While I did my best to avoid tonight’s “debate” (joint press conference) between Barack Obama and John McCain, living in DC makes that more difficult than it might seem, and I ended up catching a few exchanges while eating dinner at a local bar.
What caught my attention was not the ludicrousness of the most powerful country on Earth pretending to be a “democracy” while allowing but two candidates to debate each other on whose biography is more compelling — one party rule being totalitarian, while two parties is just right — but Obama’s laborious attempt to make McCain seem reasonable in contrast.
After making several cogent points regarding McCain’s lack of judgment in supporting the Iraq war, Obama proceeded to repeat his call for a war with Pakistan — though he of course did not call it that. Instead, the supposed peace candidate in this election-that-will-not-end cast his support for violating international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty by speaking of “strikes” against “terrorists” in the the Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan (the “good” military occupation to U.S. liberals).
What was amazing was that John “crazy old warmonger” McCain responded to Obama’s call for another military conflict by pointing out that maybe, just maybe, the United States should not launch unilateral strikes against a sovereign nuclear power that just so happens to be an ally — for better or worse — of the U.S. government. (That said, McCain still hinted that perhaps we should launch attacks against Pakistan, but we just shouldn’t talk about it.)
Now, while I won’t profess to be a master political strategist (I still have something of a soul left), one would think the Democrats could capitalize on the American public’s general discontent with the status quo with regard to the state of the economy and U.S. foreign policy by running a campaign centered around a rather simple message: no more wars, and no bailouts for the irresponsible rich. Unfortunately, one can rest assured that won’t happen.
Why? Because rather than a departure from the status quo, Barack Obama represents merely a fresh new face committed to the same old policies in furtherance of the American empire — as should be evident from the Democratic Congress’ unabashed support for endless war, corporatism, and the centralization of power.
Sadly, the difference between Obama and McCain is a lot like the difference between Coke and Pepsi: while some are committed partisans to one or the other, in the end, they are both little more than corporate products that ultimately just might kill you.