Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Obamania sweeps America

Obama won the South Carolina primary in a landslide, and he is receiving massive coverage, acclaim and media excitement for delivering a very articulate speech in front of a giant banner with the word "Change" on it.

It was about 15 minutes of trying to raise the standards of politics, end lobbying, end the bitter internal fighting, unite behind a cause, appreciate and respect your political opponents and hold debates to a civilized standard. There were some really catchy and mature ideas in there -such as "appreciate that even Republicans have ideas" or "Republicans can switch sides" or "time served in Washington is not a qualification" (a swipe at Hillary).

The theme was indeed change, and I can't dispute that his speech was certainly excellent and well delivered. He wasn't talking about some vague or non-existent problems. Politics in America, as in Australia, is massively influenced by partisanship, lobbying and media games. With government in charge of 1/3 of the economy, its no wonder businesses try to get active politically to get the go ahead, or the sweet government contract, or monopoly privileges.

And here is the big problem with Obama. His policies are hardly different to Hillary, or Mitt Romney or John McCain. Basically big government solutions to "big problems".

And I have to ask - So what if the next president is articulate, mature, youthful and open-minded? Because it is plainly obvious is currently committed to government solutions to the "high-cost of health care" and "helping people who can't pay for mortgages".

Just like Bill Clinton, George W Bush, or any other presidential aspirants. Except for Ron Paul.

Ron Paul speaks plain English, sticks to the constitution, understands what the limits of government ought to be, and respects freedom and property rights. His respectable knowledge of economic history makes him the only candidate who is certain not to build on the devastating failures of socialized medicine, health, tax-payer funded bailouts, economic stimulus packages and social security.

Ron Paul has a lot of faults as an individual. He doesn't sound half as articulate or bold as Obama, nor does he communicate as effectively with a crowd, unless they are already free market supporters who understand his message. Many of his followers are from the fringes of society, in fact some are downright nut cases who support Ron Paul because of single issues - opposing the war on terror or the Patriot Act. The wider message of small government is lost on these people, and their views should not reflect negatively on Ron Paul as a serious candidate who, even if he loses, will inject some new ideas into the mainstream.

Ron Paul is RADICALLY different from the other candidates. So what if he is a 72 year old white male ?

It is his message of freedom and limited government that makes him unique. If change were the priority, voters would be flocking to Ron Paul. I may not agree with him 100% on issues like foreign policy or immigration, but the reason I'm happy to overlook those aspects are because he has the right ideas on government bureacracy - dismantle the IRS, the department of education, get rid of the income tax, get rid of the department of energy, end the federal reserve and bring about sound money, allow competitive currencies and a free market in banking, and scale back the war on drugs so that prisons stop overflowing.

Does Obama propose to change the status quo ? Not one bit ! I can't see how. But he has the gift of the gab, running a slick campaign backed by heavyweights like Oprah, and he is the favorite for the next president.