Presidential Campaign

 A lot has happened in the presidential campaign this week and I’d like to take a moment to comment.

First of all, I was pleasantly surprised by Obama’s selection of Biden as his running mate.  Biden would have been my pick, too.  I just like the guy.  Some criticize him for some of his gaffs, but I find his openness and honesty to be refreshing.  He’s extremely knowledgeable and tough.  He’s much closer to the average working stiff than to corporate executives.  Some criticize him for being involved in the revamp of bankruptcy laws to the benefit of credit card companies.  Frankly, I think that law was a good thing.  Anything that imposes more discipline and responsibility on the handling of debt is a good thing.  Ben Bernanke could use some lessons in that.  In my opinion, Obama has passed his first real test of judgment – the selection of a VP – with flying colors.  I knew all along that he would never pick Hillary – primarily because of her husband.  If he had, Bill would have been constantly upstaging him.  Following every Obama decision, reporters would have run to Bill and asked if that’s what he’d have done.  Sure, they’ll still do that, but without being linked to the White House, no one will care what he thinks.  By the way, Biden hit one out of the park with that speech last night.  And, if I was the Republican VP candidate, I wouldn’t look forward to debating Biden.  He’s really a pro in the point-counterpoint formats.  I look for a really incredible speech by Obama tonight. 

And I must say that I’m impressed with the McCain campaign’s tenacity in going after Obama with their ads.  He clearly has a well-run campaign and is ceding nothing to Obama.  But I think his economic message is out-of-step with the times and I think that he’ll wilt in the debates.  One thing I’ve noticed is that McCain is constantly reading from notes during his stump speeches while Obama never does, seemingly speaking from the heart instead.  To me, this displays a better grasp of the issues and an intellectual lightness of the feet that will serve him well in the debates. 

Hey, regardless of who wins, we’ll clearly have a much better president that we’ve had for the past eight years.  At least we’ll have someone who can construct complete sentences and deliver a speech without an arrogant smirk on his face. 

2 Responses to Presidential Campaign

  1. Robert says:


    I’m wondering what you are thinking with your comments on Biden being a good selection. If you check with Numbers USA they give him a D- on immigration related issues which is absolutely TERRIBLE and spell DISASTER for the future of this nation. I am hoping McCain picks Romney who had a much better stance on illegal immigration. I also see that Michelle Obama stated on 8/28 “if elected her husband would attempt to grant amnesty to every illegal alien in the United States.” Please explain how you could possibly support Biden or Obama? I know McCain is terrible but at least he is promising to secure the border before pushing amnesty.

  2. Pete Murphy says:

    Sure, Robert, I’ll try to explain. If you’ve read my book, you know that there are two issues critical to me: 1) stabilizing and even reducing our population (which is where immigration comes in), and 2) eliminating our trade deficit. Of the two issues, I see the second as being of the most immediate concern for the following reason: free trade with overpopulated nations has raised our effective population density from 85 people per square mile to 348. (See figure 7-5 on page 130.) This has done incredible damage to our economy and has virtually bankrupted the nation. At today’s rate of population growth, it would take nearly 150 years for the U.S. to reach a population density of 348. In other words, the damage to our economy that could be done by 150 years of population growth is already here, imported through free trade with overpopulated nations. The first priority has to be undoing the economic damage done by our misguided trade policies.

    So I compare the two candidates on these two issues. Frankly, I see no difference between them on immigration. Both favor high rates of immigration (to their detriment) and both say that the borders must first be secured before we can talk about other immigration reform. However, I see a significant difference between the candidates on the subject of trade. McCain has been very open in his support of free trade and has promised to “open markets” if elected, “open markets” being a euphemism for more free trade. On the other hand, both Obama and Biden have been very outspoken about the damage done to our economy by our trade policies and Obama has promised an overhaul of NAFTA. So I see the Obama / Biden team as far more likely to make the right moves on trade.

    Back to immigration: frankly, whichever is elected, I think they will soon face some stark realities that will make them conclude that it’s in our best interest to ratchet back immigration. Both candidates are concerned about our dependence on foreign oil and both have promised action on reducing carbon emissions. When it gets down to the nuts and bolts of how to make progress on these issues, either of them would quickly come to the conclusion that population growth makes those goals virtually impossible to achieve. I think that with either candidate we would see immigration slide to the back burner, leaving us in the mode of enforcement and securing the border.

    I was reluctant to come out in favor of either candidate because both parties, for a very long time, have been on the wrong side of both issues – immigration and trade. So why alienate any of my readers? However, it became clear to me that any discussion of these issues was going to start favoring the Democrats because of their shift toward opposing these trade deals. So I felt it was time to call it as I see it.

    If Obama is elected, I’m going to be very disappointed if he doesn’t come through toward reducing our trade deficit. And I’m going to be very critical of any moves toward relaxing enforcement of our immigration laws, or any moves that smell of amnesty.

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