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Elections & Voting Last Updated: Oct 1st, 2008 - 00:37:13

What�s happened to the Democrats?
By Laurie Stone
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 1, 2008, 00:18

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I have to confess. I walked away from the first presidential debate depressed. Yes, Barack performed well. He was smart and articulate. He got a few zingers into McCain and someone obviously coached him on losing the 25-cent words. By many accounts in the media, he won. My only problem is I didn�t agree with much of what he said.

Where are the Democrats we used to know? Where�s Martin Luther King? George McGovern? Jimmy Carter? Today our candidate sounds like Tony Soprano as he talks of �taking out� Osama bin Laden. What�s next? Are we going to declare our officials �made� instead of swearing them in? And even from a practical standpoint, how is killing Osama bin Laden going to change anything in the so-called War on Terror? Will all the bad guys come out of their caves with hands raised? �Don�t shoot! We give up!�

I have to admit I�m jealous. The Republicans gets their classic full-throttle candidate whose main message is and always will be -- war is good, taxes are bad. And here�s Obama with that cool intellectual intensity, looking like a modern day Bobby Kennedy and what does he talk about? Moving the war to Afghanistan? Invading Pakistan? Facing off Russia? Are we such a warrior nation it�s unthinkable to run for president unless you�re willing to take out an Uzi and decimate the world?

I look at Barack Obama like an oasis in the desert. After eight years of a barely functional nitwit, Obama is articulate and bright. He�s charming and charismatic. He�s thoughtful, presidential, and seems ready to lead this country out of the abyss we�re perched over. Except when you get closer, he sounds like George Patton.

I prayed John McCain would appear a doddering old man at this debate, especially after that odd week of suspending his campaign, then the debate, then calling the debate back on, and then the campaign. Unfortunately, although not William Jennings Bryan, he was on his game, forceful and passionate. And I�ll say one thing for Republicans, they�re formidable opponents. They stick to the script with steel talons. Can you imagine McCain or Dick Cheney starting any response by agreeing with his opponent? You�d do better trying to cuddle a pit bull.

I just don�t get the Democrats anymore, at least those in power. Even the choice of Joe Biden seems boring and safe, another triangulating right-wing Democrat. From what I�ve seen of Biden the past eight years, his biggest talent is giving his big, impassioned �Mr. Smith Goes to Washington� speech spouting the evils of whatever ill-conceived bill the Republicans want to pass. . . . and then voting for it. Then there�s Bill Clinton singing the praises of John McCain and Sarah Palin on national television recently. How odd. Can you imagine McCain or Palin gushing over Obama? Of course, if McCain is elected, watch Bill and Hillary end up with juicy positions in his administration. One hand washes the other.

Don�t get me wrong. On November 4, I�ll be pulling the lever for Obama. I get a strange feeling when I hear McCain�s �Country First� message and talk of cutting Pentagon spending. I wonder if John is sick of shoveling money at Blackwater USA and their paid groups of thugs and mercenaries. Instead, I�m willing to bet John would love to start another draft. It would save dollars, not to mention what perfect payback to all those uppity liberals having to fork over their kids to the war machine.

This whole thing reminds me of the movie, �Lemony Snicket and the Series of Unfortunate Events.� The American public is like those three orphans who keep getting shunted off to ever-creepier relatives. Just when we breathe a sigh of relief at the back of vile Uncle George, in walks in crazy old Grandpa John.

Yes, believe me, I�ll pull the lever for Obama. It�s just with heavier heart than I thought. We�re so close and still so far. And who knows, maybe Obama is saying all this Rambo crap to get elected, to throw some red meat to the part of this country that needs to kick ass to feel good, no matter the cost. Maybe once in office he�ll become Martin Luther King. I want to say I hold out a lot of hope. I really do.

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