The Wisdom Fund
July 4, 2008

Election 2008: An Easy Choice in November

by Enver Masud

It's easy to decide who to vote for on November 4, 2008.

It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has the better vision for America, and whose values are those that have best served America and inspired others through the ages.

It would be logical to vote for the candidate with the better character -- one who is honest, just, wise, courageous, ...

It would be logical to vote for the candidate whose position on the issues is better for us, individually, and/or for America.

It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has experience in domestic and global affairs, who has measurable accomplishments in positions of leadership, ...

Therein lies the problem.

Can we really know who has the better vision and values for America? Can we really know who has the better character? Can we know the candidates well enough to sort this out?

We can more easily decide whose position on the issues we like better, but can we count on it?

President Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative opposed to nation-building. But Bush's nation-building (promoted as a war to eliminate Iraq's nonexistent, weapons of mass destruction) led the U.S. into an unlawful war against Iraq, and its mounting costs have led the economy into the worst recession since the great depression of 1929.

Neither of the major candidates have been honest about the threats to the U.S, and the reason for invading Afghanistan. To this day, Bin Laden is not wanted for 9/11 by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Both McCain and Obama have magnified the "threat" presented by Iran. Iran has not attacked another country in the past 250 years. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran halted its research on nuclear weapons five years ago, and at least half a dozen countries, in the past four years, have said that they plan to enrich or reprocess nuclear fuel.

It is the U.S. that has made a mockery of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and it is Israel and the neocons who got us into Iraq, that are now pushing hard for a war with Iran.

And there are important issues about which neither of the major candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have said little, if anything: such as the effect of an aging population and immigration on Social Security and Medicare, and defense spending (greater than the rest-of-the-world's total spending) that leaves little for other things that American's want and need.

We also know that candidates will say just about anything to get elected. And we can argue about who has the most relevant experience.

It would be logical to wade through this sort of thinking in trying to decide who to vote for in November.

For the 2008 election, however, it is of secondary importance -- there are bigger issues at stake.

If you believe in the promise of America, and its vision enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, you must send a strong message to all candidates, now and in the future, that those who violate it -- as the Bush administration has done -- will pay a price.

If you believe in an America that works for all, then you must vote for the candidate whose nominees to the Supreme Court, over the next four to eight years, will work better for all Americans.

And, if you want to restore America's image and build the international alliances needed to tackle issues such as climate change, energy, disease, hunger, poverty, then the world needs a strong signal that the America after January 20, 2009 will be a very different America from that of the past eight years.

The damage done to the U.S. by the Bush administration will take a generation to undo, and this election may be the last chance we have to begin to repair the damage to our economy, our image, and much more.

Viewed from this perspective, for me it will be an easy choice on November 4, 2008: not the Republican nominee.

The views in this article are those of Enver Masud alone. They do not represent the views of The Wisdom Fund.




INTERACTIVE MAP: Potential for Hacking

Enver Masud, "U.S. Elections All About Money," The Wisdom Fund, September 4, 2000

Enver Masud, "The 2004 Election: One Issue, One Candidate," The Wisdom Fund, August 8, 2003

John Pilger, "The Danse Macabre of US-Style Democracy,", January 24, 2008

Ralph Nader, "Open Letter to Senator Barack Obama,", March 11, 2008

[Westerners believe that Obama appeals to the Arabs because of his middle name or because he's black. Untrue. They like him - or liked him - because he grew up poor. Like them, he understood - or rather, they thought he understood - what oppression was about. But they quickly found out where they stood in the food chain. Forty-five minutes in Ramallah vs 24 hours in Israel was the Obama equation. Yes, I know the old saw. Every US presidential candidate has to make the pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall, to Yad Vashem, to some Israeli town or village that has taken casualties (albeit minuscule in comparison to those visited upon the Palestinians), to talk about Israel's security, etc. That doesn't mean, we are always told, that Israel is going to have it easy once the US president is elected. Wrong. Israel is going to have it easy. Because no sooner is he elected than he will be enmeshed in the Middle East tragedy and be forced to take sides - Israel's, of course - and then it will be time for the next election, so the president's hands will be tied again and he'll be talking about Israel's security (rather than Palestinian security) and we'll be back on the same old itinerary.--Robert Fisk, "New actor on the same old stage," Independent, August 2, 2008]

M Moore Michael Moore, "Mike's Election Guide 2008," Grand Central Publishing (August 26, 2008)

[Americans have never been seen by Iraqis as the glue that's holding a fragile Iraq together. Quite the contrary, the vast majority have felt for years that the U.S. occupation is actually contributing to instability, greatly contributing to the violence, and serving as a lightning-rod for encouraging Islamist radicals to travel to Iraq and attack the U.S. head-on. Historically, the U.S., rather than any scattered "insurgents," has been the primary party responsible for the destruction of Iraq. The U.S. funded both sides of the Iran-Iraq war, which cost an estimated one million lives, intentionally destroyed Iraqi infrastructure during the 1991 Gulf War, supported mass murder through sanctions throughout the 1990s (with another estimated 1.5 million killed), and presided over an occupation that has taken by some estimates as many as another one million lives (how many insurgents in Iraq can claim the power to kill 3.5 million people?). Don't expect to hear any about these inconvenient truths from Joe Biden though. --Anthony DiMaggio, "The Myths of Joe Biden,", August 27, 2008)

