Political Round Up: Wisconsin, Hawaii, drama, and Bush’s trip to Africa.
Another week, another set of victories for Obama and McCain.
It’s just not that interesting to keep rehashing these wins, so I’m going to move on from there. I’m also not going to bother with the silly ‘plagiarism’ cracks that seem to be the worst thing that the candidates can level at each other. We’re gearing up for a general election, and we’ll have plenty of nasty to go around. I’d rather not jump the gun.
Speaking of nasty, the New York Times printed a story about John McCain that on first read seemed to be a lot of nothing. Basically, McCain aides who wouldn’t be named warned a certain (very pretty) female lobbyist away from McCain out of fear of the appearance of impropriety. This was back in 2000, and apparently there was also a question of how much undue influence this lobbyist had.
But, like I said, it seems to be not much right now. Mike Huckabee might be gloating, and dropping a few more cheesy lines about miracles, but the only purpose this seems to have served so far is to make McCain and his wife, the lobbyist in question, and everyone who knows him deny that he had an affair, and to make Rush Limbaugh and suchlike circle around him. The blogosphere seems to think that the Times must have more than it printed, but so far nothing.
In other news, the current lame duck president just got back from a trip to Africa. While one of the highlights for me was seeing him do the white boy dance with the fabulous president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (See video below,) there were plenty of more serious reasons to pay attention to this trip.
Bush visited Liberia, Ghana, Rwanda, Benin, and Tanzania, though he skirted the countries that are in the news most frequently these days–Sudan and Kenya. Bush was pushing plans for a new U.S. military base in Africa, but so far only Liberia has offered to host the base.
The President chose to highlight the achievements of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), though he didn’t choose to mention that the large majority of the money spent under PEPFAR goes to abstinence education and distributes condoms only to prostitutes and truck drivers. (Truck drivers?)
Check out The American Prospect for more.
The ONE campaign is urging the current presidential candidates to pledge to go to Africa in their first year as president. Barack Obama, of course, has family in Kenya and has been there on a couple of occasions. Hillary Clinton made state visits to Africa, including to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. when she was first lady. I can’t find any information on whether John McCain has been to Africa, and I rather doubt Mike Huckabee has been, and since Ron Paul doesn’t believe in getting involved with other countries…well, yeah.
This past summer, Vanity Fair did an excellent special edition about Africa. It highlighted not just the bad things about the continent that we are so used to hearing, but stories about Africa’s music and literary rising stars, and the many positive things about Africa.
It’s safe to say that a President Obama would bring about closer ties with Africa, and not just the country his father came from, Kenya. But any of the presidential candidates have a chance to increase our standing in the world, and to help Africa. Like with any of the other issues being discussed right now, the key is to put pressure on them to go on the record about these issues. Then at the very least, you have something to throw at them later when they’re up for reelection if they don’t keep their promises.
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