Sunday, March 02, 2008

I can't help but get more and more interested in this year's U.S. presidential race---for the first time in over 15 years. Last week there was an interesting exchange between Obama and McCain over Iraq in which both raised some very good points. It seems that there could even be a real policy debate instead in endless trivial personal attacks and game playing if these two are candidates.

One thing that bothers me about McCain is that it seems that he will mostly stick to the same policies of the last 20 years or more on nearly every issue. He may be right. I think he may now be right about Iraq, although in my opinion, he was wrong about voting to support it to begin with.

I haven't seen McCain say that he would do anything to correct any of the excesses of that guy who is in the White House now as far as civil liberties. Civil liberties in the US are not some sort of optional gift to the people like they seem to be in Japan. They are not "priviledges." They are rights that the government has no business in. Some folks, such as the New York Times, *@%# Bush, and both liberals and conservatives have a hard time accepting that civil liberties means more than only those liberties they find politically agreeable.

The New York Times has published a rant (damn, did it again. Meant editorial.) about Obama's support of some selected civil liberties. In fact, the NYT claimed that Obama would be the first civil libertarian in the White House. We know that the NYT has a narrow view of what civil liberties are, but it is an interesting article as Senator Obama seems to be the ONLY candidate who might reverse some of the jack-booted thug-type laws of Bush. Think Bush's laws concerning searches, wiretaps, and such are reasonable? Imagine what conservatives would have said had Bill Clinton tried to pass any of them during his term.

He co-sponsored a bipartisan reform bill that would have cured the worst excesses of the Patriot Act by meaningfully tightening the standards for warrantless surveillance. Once again, he helped encourage a coalition of civil-libertarian liberals and libertarian conservatives. The effort failed when Hillary Clinton joined 13 other Democrats in supporting a Republican motion to cut off debate on amendments to the Patriot Act. New York Times online.

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