Karl Schwarz, "The RNC Just Gutted The DNC Again,", August 29, 2008

[As a party, the Republicans have not only refined the art of the political smear - with such memorable moments as the Willie Horton ads in 1988 and the "swift-boating" of John Kerry in 2004 - but they also have defined the concept of the October Surprise, manipulating late-breaking events to drive the electorate toward their candidate. . . . Robert Parry, "How the Republicans Win,", August 29, 2008]

Mike Gravel, "Sarah Palin's Clean Slate: Thank God, She Has No Foreign Policy Experience!,", September 3, 2008

VIDEO: "Pray for our military. He [Palin's son] is going to be deployed in September to Iraq - pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right for this country - that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that's what he have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that it is God's plan."--"Palin: US troops in Iraq on 'task from God',", September 4, 2008

Ralph Z. Hallow, "Evangelical faith drives Palin's pro-Israel view," Washington Times, September 4, 2008

Leonard Doyle, "Palin: the real scandal," Independent, September 6, 2008

[The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.--Anne E. Kornblut, "Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 In Talk to Troops in Alaska," Washington Post, September 12, 2008]

[Palin is a radical right-wing fundamentalist Christian who would love to create a theocracy. She believes we are living in the "end times" which will result in a bloody inferno from which only true Christians will be saved. Palin recently attended a service in her Wasilla Bible Church run by David Brickner, who runs Jews for Jesus, a group the Anti-Defamation League criticizes for its "aggressive and deceptive" proselytizing of Jews. Those who don't accept Jesus as their savior will burn in Hell, according to Palin's brand of theology.--Marjorie Cohn, "A Palin Theocracy?,", September 11, 2008]

[McCain is 72, and he has had a serious bout with a virulent form of cancer. Thus, he had a special responsibility to pick a running mate who could be, in effect, a deputy commander -- someone who could take over for him if his health should fail. The country is at war, as McCain so often reminds us, and he was picking someone who might be responsible for the security of the nation. . . .

But John McCain also likes to win. And he has an impulsive streak, sometimes bordering on recklessness, which is described by many of his friends and by McCain himself in his memoir, "Faith of My Fathers." The desire to win, and the impulsiveness, converged in his decision to pick Palin--David Ignatius, "Stopping At Nothing To Win," Washington Post, September 14, 2008]

[Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause in June 2007.

. . . the "neocons", whose standard bearer in government, Vice President Dick Cheney, lost out in Washington power struggles to the more moderate defence secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, last year are seeking to mould Mrs Palin to renew their influence.

A former Republican White House official, who now works at the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of Washington neoconservatism, admitted: "She's bright and she's a blank page. She's going places and it's worth going there with her."--Tim Shipman, "Neoconservatives plan Project Sarah Palin to shape future American foreign policy," Washington Post, September 13, 2008]

[Once upon a time, a politician took campaign contributions and favors from a friendly constituent who happened to run a savings and loan association. The contributions were generous: They came to about $200,000 in today's dollars, . . .

That politician was John McCain, and his generous friend was Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings & Loan.--Rosa Brooks, " Keating 5 ring a bell? McCain's past collides with the present Wall Street debacle!," Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2008]

Joshua Holland, "With All Eyes on the Bailout, House Passes Trillion-Dollar Defense Bill," AlterNet, September 26, 2008

Sydney H. Schanberg, "Why Has John McCain Blocked Info on MIAs?," Nation, October 6, 2008

Ian Urbina, "States' Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal," New York Times, October 9, 2008

Alexander Cockburn, "Is McCain A Lot Sicker Than We Know?,", October 10, 2008

EDITORIAL: "'The election of Obama would, at a stroke, refresh our country's spirit'," New Yorker, October 13, 2008

[Former fundamentalists like me know that your worldview is so encompassing, authoritarian, and powerful that it defines who you think you are, the way you view the world, history, other people, the future, and your place in the world. It defines you far more than hockey mom, wife, hunter, governor, or VP candidate.--Marlene Winell, "An open letter to Sarah Palin,", October 15, 2008]

[VIDEO: I'm also troubled not with what Senator McCain says but what members of the party say and it is permitted to be said, such things as, "Well, you know Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America.

I feel strongly about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in you could see the writing on the headstone. ... And then at the very top of the headstone, you could see it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had the crescent and star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American.--"Colin Powell and the Muslims,", October 15, 2008]

Bradley Burston and J.J. Goldberg, "36 Jews who have shaped the 2008 U.S. election," Haaretz, October 17, 2008

[Clinton's administration was at least as violent as Bush's - see Unicef's report that 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of the Anglo-American blockade in the 1990s.

The lesson learned is that no presidential candidate, least of all a Democrat awash with money from America's "banksters", as Franklin Roosevelt called them, can or will challenge a militarised system that controls and rewards him. Obama's job is to present a benign, even progressive face that will revive America's democratic pretensions, internationally and domestically, while ensuring nothing of substance changes.--John Pilger, "Exercise your rights," New Statesman, October 23, 2008]

EDITORIAL: "Barack Obama for President," New York Times, October 24, 2008

[In state after state, Republican operatives - the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics - are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats.--Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, "Block the Vote," Rolling Stone, October 30, 2008]

Yaakov Katz, "'Barack will be the first Jewish president in the US'," Jerusalem Post, November 5, 2008

Chris Hedges, "America the Illiterate,", November 10, 2008

VIDEO: "John McCain And The Making Of A Financial Crisis," Keating Economics

VIDEO: "Sarah Palin addresses the Alaska Independence Party"

VIDEO: "Time for Some Campaigning,"

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