Friday, April 4, 2008

Generalities Without Content

Generalities Without Content
By Jerome Grossman

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama offer the voters the same agenda: their positions on issues are quite similar and match the Democratic Congressional stands. As long as their centrist positions differ from the right wing conservative positions of the discredited Bush administration, they can rally enough Democrats and Independents for victory in November.

This situation gives a significant edge to Obama, whose personality, charisma and oratorical skills completely overshadow Clinton. Hillary compensates by producing details of the issues, acting as the smartest girl in the class, but not offering new approaches to old problems. For example, she could break the impasse on health care by offering a single-payer government-run system including every American, a system used by virtually every industrial nation. But Hillary would rather offer an improved version of the current system, staying within the Democratic consensus.

Supporters of Barack Obama praise him for his foreign policy. In The American Prospect magazine, April 2008, the entire front cover blazes in multicolor with the message, "The Obama Doctrine, Barack Obama's challenge to the foreign policy establishment."

Some challenge. The article offers "the most sweeping liberal critique in decades." Examples offered: dignity promotion, enlightened global leadership, freedom from want, freedom from fear, elimination of misery, promotion of liberty, justice, and prosperity. The only specific policy listed is the destruction of Al Qaeda as though that is all that is necessary to achieve these worthy objectives.


Across the 50 states, more than 100 candidates ran for president although only 18 of them were selected by the presidential commission to appear on the televised debates. They represented a wide spectrum of parties and views. It is fair to say that virtually every candidate would agree with the generalities, the bromides attributed to the Obama campaign. Do these motherhood goals constitute a foreign policy challenging the establishment?

An authentic challenge to the foreign policy establishment would be to advocate specific changes to accomplish the stated objectives. The devil is in the details. The credibility of any program is in the “how to.” Please, beloved candidates, tell the American voters what you will actually do. The people are fed up with generalities without content.

Offering bromides without policy is an insult to the voters and a failure of democracy, one of the reasons why 81% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. One of the candidates should break this logjam by offering credible specifics. From the history of politics, we know that person will be the one running behind the others. But if that doesn't happen, it is the responsibility of the media to stir the pot, to demand relevant answers. Where are they?

1 comment:

an average patriot said...

Jerome
As usual you are right! They do have the same message but the difference as you point out is in the delivery, Obama is much easier on the senses. Hillary is abrasive, Holier than thou, confrontational and underhanded.
To me all you have to do is one thing and that is to bring back the America we had before Bush destroyed it to implement his version. Make a detailed list of the thousands of things he has touched and damaged and one by one bring them back to normal including laws he passed without Congress to give him more power. Check them off as you go!
As for going after Al Qaeda I am sick of hearing war cries! The fight against Al Qaeda or Islamists should be grounded from here not Iraq. You would find out what your up against real quick. i am afraid in reality it will make the 100 years war look short.
Despite what McCain says it is right to back out strategically to see if it can be sustained. Iraq better understand just how tenuous their situation is compliments of the war5 mongers.
Obama and Clinton are both right to start withdrawing from Iraq soon. Can you imagine the stupidity of thinking you can have an SK style force in the middle east that will not be Custer's Last stand and go on for 100 years or longer if you stay there?
I saw the clip today of Lieberman ridiculing Clinton and Obama and he said Iran is sending Al Qaeda to fight in Iraq. I heard McCain say it but I listened to it 6 times before I believed it. So often like right now all I can do is shake my head!

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