This commentary was originally posted to Norwich Bulletin
December 23, 2013
Anthony Gregory’s provocative commentary, “Pretend It Was President McCain,” asks defenders of President Barack Obama to attribute the current administration’s policies — and scandals — to a President John McCain if he were elected in 2008 and 2012.
I have no interest in actual politics, campaigns or trending political stories. I have long been amazed that earnest people support politicians, bureaucrats, and their political parties. About half the country is partisan, not to ideas or principles, but to political teams.
What if the many unemployed were hampered by the level of wealth creation under McCain’s economic interventions? It’s likely McCain, like Obama, would have continued George Bush’s and the Fed’s inflationary, corporatist subsidizing of Wall Street.
Gregory asks: “At the end of 2008, the Iraqi government essentially forced President Bush into accepting the Status of Forces Agreement withdrawal timetable that Obama basically adopted. What if McCain had won in 2008, oversaw an end to the war as determined by his predecessor, [and] took credit for it…would you praise him for ending the war?
“What if McCain tripled U.S. forces and casualties in Afghanistan, gradually brought them back down to the levels we saw at the end of the Bush years, and took credit for this maneuvering for peace?
“What if McCain bombed more countries than Bush, and even tried to start a war with Syria?”
What about the 160 indefinitely detained individuals still in Guantánamo, an unprecedented war against whistle-blowers, drone executions of suspected terror suspects with the collateral killings of hundreds of innocents, many of them children, that naturally engenders so much grief and hatred, and vastly extending a warrantless surveillance program — and lying about doing so?
Gregory rightly concludes: “We focus on their rhetorical disagreements, but for whatever differences we can identify, on major questions of policy, war, and human rights issues, the two parties govern very similarly. The major distinction would be who defends the president, and who protests most loudly.”
We are the difference
Would a President McCain or Romney have been worse for our prosperity, human rights, and peace? Maybe, but perhaps, the difference may have been with us.
Would individuals have continued to tolerate these same destructive policies under another Republican president, as they have under a Democrat president, or would we all have stopped pretending and withdrawn our consent?
In the interest of human wellness we can all unite outside these teams to effect truly positive change by ending government wars, protecting human rights to due process and against unreasonable searches and seizures, ending corporate subsidies and similar crony capitalism, and auditing, if not ending, the Fed.
Marc Guttman lives in East Lyme and is an emergency physician, and the Libertarian candidate in the 20th Senate District in 2012, 2010 and 2008, and editor of two books, “Why Peace” and “Why Liberty.”