Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iyo-ku Obligations

It looks like pretty soon the general election will be beginning soon, and so as an official Democratic National Convention State Corps blogger this year, I have an obligation to start tearing apart the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Well, gi minagahet, it might be a few more days until the race is officially over, and even though it looks like the end is coming soon for Hillary Clinton, the race is still open and still up for grabs, depending on her mood.

Tomorrow the Rules and Bylaws committee for the Democrats will be meeting, and if Hillary Clinton is interested in party unity and improving the chances of her party winning in November, in ways other than her being the most electable candidate, she will take whatever compromise is decided upon. If she's not interested in such trivial matters, then this fight could go all the way to the convention, and if so, I'll have front row seats for it.

Just a little Guam delegate and superdelegate update: Guam's delegation to the convention is split four for Clinton and five for Obama. Senator Ben Pangelinan made news recently for endorsing Obama. Guam Democratic Committee Chairwoman Pilar Lujan made even more news by going back on her promise to endorse whoever wins the Guam caucus. She's now backing Clinton.

While I understand the argument that the primary battle between Obama and Clinton has been good in terms of registering voters and expanding the party's base, its also very clear that John McCain has basically been committing political suicide left and right, and completely getting away with it.

The foundation of McCain's platform is simply experience. He is very old compared to the other two candidates, and he has been in the Senate for a very long time, and he has been to Iraq eight times since the most recent war there began. McCain's message is clear, Guahu is mas finayi, Guahu i mas tekngo', I am the wisest, I am the most knowledgable. But for someone who is running on a platform primarily on finayi yan tekngo' especially about Iraq, McCain has been making a huge number of very simple and basic mistakes about the location, the war and the issue which he is campaigning on as such an expert.

Just in the past few months, he's gotten troop levels wrong, grossly misrepresented the state of security in Iraq, repeatedly confused Shia and Sunni, and accused Iran of training its religious enemy Al Qaeda.

Yesterday I saw McCain come out in full bihu force, attacking Obama for being out of touch with the state of affairs and the needs of Iraq, and the primary evidence had provided for this claim, was that Obama has only been to Iraq once, in 2006. McCain offered himself as the clear contrast to Obama's taitinigo', noting proudly the amount of times he's been to Iraq (careful not to mention how much tax payer money each of his trips has cost). Its unfortunate for McCain that his numerous trips and his intimate knowledge of what is happening on "the ground," hasn't had any noticeable impact on his message, for example in terms reducing his amount of gaffes. Or actually, maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, and if McCain never went to Iraq, then he might confuse it with Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, Gondwanaland, or maybe even Guam.

This week when McCain threw down a gauntlet challenge to Obama, which took the form of a joint trip to Iraq to see the way things really are there, given McCain's non-stop gaffe strategy on the country, his challenge should have been taken with about as much seriousness as his bland assertion that a Baghdad market was safe, while he was being guarded by a hundred soldiers, three helicopters and two gunships.

But instead, somehow there seems to be a consensus out there in the majority of the media (at least that I've read or listened to) that in this challenge, McCain has, at least momentarily taken control over the debate and put Obama in a dangerous position in terms of "to go, or not to go." Obama has responded, saying that he won't let this issue devolve into politics, but nonetheless he is obviously on the defensive here, and whether he goes or not, he'll take a hit, either as kubatde (if he doesn't go) or lachi yan taitinigo' (if he does).

If the majority of the media still wasn't consumed with the Democratic party battle, then I doubt that this sort of occupation of the discursive high ground would have been accomplished so easily, without a lot of resistance. This is of course why I have been hoping for weeks for an end to the Democratic internal warfare. John McCain has been running a terrible campaign so far. I mean how can you expect to run on a platform of ethics and a refusal of "politics as usual," when you have so many lobbyists running your campaign!? If the critical limelight was more evenly distributed between Obama and McCain, then I don't think he would be able to get away with this sort of nonsense.

So, while on the one hand I'm hoping that after tomorrow, and after the last three primaries take place in Montana, Puerto Rico and South Dakota, this stage of the election will be over, I've decided to make my own opening salvo against McCain in prep for the general election. I'm pasting some videos below, which for those interested in finding out about i magahet na John McCain, or the "real John McCain," promises to not disappoint.

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