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Thread: 2008 Presidential Election - Aftermath

  1. #1

    Default 2008 Presidential Election - Aftermath

    Post election analysis.


    I'll unlock this thread tomorrow. We all need a breather.

  2. #2

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    It's anyone's guess what will unfold over the next few years, but 2008 was undoubtedly a pivotal, page-turning election.

    One clear-cut result:

    Goodbye Joe Lieberman

  3. #3

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    Obama's Neocon in Residence

    2008-11-04
    By Philip Giraldi


    The grip that the Israeli lobby has over both political parties means that any real shift in U.S. Middle Eastern policy is unlikely, whoever is elected president today. It might also be argued that no change in policy outside the Middle East is likely either, except that Obama might talk before he bombs. Given Joe Biden's warning that Obama will respond decisively to a foreign policy test in his first six months, it might even be suggested that a new regime could prove more trigger-happy than the current one.

    That said, there is a real substantive difference between the Obama's foreign policy team and John McCain's. The latter is neocon-dominated, with advisers such as Bill Kristol, John Bolton, Robert Kaplan, and the Kagan brothers, not to mention key spokesman Randy Scheunemann. Such an administration would be virtually guaranteed to see the world in Manichean terms and use the military as the preferred foreign policy option. When McCain ran against George Bush in 2000, he was the choice of the neocons, who saw him as the candidate mostly likely to engage in an assertive foreign policy that would, inter alia, be "good" for Israel. He is still their man, and, since it has also become clear that the choice of Sarah Palin originated with the neocons at National Review and The Weekly Standard, McCain-Palin is very much their ticket.

    Barack Obama has inherited much of the old Bill Clinton foreign policy team, including Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, Anthony Lake, and Madeleine Albright. One might reasonably critique much of Clinton's foreign and security policy – most particularly the horrific sanctions against Iraq, war in the Balkans, invasion of Haiti, and chaotic counterterrorism efforts – but his advisers were mostly old-school realists who believed that there was such a thing as a national interest and that dealing with other nations required the give-and-take of diplomacy in addition to the threat of force.

    If Obama wins, it is generally believed that the position of Secretary of State will go to Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke is not shy when it comes to the use of force, having been the architect of U.S. military engagement in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, but his current views on Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are not completely clear. Regarding Iraq, he initially supported removing Saddam Hussein but has lately called for a "new strategy" for redeployment of U.S. forces in the region. Holbrooke's aggressiveness combined with Joe Biden's prediction that there will be a major challenge together suggest that Obama will quite likely be supported by his advisers if he is keen to prove that he is not a wimp, so the first six months or so could be a wild ride.

    But what is really scary about a possible Obama administration is Dennis Ross. Ross claims that he believes in diplomacy and has even written a book on the subject, though his one major foray in that area, Camp David in 2000, demonstrated that he was more interested in advancing Israeli interests than he was in creating a viable peace with the Palestinians. He was the architect of so-called "no surprises" negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis in which all positions supported by the U.S. had to be cleared by Israel before they were even placed on the table. If the Israelis said "no," the U.S. would back down. Ross was also one of the most vocal critics of former Democratic President Jimmy Carter after Carter wrote Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

    Ross has most recently been in the news for his participation on a task force organized by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, headed by ex-senators George Mitchell, Daniel Coats, and Charles Robb. In this case, bipartisan most definitely does not mean objective. The task force included Ross; Steve Rademaker, husband of Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); Michael Rubin, also of AEI; Kenneth Weinstein of the Hudson Institute; Kenneth Katzmann of the Congressional Research Service; as well as two generals, an admiral, two former Defense Department officials who worked for Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, and a Lehman Brothers economist. Rubin drafted the report assisted by the project director Michael Makovsky, who is the brother of David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli think-tank that was founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). No one on the task force was an independent expert on Iran who might have been willing or able to express Iran's concerns or point of view. Indeed, apart from Rubin, no one on the task force knew anything about Iran at all, except possibly that it was part of the axis of evil.

    Not surprisingly, the task force's report, "Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development" [.pdf], issued in September, concluded that Iran has no right to enrich nuclear fuel for any purpose. It advocated talking to Tehran to give it a chance to surrender on all key issues before attacking it, urging the next president to build up forces for the assault from day one of the new administration. The task force recommended that U.S. forces should remain in the area after Iran is bombed into submission, vigilant and ready to react to any possible resurgence by the mullahs. On Oct. 23 an op-ed appeared in the Washington Post by Coats and Robb that summarized the "bipartisan" conclusions without identifying the members of the task force itself, as many readers would certainly have realized from the names that the report was the latest neocon snow job. The Washington Post apparently did not care that it was being exploited to promote a bad policy wrapped in a deceptive fog of bipartisanship.

    Ross is a commentator for Fox News and the Ziegler distinguished fellow at WINEP, which he helped found in the 1980s. He is also chairman of the Jerusalem- based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. He would only be a spear-carrier in the latest neocon absurdity if it weren't for the fact that he is a major player in the Obama campaign as Obama's top adviser on the Middle East and a key link to AIPAC. Ross reportedly has been helping the Obama campaign formulate positions that AIPAC would be comfortable with. It has been reported that Ross has aspirations to become secretary of state, but he lacks the seniority for that position and may instead focus on the Middle East, either at the State Department or the National Security Council. Ross-watchers believe that if he is put in charge of Middle Eastern policy, he will guarantee that only Israeli security concerns will matter to the new administration, because that is the position he has always taken in the past. If the bipartisan report is any indication, he will be particularly interested in defanging Iran, a position that he has made clear in speeches to Israeli audiences.

