Monday, October 27, 2008

All about Alexander

Alexander Cockburn has published a condemnation of Sen. Barack Obama's candidacy in The Nation. As usual, his essay is characterized by a total misunderstanding of American politics.

Cockburn's main beefs with Obama: That the Senator is willing to go after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and attack terrorists in other countries. I'm sorry to break it to you, Alex, but most Americans are perfectly fine with that. Most liberals do not oppose defense so much as they oppose war on countries that do not threaten us.

Second, he notes, correctly, that Obama has not taken as strong as stance on civil liberties as might be hoped. This is a valid point, Mr. Cockburn, but it should be noted that this is no worse than what McCain is proposing. Indeed, a President Obama might be willing to revise the Patriot Act. We will have no such chance with McCain.

What is particularly galling about Cockburn's article is what it omits. It does not discuss what the two candidates with a chance of winning would do with their Supreme Court nominations, an issue with the potential to affect a variety of what Cockburn calls "decent progressive principles" ranging from abortion to health care and the death penalty.

Second, he does not discuss the prospect of an outright religious fanatic-Sarah Palin-being within a heartbeat of the presidency. Cockburn notes that Iraq War supporter Christopher Hitchens has endorsed Obama. What he fails to mention is that Hitchens largely based his endorsement on McCain's inclusion of such a fanatic on his ticket.

When it comes to issues like that, Mr. Cockburn, I would rather be on Hitchens's side any day.

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