Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Political Dish

I know, I know . . . a few weeks ago I said I was going have a weekly political commentary and then I fell down on the job (so to speak). But here it is, my thoughts on the current political landscape:

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the death penalty for child rapists I've come to have my first serious criticism of Obama. As a staunch opponent of the death penalty, I was dismayed by Obama's disagreement with the Court's decision. (See his comment here.) It seems to me that his stance on the death penalty has, to use a popular media term, flip-flopped; although as the article states he prefers "evolved." It seems to me it has evolved to the more moderate (read: popular) thought of applying the death penalty in very narrow circumstances and for particularly heinous crimes. While I agree that child rape is particularly heinous, who is to decide the degree of heinousness for each and every crime? I think we walk a very slippery slope when choosing who does or does not deserve the death penalty.

On a more positive Obama note: During a meeting with a group of women in New Mexico he talked about how he stays true to his word and recollected meetings with various people during the primary season. He talked about the importance to keeping promises to people when you ask for their vote. As someone who has become increasingly cynical about the honestly of politicians I couldn't help but be moved by his comments and sincerity.

On to off-shore drilling: Let's think seriously for a moment, creating new off-shore drilling or drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may indeed produce oil, however we are unlikely to see that production come to fruition within the next three to five years. Wouldn't it be more prudent to curb consumption during that time? A couple of years ago during his State of the Union Address Bush declared that "Americans are addicted to oil." I'm not normally one to agree with him, but in this case I do. Yet what has the Bush administration done in the years following that statement to reverse, or even lessen, the addiction? I submit that it is next to nothing. Instead we have been encouraged to keep spending and maintain our current lifestyle.

Recently Governor Schwarzenegger spoke out against off-shore drilling. As the governor of one of the largest states and a state that, in all likelihood, consumes an exorbitant amount of oil, it seems he would be in favor of off-shore drilling. Instead he has taken the environmental high road and proposed stricter emissions standards and decreased consumption.

Although we are all being hit hard by rising gas prices I think that instead of looking at ways we can bring gas prices down we should take this as an opportunity to review our transportation infrastructure -- note that Amtrak ridership has seen it's biggest increase in over a decade. Probably this is wishful thinking on my part, but I would really like to see mass transit have a prominent place in the fall presidential debates.

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