    My focus on Dennis Ross and what he represents is not intended to single him out for demonization. Rather, it is a word of caution to the electorate not to expect too much from Obama if he is elected, as he is surrounded by people who already have agendas. There are many Dennis Rosses out there, and they are scattered throughout the government bureaucracy, Congress, and the media. For some of them, Israel is a key issue, but there are many others intent on returning to a Cold War with Russia and thwarting China, starting new quarrels over issues unrelated to the national interest. Closer to home, Obama and McCain both made a point of disparaging Venezuela in their last debate. President Hugo Chavez is a despicable clown in many respects, but his country provides much of the oil Americans consume. Does Washington need to go after him too? Looking for new dragons to slay in an unstable world has brought the Bush administration to its knees. Americans do not need four more years of the same kind of policies from Obama or McCain.

    *****

    More:

    The Limits of Change
    What to expect from the Obama administration on the foreign policy front

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    It's anyone's guess what will unfold over the next few years, but 2008 was undoubtedly a pivotal, page-turning election.

    One clear-cut result:

    Goodbye Joe Lieberman
    The Democrats need every vote they can get to block filibusters - even if they had 60 senators, it would be insanity to ask him to caucus with the opposition. Even if he votes Republican on foreign issues, he's still left leaning on a lot of social and spending issues - what the Democratic party cares the most about now, and probably through the next election cycle.

    Thats political reality - they need him more than he needs them. If they toss him, the Republicans will exploit that arrogance for years to come.

  5. #5

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    If the Democrats have to rely on a 60% majority to force through legislation, then the next four years will be a failure.

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    Then prepare for disappointment - you need 60 votes in the Senate to shove through legislation without input from the minority party.

    In my opinion, its the best feature of US style government - even the opposition gets input on major legislation. Its the reason we don't have a stock based Social Security system now. Or a permanent estate tax cut. Its what keeps political parties from doing stupid things.

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    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default Less than full joy -- Prop. 8

    I'm so thrilled that I lived to see and participate in this historic election -- yet sad for my country that civil rights seems to be a zero-sum game.

    As I write this, Prop. 8 (which will reverse California's allowance of gay marriages) looks like it will pass. Arkansas (my home state) banned gay adoption.

    As happy as I am about so many things, I'm sad about this.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    The main problem with that is that peopel want everything.

    I am not saying that gays do not have the right for this, but it is very difficult to keep. People in general are not that accepting of things.

    What should be done is s seperation of church and state in this affair.

    Churches can "Marry" someone, even without a license, and it will have NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on their legal status. Same as baptisms, confirmations, or even ordainment.

    The State will issue the license of union, whatever you want to call it, and NOT call it marriage.

    So Gays would only be able to get, literally, "Married" by a church that practices that belief. The government would have NO SAY in that.

    The civil union, however, would be available between any two humans of consenting legal age.


    For a country that says it seperates C+S, we sure have a HELL of a lot of mish-mash-and mingle!

    (Although I loved his acceptance speech, the "God Bless" at the end makes me a bit uneasy. Not any sense of foreboding, but of the fact that something like this is considered NORMAL now, and any omission of that phrase would be seen as suspect....)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    It's anyone's guess what will unfold over the next few years, but 2008 was undoubtedly a pivotal, page-turning election.

    One clear-cut result:

    Goodbye Joe Lieberman
    Thank-god. Gore made Lieberman his vp candidate, arguably another candidate would have better served him in Florida. How does he thank Gore and the Democratic party, by running around with Mccain. Lieberman should change to the Republican party or better yet serve office in Israel since that's all he ever campaigns and cares about, I don't know why he's even in America.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    The Knishes.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtolman View Post
    Then prepare for disappointment - you need 60 votes in the Senate to shove through legislation without input from the minority party
    If you don't have minority input, then you own the government, and everything that doesn't work out.

    You already have two polarizing figures running the House and Senate. There's going to be more pain in the year ahead, and if the public perception is that the Democrats are running the US Congress alone, you can expect them to pay for it at the mid-term elections.

    And it'll undercut any attempt by Obama to promote bi-partisan cooperation.

    I thought that was the central point of his campaign.

  12. #12

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    ^^

    undercut may be a strong word. more likely it will test his influence and political skills, which may not be such a bad thing. surely the lack of a super-majority in the senate will lead tocompromises, but it so doing, it may also diminish the practice of partisanship politics that has crippled Washington for so long.

    Obama promised a post-partisanship Government. This is his moment to step up, and I do not say that facetiously. I am confident he'll manage. He will need to win over the moderate wing of the GOP. He'll do it using the same methods he used to run his campaing, i.e. he'll work from the ground up, focusing on grass roots support to influence those senators and to carry his agenda. It will be an interesting challenge, but honestly, this is the one area where he best excels and is differentiated from, well, HRC for example. In fact it may the single most important reason voted for him over HRC in the primary.
    Last edited by eddhead; November 5th, 2008 at 05:52 PM.

  13. #13

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    My point is, unless you're looking to punish the opposition party, why do you need Lieberman?

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