Monday, February 4, 2008

Barack Obama: My America

Barack Obama: My America

Since my arrival in the Senate, I've been a steady and occasionally fierce critic of Bush Administration policies. I consider the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to be both fiscally irresponsible and morally troubling. I have criticised the Administration for lacking a meaningful healthcare agenda, a serious energy policy, or a strategy for making America more competitive. Back in 2002, just before announcing my Senate campaign, I made a speech at one of the first anti-war rallies in Chicago in which I questioned the Administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction and suggested that an invasion of Iraq would prove to be a costly error. Nothing in the recent news coming out of Baghdad or the rest of the Middle East has dispelled these views.

So Democratic audiences are often surprised when I tell them that I don't consider George Bush a bad man, and that I assume he and members of his Administration are trying to do what they think is best for the country.

I say this not because I am seduced by the proximity to power.

I see my invitations to the White House for what they are – exercises in common political courtesy – and am mindful of how quickly the long knives can come out when the Administration's agenda is threatened in any serious way. Moreover, whenever I write a letter to a family who has lost a loved one in Iraq, or read an email from a constituent who has dropped out of college because her student aid has been cut, I'm reminded that the actions of those in power have enormous consequences – a price that they themselves almost never have to pay.

Y'hear that, Europe? WE'RE NOT ALL INSANE.

Seriously. Thank you to The Independent for publishing something that shows my country isn't completely filled with maniacs.

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