The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The politics of the presidential

On March 26, Joseph Goddard’s column “The politics of change” treated Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton unfairly, and portrayed John McCain as a flawless candidate. However, all three have impressive backgrounds as well as considerable flaws. Goddard pointed out some issues with Clinton and Obama’s campaigns; now let’s do McCain.

McCain was the Republican co-sponsor of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. While that bill was groundbreaking because it put campaign finance reform, an important but little talked about issue, on the table, it also created several new loopholes. Furthermore, many think BCRA infringes on the First Amendment. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy stated, “It is a measure of the government’s disdain for protected speech that it would label as a sham the mode of communication sophisticated speakers choose because it is the most powerful,” referring to BCRA’s ban on any advertisements mentioning a federal candidate’s name within 60 days of an election. Furthermore, McCain has distanced himself from campaign finance reform now that he is a “conservative Republican.” He has also refrained from signing onto the Fair Elections Now Act, which would enact real change by implementing constitutional publicly funded elections for Congress. The only presidential candidate who is a co-signer of FENA is Barack Obama.

Goddard stated that McCain stands out because he is the only candidate who has frequently worked with the opposing party on legislation. In fact, both Clinton and Obama have done the same. Clinton has worked on bipartisan legislation to support children’s health care and better veteran care, and Obama has worked on bipartisan legislation to increase transparency and disclosure of government spending, to name two examples.

But McCain has gone above and beyond reaching across the aisle: He considered switching parties in 2001 and even discussed being John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. But don’t worry, now he is a conservative Republican.

Goddard also claimed that McCain is the only candidate who acts only for the American people and not for his own career. Aside from the fact that he considered switching parties after he didn’t make the Republican nomination in 2000 and the Democrats needed one more ally in an evenly divided Senate after that election, and aside from the fact that he has shied away from his more moderate beliefs now that he is a presidential candidate, it is undeniable that any presidential candidate has his or her career in mind. Obama, Clinton and McCain all know that serving as president is about the biggest boost one’s career can get.

Most importantly, McCain supports continuing the violence in Iraq. He supports military force in general rather than diplomacy and civility. He supports forced regime change in non-Democratic countries. These are the ideas that got us into the mess in Iraq in the first place. We have to look at the big picture in this election, and McCain has plans of a long-term presence in Iraq, despite the National Intelligence Estimate, that states that the war in Iraq is causing an increase in terrorist activities and general distaste, to put it mildly, toward the United States. In a CBS News poll, almost 50 percent of Americans polled approve of staying in Iraq for less than a year, and only five to six percent supported staying longer than five years. I do not see how this man has the interest of the American people at heart.

Lastly, to claim that Obama’s race and Clinton’s gender are their only qualifications to cause change ignores both candidates’ histories of positive action. They have both been working for change for a long time, and just because they have the spotlight now, their previous work shouldn’t be discredited. One is criticized for being around too long and the other not long enough, but they have both made admirable efforts to affect change at local, state and national levels, and they are currently continuing on that path. One more so than the other, in my opinion, but I won’t go into that because my point here is that all the candidates have something to offer, and all have flaws. None of them are perfect, especially not John McCain.

Cody Meador is a sophomore political science major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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