Being Right And Being Wrong On The Big Issues

Until he issues a Sherman statement, I will be for Gore. Why? Because he’s right on the two biggest issues of our time, of this decade. He was right about Iraq before almost anyone of his stature was. And he is the premier spokesman for global warming, the issue of the 21st century.

Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Biden, and Richardson are all late comers to the anti-Iraq party, with Hillary, Biden, and Edwards actually having voted for the war. I don’t think I’ve heard much from any of them (except Richardson) about climate issues.

There will be things I vehemently disagree with Gore on, and other things I agree with the others on. But on the big issues–those that have consequences for generations–Gore is batting 1.000.

You don’t need a fancy education to see how history treats presidents and presidential candidates who were right on the most pressing issues of their time. Reagan was right about the Cold War. He will be remembered as a good president for that, despite the fact that his administration was corrupt, and his domestic policies were about as enlightened as Hammurabi. LBJ skates on signing Kennedy’s civil rights bill, even though he is responsible for the (now) second biggest farce in American history. Truman left office with his approval rating in the shitter, but he was there when America won World War II, the defining moment of at least two generations.

History does not judge presidents on a punchlist of their achievements. Even though Clinton dismantled the last relics of the New Deal and forced through NAFTA and other such Gilded Age policies such as the Telecom Act of 1996, he will be remembered for his political prowess and his steadfast dedication to world peace, even though he was impeached.

Let’s face it: some of our most hallowed presidents committed some stupid missteps. Lincoln may have been good with civil rights, but he was a mess with civil liberties, attempting to suspend habeas corpus. Washington didn’t really do a damn thing, but he was the figurehead of the Revolution. Jackson was as genocidal as Hitler, but he was the hero of New Orleans and created a calmed political atmosphere.

And the converse is true. Much good came from some of our lesser presidents. Nixon was good on the environment, for example. (I still can’t think of one for Bush II.)

I get the feeling that Hillary will be an effective president, but effective as to her agenda of pushing whatever pseudo-centrist agenda helps her the most. I don’t expect her to put a man on Mars, cure cancer, or solve the global warming crisis.

President Obama would have at least one speech that’s up there with “Ask not what your country can do for you” and “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” but for all his soaring rhetoric, I have no idea if my grandkids will say President Obama was the first black president and he brought peace to the Middle East, or if he signed the McDermott-Boehner Tax Reform Act of 2009.

Edwards? Well, we might see universal healthcare and some real progress for working people. But if he was hoodwinked on Iraq, what else will he miss?

That said, all of these show more promise than the ludicrous assortment of douchebags on the other side. Is their bench really that shallow?

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