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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Statesman vs. Politician & Builders vs. Haters

I watched the Obama-Clinton final debate last night. What I saw was a statesman versus a politician.

In a breakfast meeting of GHASP this morning (covering the state of our --cough, cough -- air quality in Houston), I heard people tell me that they are looking for a potential statesman as President, not another politician who plays the “gotcha” game.

Mr. Obama came across more as a Statesman, who didn’t lower himself to take cheap political shots, even when it would have been easy to do so. He went out of his way to say good things about some of Mrs. Clinton’s plans when most candidates have nothing good to say about an opponent.

Ms. Clinton came across as a good politician, “who was against NAFTA before she was for it” (depending on which state she was campaigning in) and full of catchy slogans like "change you can Xerox." But we are “full up” on politicians in Washington who read the polls to determine which way the wind is blowing, and which slogan of the minute might connect with people.

At the same time, we saw a glimpse of the hate speech to come from the dark side. At a speech during a McCain rally, radio hater Bill Cunningham implied Obama was a Muslim (untrue). When McCain, to his credit, did the right thing and apologized for the bigoted remarks, Cunningham got angry and said he had been “thrown under McCain’s bus” -- and turned on McCain!

Bigotry like Mr. Cunningham's is a major GOP problem that is driving away decent people. Decent moderates were kicked to the curb. If you aren’t a “hater” candidate willing to condone trash talk, they will turn on and eat their own candidate!

This episode shows how un-American the haters really are, and why none of them deserve to be in office or influencing American policy. We need a statesman as President, someone who can build bridges. We don't need another a politician or a President supported by groups that promote hate. The GOP war against blacks, Hispanics, gays, Muslims, etc. is racism at its worst. (McCain's attack on Obama about Al Qaida in Iraq ignores the fact that there was NO Al Qaida in Iraq before Bush started this war --none, zip, nada! They poured in after we opened the borders).

Hate is neither equality nor a family value. In this election we have a chance to vote against the haters and for a new level of American, statesmanlike leadership...

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