candidate". This attribute goes back to a book under this title that deals with American war captives in Vietnam who underwent brainwashing at the hands of the Chinese. These captives went back to America and China used one of them in an electoral campaign. Two films were produced on the basis of the book written by Richard Condon and published toward the end of the fifties.
The pro-Israeli lobbyists and Christian Zionists generally describe Obama as a "Manchurian." Some of Obama's supporters fear a repetition of the "swift boat" lie, when Vietnam veterans denied that John Kerry was one of the Vietnam war heroes despite the decorations he received. At the same time, they camouflaged George Bush's escape from that war seeking the Texan safety. Still, some people believed these lies.