Democratic Views for 2008 Elections Thesis

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama's Platform

The issues forming the basis of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barak Obama's platform are much the same as have been the platforms of democrats and republicans alike for decades. There are the issues of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Social Security reform, education funding reform, and, since Roe v Wade, circa 1974, the issue of abortion. In contemporary America, we can add to these three issues gay marriage, illegal immigration, and American healthcare. While the first three issues have been debated for decades, the latter two are relatively new to the presidential platform, but are hotly contested issues that could potentially swing the vote to either side. Democratic candidate Barak Obama, presenting a cool and calm picture of rational thinking for the voters, is, albeit eloquently, taking the democratic high road on the issues; that is, saying what the majority of American liberals want to hear him say. At the same time, Republican candidate John McCain is taking the position as would be expected of him by party leaders and conservative voters. Looking closely at the issues, looking past the calm, cool and handsome persona that is Obama, what is he actually telling liberals about these issues?

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This essay examines the democratic candidate's platform to determine if his position on the five elements referred to above are typically democratic in nature; that is, reflecting a historic democratic thinking. Or is his position closer to the conservative platform than many democrats realize? To do this, five of the issues referenced above will be taken one at a time and analyzed here according to the latest updates on information: the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, gay marriage, healthcare, abortion, and illegal immigration.

The War in Iraq and Afghanistan

Thesis on Democratic Views for 2008 Elections Assignment

American liberals are tired of the war, more so because it has become an enormous black hole that, like black holes in the universe, continues to swallow American lives and dollars whole, never to be seen again. It is perhaps the first, but not the most hotly debated issue that Obama is forced to deal with as a candidate, and, if elected, as the President of the United States. The question that has been put to the candidates time and again is: How will you get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan? To which Obama has been consistent in responding that there is no easy way out of the war on either front, but that he projects he would have American troops out of Iraq within 16 months (on the Issues, 2008, found online at (http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Barack_Obama_War_+_Peace.htm#Iraq_War).What is interesting, is that this subject category is no longer on Obama's web site, and that is reason for concern that the candidate has back burnered his goal for bringing the troops home in 16 months. It never did seem a realistic goal, given the need for support and commitment to Iraq that was made in a Saddam era invasion of the country. That Iraq now suffers internal civil war power struggles, was to be expected, because that is the nature of regime replacement, whether or not one agrees with how the U.S. And Iraq arrived at that place. It is no longer about how and why George Bush took us into Iraq, only about how to reasonably come out of Iraq, turn that government over to the elected Iraqi leadership, and whether or not the U.S. owes it to that democratically elected government to support them to a point of stability.

Barak Obama says that if elected president, he will take seriously the advice of the military experts, like General David Petraeus, whom Obama says has, in his opinion, done a good job in Iraq (on the Issues, online). When asked whether or not Obama would replace Petraeus, once in office, if Petraeus' counsel to Obama differs than what Obama has been telling the American people he would do (on the Issue, online). Obama says he will tell Petraeus that they have a "new mission (on the Issue, online)." Obama says that, as commander in chief, he will be responsible for making the decisions on Afghanistan and Iraq (on the Issue, online).

Will you pledge that by January 2013, the end of your first term, more than five years from now, there will be no U.S. troops in Iraq?" MSNBC's Tim Russert, who moderated the debate, asked Senator Barack Obama.

I think it's hard to project four years from now, and I think it would be irresponsible," Sen. Obama responded. "We don't know what contingency will be out there," he continued. The best he could do was declare: "I will drastically reduce our presence there to the mission of protecting our embassy, protecting our civilians, and making sure that we're carrying out counterterrorism activities there (Jasper, William F., 2007, 8)."

The problem with Obama's 16-month plan is that, like most politicians, it is subject to the circumstances of the office he holds once elected. There is no way to predict the outcome of the war Iraq. Once in office, there is every reason to expect that the liberal base that elects Obama will change its direction. A large contingent of that base is looking to Obama not to extricate America from conflict, but to further involve America in conflict. The liberal outcries about the Darfur region of Sudan are frightening to think about, because there is every indication that the people who have been generous in supporting Obama's election bid, will expect to see the taxpayer return on their investment with action taken on their personal favorite causes, like Darfur.

There is no way that the U.S. can impact the situation in Darfur without physically going into Darfur. It has been the cry of Obama supporters like actor George Clooney and others that America should take on the responsibility of solving the problems in Darfur. Clooney is not crying the UN should take on that responsibility he is putting it squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. - although he readily criticizes the Bush administration for not going through the UN, which has proven ineffective in resolving the genocide in Darfur.

On April 28, 2006, George Clooney joined Senator Barak Obama in calling for.".. greater action to address what is being described as genocide in Sudan's Darfur region (CNN.COM, 2006, found online at (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/04/27/darfur.clooney/).

It is doubtful whether or not the same liberals, like Clooney, who have supported Obama's bid for the presidency, who call for action in Darfur because of genocide, are going to expect Obama to pull out of Iraq when that country is embroiled in a civil war, where there are Christians, Jews, Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims, and Kurds, who were persecuted by Saddam Hussein in a genocidal affront against them by the former dictator.

Iraqi army directed its attention to squashing the Kurdish movement. In the process, hundreds of Kurdish villages were razed to the ground, with the large majority of their inhabitants either executed, or resettled in new towns or concentration camps. The army also routinely used chemical weapons. According to various sources, up to 100,000 may have been killed in what was described as military operations tantamount to a full-fledged genocide campaign (Meho, 1997, 15)."

Americans are not going to trade genocide in Iraq for genocide in Darfur. They will forgive Obama his inability to keep his campaign promise; at least the liberals will, while the Republicans will take copious notes for the election four years later. Obama's commitment to bringing Americans home is no longer found on his official web site, as of today, August 25, 2006. The other issues referenced, however, are there.

Illegal Immigration

If elected, Obama will be forced to confront a perhaps liberal and conservative concern: illegal immigration. Plans to build a wall along the entire length of the southern U.S. border with Mexico has proved to be as futile in fact as it was flawed in philosophy. Those plans abandoned, there are some serious issues that confront Obama on this issue: the exposure of Americans to illegal immigrant contagious diseases like TB, HIV / AIDS, and other high risk ailments (Porter, Lakeisha, 2006, 66).

The link on Barakobama.com regarding his comments on illegal immigration are from August 19, 2008, in an interview with Sun-News reporter, Diana M. Alba (Alba, 2008, found online at (http://www.lcsun-news.com/news/ci_10241460).Obama says his plan for confronting the illegal immigration problem is: increasing border security, cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens, and he supports the 'Initiative Jump-Start,' in place now, which involves the presence of National Guard forces to bolster the appearance of border security (Alba, online at (http://www.lcsun-news.com/news/ci_10241460).On this issue, Obama is taking the safe road, because each of the areas of the issues that he says he supports are already in place. The individual states have been proactive in addressing the issue of illegal immigration along their borders by implementing strict hiring penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants. The National Guard already is putting in an "appearance" with border patrol.

His final… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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