Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Giuliani or Obama?

This weekend my sister and I had an interesting discussion about the forerunners for the 2008 presidential election. It’s no secret; I’m a big Barack Obama fan. His presidental platform, “HOPE. ACTION. CHANGE.”, is an inspiring message, which we all need to embrace during this dark era in our history. In a recent campaign speech, Senator Obama said, “"We are here today because the country calls us, we are here today because history beckons us, we are here today because we face a series of challenges as significant, as daunting as any generation has faced." He then added, "There's a better future for America.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Senator Obama has consistently spoken out against the war in Iraq. In a speech in 2002 he said,

“After September 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.”


“You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair. The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not - we will not - travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.”

Giuliani, on the other hand, at the Republican National Convention in 2004, said,

“On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, a still grieving and shocked nation and a confused world, and he changed the direction of our ship of state. He dedicated America, under his leadership, to destroying global terrorism. The president announced the Bush Doctrine, when he said, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. And since September 11, President Bush has remained rock solid.It doesn't matter to him how he is demonized. It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him. They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists. Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present, and it's set on a future of real peace and security. Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership. President Bush has the courage of his convictions.”

And on February 11, 2007, Giuliani made other comments about his faith in Bush as a leader. An article by Michael Finnegan, Times Staff Writer, states,

"Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani praised President Bush's war leadership on Saturday and mocked supporters of a nonbinding congressional resolution condemning the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq. The former New York City mayor came to Bush's defense as he promoted his White House candidacy at a California Republican convention. Drawing parallels between Iraq and America's Civil War, Giuliani compared Bush's political troubles to Abraham Lincoln's. When the Civil War was unpopular, Giuliani said, Lincoln "kept his eye ahead." "He (Lincoln) was able to say, 'I know my people are frustrated, and I know my people are angry at me.' " But after weighing public opinion, Lincoln had "that ability that a leader has — a leader like George Bush, a leader like Ronald Reagan — to look into the future," Giuliani said. Giuliani's defense of the currently unpopular president comes as he is portraying himself as a decisive leader unafraid to buck public opinion."

Conversely, Senator Obama, stands behind his Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which provides for a time table for withdrawal from Iraq that is both practical and functional. His De-Escalation Act can be viewed here.

Rather than attacking Guiliani for decisions made in his personal life, I would instead like to focus on his “iron-fist” style of leadership. Several Guiliani insiders and analysts have pointed out his tendency to surrounded himself with “Yes, Rudy” men, isolating himself from contradictory view points and opinions. Does this sound familiar? George W. Bush part duex anyone?

Guiliani, once a lame duck mayor, saw his popularity catapult after the events of 9/11. While George Bush was hiding in a bunker on September 11th, Guiliani appeared on the news as both a confident and comforting presence which the American people desperately need at that time.

However, what America needs now is way out of a horrendous war started on the premise of a lie. Guiliani rides the wave of his “perceived 9/11 heroism” and continues to support the Bush agenda. This is just more of the same shit. I cannot see how another “iron-fisted” war-happy aggressive personality would benefit our country.

So Guiliani is pro-choice and socially moderate, I’m willing to give him that. But, so is Senator Obama, PLUS he understands how this ill-conceived war is affecting America and is taking action to put a stop to it. And that’s a dude I wouldn’t mind voting for.

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