[Marxism] New School President/war criminal's advice to Obama

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jun 30 06:56:16 MDT 2008


Build a bridge, Barack Obama
Saturday, June 28th 2008, 7:06 PM

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama share a word last year on Capitol 

I support and will do what I can to help Sen. Barack Obama become our 
next President. Among other reasons, I believe he has a unique capacity 
to get world leaders to collaborate with the United States to fight the 
war on terror, negotiate good trade agreements and get the world on the 
track of sustainable economic growth.

Still, there is a lot to admire about Sen. John McCain. I agree with 
many of his ideas, regard him as one of the few political leaders who is 
willing to take a stand on unpopular issues when the cause demands it, 
and believe he, too, would make a very good President.

I know that it is unlikely that McCain would be offered or accept a 
position in President Obama's cabinet. I also know that if and when 
President Obama is drafting his first State of the Union address - and 
laying out big policy goals - he is going to need important GOP allies 
and lots of bipartisan goodwill.

 From this comes a modest proposal and an immodest wish: That Obama 
begin now to look for opportunities to say to McCain: “I agree with you 
on that.”

This may sound like a small thing or a naïve hope. And I know it would 
not make for a reliable applause line at the Democratic Party's Denver 

But it would be a worthwhile refrain at moments throughout this campaign 
season, which has already taken on a polarized, partisan and sometimes 
petty air despite the earlier promise, by both nominees, of a 
substantive, postpartisan conversation.

This will not require Obama to go wobbly on the core beliefs of the 
Democratic Party. Nobody will confuse the two party platforms on health 
care, foreign affairs, social policy or the economy. On these and other 
issues, he and McCain will have to fight it out in the court of public 

In other cases, though, I hope Obama will understand that agreement is 
not only possible, it is necessary if the real change we seek is to 
happen. Indeed, if a Democrat cannot find common ground with John 
McCain, he is unlikely to find it with any Republican. And if this 
Democrat - who specializes in gracious gestures - cannot do so in this 
election year, the chances we will ever see a new kind of American 
politics emerge are slim to none.

Here, then, is my wish list of some of the things I hope our nominee 
will say:

- Sen. McCain, I agree with you on Iraq, in one important sense. We 
cannot abandon our ally and walk away from the region. I remain in favor 
of withdrawal - because this war is costing us too much in blood and 
treasure - but I understand that the surge has produced some positive 
effects. And ultimately, I will need your help to fashion a way to leave 
Iraq without turning our back on our national interest.

- Sen. McCain, I agree with you in one critical way on the global war on 
terror. Some Democrats - and Republicans like Ron Paul - minimize the 
danger posed by violent Islamic fundamentalists. I say we must 
relentlessly pursue those who have declared themselves to be existential 
enemies of the United States. I will need your help, and that of other 
Republicans, to accomplish that objective.

- Sen. McCain, I agree with you on immigration. We need a comprehensive 
solution to this problem. I will need your help to accomplish that 

- Sen. McCain, I admire the courage you've shown in bucking your party 
to support carbon trading. Our behavior is warming the planet and 
threatening our very existence. We need stronger domestic and 
international agreements. I will need your help to accomplish that 

- Sen. McCain, I agree with your demand that Congress change the way it 
organizes oversight of our intelligence and homeland security efforts. I 
will need your help to accomplish that objective.

- Sen. McCain, I appreciate your leadership on campaign finance reform, 
and my opting out of public financing isn't meant to abandon the system. 
There is a lot more that needs to be done to clean up the influence of 
money in politics. I will need your help to accomplish that objective.

Sen. Obama talks eloquently about embracing the best ideas no matter 
where they come from. He's right: Reflexive rejection of every 
Democratic idea by the Republican candidate, and vice-versa, is unwise - 
especially given the short period of time the President-elect will have 
to confront many contentious issues.

George W. Bush promised, but failed, to change the tone in Washington. 
Barack Obama can do it. He is far more likely to succeed if he starts today.

Kerrey, a Democrat and former U.S. senator from Nebraska, is president 
of the New School.

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