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TweedleBarack, TweedleJohn; At Least Bush Is Gone
by N. L. Wilbur
2008-11-14 10:07:38
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I read with staggering interest a local weekly paper's feature about why certain Albuquirkians weren't going to vote in what was supposed to be an exciting, inspiring and historical 2008 election. Having recently revisited the comments of the several brave locals who broadcast their political views for all the world to see, I feel it is my patriotic duty to add my own perspective on this recently passed election.

Although all carried similarly intuitive analyses and perspectives on why not to participate in this wretched "Democracy," one comment in particular struck me as the most accurate. In it, the staunch segregationist of the '60s, George Wallace, was quoted as saying "Tweedledee, Tweedledum, flip a coin, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties."

Wallace, of course, was talking about the difference between anti-segregationists Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey when he made this remark, and he made it during his fourth run for the presidency, as an Independent. (He lost his first three attempts as a Democratic contender before turning against both parties.)

But beyond the ill-contextualized quotation, history has shown that Wallace's observation is true, generally speaking. The only recent difference I could cite between the two parties is that one party, represented by a Democrat during the '90s, left his successor a $236 billion surplus, while the other, our now lame duck Republican administration, is going to will leave its successor a nearly $400 billion deficit. Other than that -- and possibly the fact that the former party didn't turn this country from a shining beacon of peace and prosperity to barely lit nation at war (with two countries) -- they're absolutely the same.

But the past aside, I have to dedicate the rest of this column to this year's candidates, who proved, as many onlookers observed throughout the campaign, that they are equally as "absolutely the same" as their predecessors.

Let's start with Barack Obama and the issue of money. According to the Sunlight Foundation, the Illinois senator and president-elect had a 2006 average net worth of $799,000 -- most of which is a result of the great success of his personally written book, "The Audacity of Hope." I read it, and it was a bore.

Arizona Sen. John McCain's average net worth was $36 million, probably none of which resulted from any successes from his co-written books, whose titles I shall not speak. I read all three, and all three were bores. McCain's money comes from his wife, the 54-year-old beer baron heiress to the Hensley & Co. adult beverage distributor. (Tell me this guy doesn't throw a hell of a party.)

Now, to some nerdy, nitpicking number crunchers out there, the difference between a million and $36 is quite a difference. But let's put it in perspective: I'm worth about nine bucks soaking wet, so they're both pretty much like quadra-triplilianaires compared to me.

Both candidates have proven to be quite the spenders. The Center for Responsive Politics reported that the total cost of the election -- the presidential and congressional races -- combined for an estimated $5.3 billion. Obama raised and spent the majority of this, as his opponent proved flaccid in his ability to generate donations, but isn't this sickening? It makes my stomach ache that in a time of economic recession, so much could be spent not on any social programs or much-needed infrastructure, but on a stupid campaign.

On a completely unrelated topic, USA Today recently reported that Americans spent $6 billion on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations this year.

On the tax front the two candidates' plans weren't starkly different either. Obama supports tax cuts of $1,000 for the average, $50,000 annual income, working family. McCain proposed cutting taxes on the majority of families by $700, according to independent analyses. And for the fewer than 3 percent of households that make more than $250,000, Obama would increase taxes by an measly $3,000, from $111,000 now, according to the New York Times.

The rates for the rich under a McCain-Palin (cringe) administration would have been the same as they've been under Bush. The only difference I found here, and again it was minute, is that Bush's tax cuts for the rich cost $110 billion a year, while Obama's plan would generate enough revenue to allow him to purchase the entire country of France. Not sure what all that means, but they both sound bad.


The two candidates' general philosophies weren't much different than their net worth, their tax plans or their campaign spending. While Obama continued to drill home the claim that McCain was another Bush -- because he voted with Dubya 90 percent of the time -- McCain changed his tune just about every day.

On Friday Obama said McCain was similar to Bush, while McCain called Obama a terrorist. On Saturday Obama said McCain was just like Bush, while McCain said the Democrat was a socialist. On Monday Obama said McCain was the same as Bush but older, while McCain called Obama a traitor. And on Tuesday, Nov. 4, Obama claimed McCain ate pretzels just like Bush, while McCain went as low as I'd ever seen him go. He called Obama "president-elect."

What a despicably dirty campaign. My friends, what has this world come to?

And don't run off yet. There's more, as if the likeness list weren't long enough already: They are both Washington insiders -- one who has been inside for 26 years, the other for four; they are both fear-mongering politicians -- one who campaigned on respect before turning into a demagogue, the other alleging to be the candidate of hope, change, the middle class, fairness in Washington and a bunch of other scary things; both are men -- one who is 72, the other young enough to be his son; both probably believe that some really dead famous person isn't really dead -- one likely believing it to be Elvis, the other probably 2-Pac; and both wanted to be president of this crumbling country, which means they're probably equal on the insanity scale. Really, the only difference I found is that one is white, and one is black. But even that is sketchy. I hear that Obama is only half black!

If there was ever an election between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, it was this year. Still, I'm glad I voted. No, it didn't turn out to be the exciting, inspiring, historical election everybody claimed -- it was rather like reading a McCain biography, what with all the commercials giving us McCain's biography -- but it did have the positive result, no matter which way you voted, of ending the reign of George W. Bush.

I think we're all rather pleased with that outcome.

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Alexandra Pereira2008-11-14 21:53:57
I am glad the likeness did not extend to this:

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