What if Obama Had Won the Election?
WHAT IF OBAMA HAD WON THE ELECTION?
As President McCain Heads into His Second Year, What Might Have Been Different?
By Joe Bodolai
In the wee hours of election night 2008, the promise of change did indeed seem possible until Senator John McCain’s stunning last-minute surprise upset. While some were rightfully suspicious of the results, the McCain camp explained their triumph as “unpolled Americans came out in force and expressed their preference in the privacy of the poll booth rather than risk being called ‘racist’.
After President McCain’s first year, filled with angst, turmoil, and more of the same, I have decided to speculate on what America would be like today had Senator Obama won the election which so many assumed he would.
First of all, there is no way an Obama administration would have turned the economy into shambles with a massive bank bailout. ”His populist voter base would never stand for it,“ I wrote just a few short months ago. “Obama stands for change we can believe in, and this is far from it.” Senator Obama announced his alternative, which was greeted with huge enthusiasm, according to the 86% of Americans who “strongly approved” of his bold plan to pay off all consumer credit cards instead of money going directly to financial institutions.
His rousing speech at the Mall of America’s food court level with over 100,000 Minnesotans below him braving minus 23 temperatures and reminding Americans of the glory days of ”shopping. Not just for flat screen TVs or other necessities. My plan would relieve Americans of onerous debt while still providing lenders with plenty of profit and not to mention a real stimulus for consumers, with balances due looking at zero balances, fresh new credit limits and rolled down interest rate caps to allow them to spend again, thus creating jobs for American workers, given my stipulation that all new credit card expenditures be spent within the United States for American cars, American products, and American vacation destinations.
Instead we have the McCain Administration’s failed “Cash for Clunkers” automobile buying incentive, which Senator Obama hilariously ridiculed on Late Night with David Letterman with his quip that “okay, I’ll admit the President did indeed give cash for clunkers, but those clunkers are the big banks and desperate failing automakers, lobbyists for special interest groups, and brokerage houses. Clunkers if I’ve ever seen one, and I should know. I drive a Pacer.” The video clip of Obama and Letterman driving around Wall Street and Harlem in the Pacer for the interview has been downloaded over 95 million times on YouTube.
Vice-President Palin, in one of her numerous gaffes since taking office, denounced Obama as “on the wrong side of the financial equation, like reparations for slavery there should be no free lunch!”
President McCain’s continuation of the Cheney-Bush foreign policy agenda is surely something that an Obama Administration would not accept. No Obama administration would consider sending more troops to Afghanistan such as President McCain has announced. While admitting “it takes some time to change the direction of a mighty cruise ship (but) I am committed to finalizing our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and repairing our image with the rest of the world”. Likewise, President McCain’s continued unconditional support of Israel would be counter to a President Obama’s promise to strive for peace and a moratorium on settlements and saber-rattling toward Iran. McCain’s celebrated taunt to Iran regarding their supposed nuclear weapons program – “bring it on!” – would never be countenanced by a moderate Obama Administration where negotiation would be favored over confrontation.
Likewise, President McCain’s confusing health care initiatives, which are considered by most Obama supporters as more profit for the private sector, would never be tabled by an Obama administration. Obama won overwhelming praise for his much simpler, more clearly defined health care plan – “Medicare for All.” He won another huge swell of popular opinion by pointing out that the bonuses and salaries paid to 50% of the CEO’s of the largest pharmaceutical and health related industries would provide insurance for every man, woman, and child in the country while keeping their corporations profitable.
Democratic Senator John Conyers (D-Michigan) inadvertently aided the cause by being caught on tape aired on The Daily Show admitting that he had not even read the 1,000-page bill saying “who has time for that?” Stewart’s dry reply “I feel you bro.“ led to thousands of t-shirts, cardboard signs, and late night talk shows on an upswell of gratitude for a new catch phrase.
Of course, the scandal over the resignation of Vice-President Palin for her celebrated gaffes would never be made by the more experience Joe Biden. It is hard to imagine Biden saying something as stupid as Palin’s “send the homeless to Afghanistan. They need jobs. It’s a win-win.”
Finally, America today would not be so polarized. As 450,000 people marched on Washington last week, with countless taser arrests (15 of the 22 deaths attributed to controversial use of the 50,000-volt device, new weapons directed by SWAT teams to ”disperse unlawful assemblies“, aerial surveillance, and addition of thousands of innocent names to the ever-expanding terror watch list, Senator Obama said in his catalyzing speech at the Lincoln Memorial, “the First Amendment is the founding principle of the Bill of Rights and cannot be trampled by government. Behind me stands the symbol of the blood that was shed to keep this country free from all enemies, foreign or domestic.“ Clearly a President Obama would not approve the continuation of torture. The backdrop of the serene Lincoln was an ominous metaphor for the American divide, today not regional but along class and other lines.
Clearly had Senator Obama won the election, America would likely be a different, more benign place with a respect for the people and not for the oligarchy that the McCain Administration considers its constituency.
Alas, in the words of the late Robert F. Kennedy, “there are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”