Is the American election like 1992?
By Michael O. Powell

Despite Barack Obama symbolically putting an end to Clintonian presidential ambitions in defeating the far more connected and established Hillary Clinton, he may actually be closer to Clinton than he thinks.

Like Bill Clinton in 1992, Obama comes as a relatively fresh face. Before his presidential ambitions became known, he was known for his appearance at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where he delivered a very well received speech that introduced him to the political world. Clinton, though already well established in American politics, became known to nationwide audiences for an infamously tedious speech at the 1988 DNC, which landed him an appearance on the Johnny Carson show.

Like Bill Clinton, Obama is challenging a symbol of the status quo. While McCain has been known as a “maverick,” he is for the most part seen as a continuation of the Bush Administration. Like Bush 41 and later Bob Dole, to whom Clinton defeated, he resembles the worst conceptions of the Republican Party: old, cranky and out of touch.

Like 1992, the economy is the top issue. America’s mortgage crisis has spilled over into other countries, subsidizing of ethanol has resulted in heightened food prices and oil prices show no sign of going down. When the economy is in the tank, populism and protectionism takes hold, and this is something that Barack Obama is not unfriendly to.

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On July 7, Obama threw his opinion in against the purchase of American brewer Anheuser-Busch by Belgian brewer InBev, saying, ``I think we should be able to find an American company that is interested in purchasing Anheuser-Busch if in fact Anheuser- Busch feels that it's necessary to sell.” This comment insinuates that he believes “we,” which I take to mean the American government, should decide the fate of a private company. This leads me to believe his administration would be one of significant government intervention into the economy.

John McCain, meanwhile, plays the role of the Republican establishment figure to the letter. His plans for the war seem no different than Bush, he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent even though he has opposed them on principle when they were implemented.

The most disappointing move is that he has softened his position that the torture advertisement of Guantanamo Bay should be closed down, calling the Supreme Court decision to allow Gitmo detainees to appeal in civilian courts “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” While that doesn’t necessarily mean he has backtracked on his anti-Gitmo stance, it does show a sign of continuity with the policies that led to the use of Guantanamo Bay as a indefinite holding cell for prisoners we still don’t the guilt or innocence of.

Where he does show change, it is in bad ways. When asked by Joy Behar on an appearance on the chat show “The View” if he would bring back the draft, instead of flatly saying “no” McCain laid out a vision of Americans being forced into public service, though not necessarily military.

While this may sound good to some of those who think people should go work as a tutor in a public school or feed children in Africa, forcing people to choose a certain route in life impedes on the freedom of choice that the United States was founded on. There’s also the simple psychology that forcing someone to do something often makes them not appreciate it as they would if they had arrived at it independently.

With Obama and McCain playing the roles of Clinton and Bush 41, one hopes that Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr will play the role of Ross Perot in order to give this voter someone to feel good about voting for.

Editor's note: The opinions expressed here do not represent those of Mstation and are not an endorsement by us of the Libertarian candidate. We like Free Speech, however.

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