Exclusive: Election 2008 – The Real Fun Begins

by WALTER ANDERSON June 18, 2008

Suspended Suspense

When Hillary Clinton finally announced that she was suspending her campaign after days of drama (and days of making people wonder if she understands that she has no place to go except deeper in campaign debt than she already is), it must have been a great relief to her staff - and at the same time a big disappointment. I am acquainted with a number of Hillary supporters who were loyal to the end. Even though they knew what the outcome would be, they hung on to a thin thread of hope (oops, that's Barack Obama's word), thinking that possibly things would change (oh my, there‘s another of those Obama words).

Guess what? Almost all of those Hillary supporters I know have declared that they will NOT vote for Obama. Some said they will simply not vote (although it was explained that a non-vote would be a vote for Obama), while the majority have unequivocally said they would vote McCain. Several have even gone so far as to change party affiliation to either Independent or even Republican. When questioned, they have many answers but the most prevalent reasons are: they don't trust Obama; they are upset with the way the Democrat voters who were loyal to Hillary were treated by the DNC; they fear Obama is dangerous to the country. Exit polls taken during the final primary contest indicate nearly one third of those Hillary backers would not vote for Obama in the general campaign. Should this become a nationwide trend, it could have a large negative impact on Obama in November.

Looking For Mr. Right-Hand Man

McCain and Obama have assigned specific people to the ultra secretive task of searching out likely candidates to fill the position of running mate of their respective tickets. I've already discussed a number of possibilities for both tickets, and now rumor has it that the Obama crew may be looking toward former military personnel. Rumor also has it that they have been speaking with some senators in D.C. for ideas. Sen. Byron Dorgan confirms the discussion includes former Pentagon officials and Sen. Dick Durbin (one of Obama's advisors and the "other" senator from Illinois) adds that the discussion involves many names - some surprising, some not. You can always count on Durbin for a straight answer!

There is not much available on the McCain VP selection team at this point because McCain and his campaign manager, Rick Davis, are basically handling the search and interview process themselves, although they have enlisted the assistance of Arthur Culvahouse, a former Reagan administration official who is active in GOP circles. His inclusion has raised some questions from critics, as he is a former lobbyist for Fannie Mae and Lockheed Martin.

Why something like that should bother anyone I have no idea. Jim Johnson, formerly of Obama's search team, was CEO of Fannie Mae and oddly fits the mold of Obama's complaints of CEOs who make way too much money. In one year, Johnson while working for Fannie Mae made $21 million. In addition it seems he was given some preferential treatment in obtaining a $7 million loan from Countrywide...which is why he is no longer on Obama's VP vetting team.

Then there is Eric Holder. Holder was a Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration and former federal judge. You may recall Holder's name coming up as the Deputy Attorney General who was involved in saying that there was "not enough evidence to proceed" against Bill Clinton's brother for alleged payoffs he received in obtaining favors. Holder was also, according to an NYT article, "a willing participant in the plan to keep the justice department about knowing and opposing" a pardon for millionaire international fugitive Marc Rich by Bill Clinton. Rich's ex-wife Denise was a heavy contributor to Clinton and a close friend. Could be tapped as the first African-American Attorney General should Obama prevail in November?

The other member of "search team Obama" is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, who has until now kept out of the public political sphere. My opinion? She's either another way for Obama to keep his so-called attachment to JFK alive or a substitute for Ted, who recently underwent surgery for a brain tumor.

In addition, it was reported that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and "other" influential Democrats are also assisting in Obama's quest to locate, vet and sign on a suitable vice presidential candidate. We all know that little of substance can be done via committee. It seems that with the volume of people "helping" Obama determine a suitable candidate for a running mate, he may never be able to come up with one person that all would agree on - including himself!

Economical Issues

Last week, we saw the makings of some real issue discussion between McCain and Obama as they cut into each other's statements about economic policies.

Long story short, Obama said he would cut taxes for all but 5% of the taxpayers. McCain said that was not factual because first, Obama has made a long standing commitment to rolling back the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush. He went on further to say that every taxpayer, from senior citizens to small business owners and anyone who has any stock market investments, would feel the pinch of the Obama increase. In addition, prices would rise and jobs would fall.

Obama countered, not by actually refuting McCain's allegations but by challenging McCain's healthcare plan as unworkable and only being beneficial to those people who are healthy and wealthy enough to pay for the coverage. Obama stated that healthcare costs and rising gasoline costs are two of the largest problems facing small business employers today. Once again, Obama took advantage by adding the words that a McCain presidency would only really be a third Bush term based on the growing dissatisfaction with the economic policies of our current president.

McCain has accused Obama of favoring the raising of the income cap on Social Security to raise more funds to offset the increased outgo. Obama in turn accused McCain of doing exactly the same thing for the same reason. Guess what? It's a draw this time. They were BOTH correct! They have both advocated the cap increase! However, in all fairness that is where the two candidates' proposals for revamping Social Security stop. McCain is also in favor of allowing a portion of an individual's Social Security contributions to go into private retirement investment accounts and has come out against raising the percentage amount of the tax itself. Obama is not a proponent of individual private retirement accounts and has floated the idea in the past of increasing the age at which Social security funds would become available.

Another area that Obama has indicated he would look to change is an increase in capital gains tax from the current 15% to Clinton era rates in the neighborhood of 25% to 30%. Obama feels that raising taxes will stimulate the economy while John F. Kennedy, Ronald W. Reagan and George W. Bush managed to decrease taxes and thus stimulate the economy.

Educate Yourself

As always upon closing, I urge you to learn as much as you can about the candidates by keeping up on the news and getting involved in discussion, both on the Internet and with your acquaintances. Also, be sure to continue to think about your choices for the House of Representatives and Senatorial seats that will all be up for grabs in November. The president may "run the country," but the members of Congress are the ones who turn out the legislation that controls it.

Until next time ....

Walter Anderson has an extensive background in business, served in the Marine Corps, and is experienced in grassroots political activism. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.

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