Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guest Blog: Obama or McCain? Who gets the Vote of the Poor?

By Andrew Mitchell MP

From the tea rooms of the House of Commons to the slums of Nairobi, the Obama versus McCain showdown is the talk of the world. It promises to be the most unpredictable and gripping contest for many years. What will it mean for the poorest people on the planet?

There is now a real prospect that the next leader of the free world will have close relatives who are among its poorest inhabitants. According to a recent CNN report, Barack Obama's Kenyan grandmother and uncle "do not have a television and live in a simple, single-story canary-yellow home several miles from the closest village."

Obama's father was born and raised in the East African nation; after the recent post-election violence, some reporters asked breathlessly 'Can Obama Save Kenya?'. On an emotional visit to his father's homeland in 2006, Obama was greeted by cheering crowds. He took a public HIV test at a remote rural health clinic in an effort to promote AIDS awareness. And the Senator from Illinois has taken a legislative interest in development issues back in Washington: he is piloting the Global Poverty Act through Congress, which would require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to halve extreme global poverty by 2015, and demands measurable benchmarks and timetables to achieve this ambitious goal. If he wins in November, he might just be carrying this through as President.

But there is an elephant in the room whenever the presumptive Democratic candidate discusses development: Trade. During the primaries he followed John Edwards and Hilary Clinton in playing to the protectionist gallery. This is dangerous territory: failure for the Doha Round could fatally undermine the multilateral, rules-based system overseen by the World Trade Organisation that protects poor countries and offers the best route to freer global trade. The deadline is looming for this vital and much-needed agreement.

The voice of reason on trade is that of Republican frontrunner John McCain. He has bravely kept the flag of economic freedom flying, making the unanswerable case that free trade and open markets are the surest route to growth and development. Pointedly ignoring the siren call of protectionism, he promises to "aggressively promote global trade liberalization at the World Trade Organization and expand America's free-trade agreements to friendly nations on every continent."

McCain's views on development are practical and challenging, though perhaps less clearly-defined than Obama's. He has called for the G8 to boot out undemocratic Russia, but embrace the market democracies of India and Brazil. Writing in Foreign Affairs, he pledged to help promote an 'African Renaissance', and to work to eradicate malaria. On Darfur, he says " I fear that the United States is once again repeating the mistakes it made in Bosnia and Rwanda" and promises "my administration will consider the use of all elements of American power to stop the outrageous acts of human destruction". On a more personal level, his website tells us that "in 1993, John McCain and his wife, Cindy, adopted a little girl from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh" and that adoption is a policy area of personal interest to him.

Clearly, both of the Presidential hopefuls have thought seriously about how to tackle poverty around the world. This is nothing new: from the post-war Marshall Plan, through JFK's Peace Corps, successive Presidents have recognized that peace and prosperity abroad matter to their citizens at home. Whichever candidate wins in November will face tough challenges on development - to say nothing of the massive military, strategic and environmental questions which so affect the world's poor.

Getting a global trade deal that works for all, winning the fight against disease, rationalizing the US aid programme and ensuring every dollar of hard-earned taxpayer's money achieves the maximum value for the poor: there are battles to be fought and political capital to be expended to get these things done.

As the Presidential race unfolds, in its barrage of pundits and predictions and polls, people in remote villages and urban slums around the world will be watching as closely as the inhabitants of the Washington beltway and the Westminster village. For what happens in November 2008 matters as much to them as it does to us.


Note from Iain: I will be running a series of guest blogs throughout the Summer. If you would like to write an article to appear on the blog (max 750 words) please do email me. I can't guarantee it will be used though!

Tomorrow: James Clark on the death of the British Record Industry


the orange party said...

Have you seen today's Obama Times, sorry the Sunday Times?
The man's everywhere.
Get real you guys. Not everyone is in love wih Obama

You can read a real take on him here

Anonymous said...

Sorry Iain, but it's George W Bush that has done MORE for Africa than any previous President.

It's just the biggots in our media that fail to accept that.

I wouldn't trust Obama to do anything for Africa.

Chris Paul said...

Free trade has always been brilliant for Africa? Is that it? While protectionism has always been top dog in the USA? McCain McIdiot.

If George W Bush really has done more etc then that is not saying very much for America.

Anonymous said...

and live in a simple, single-story canary-yellow home several miles from the closest village.

Seems perfect to me. You'd kill for a place like that in Hampshire. Except for the yellow bit - hint: yellow is so 60's.

I've never understood the charity adverts saying "and has to walk 2 miles to the nearest water supply"

Move closer then!

Anonymous said...

It never escapes my mind that America, the mighty superpower throws up pygmies as presidents since JFK and Johnson's period. Johnson despite his Vietnam fiasco cajoled and threatened the Senate to pass the Civil Rights bill. As a student in America in 1970s, I saw how Nixon, wriggled and lied about Watergate, and how the Senate was paralysed during impeachment hearings. Since then including Reagan's period, America stumbled on. Just like Carter's emergence after Nixon, Obama emerges after Bush's misdeeds. As for McCain, his gaffes make me wonder. Either our cousins across the pond will elect an inexperienced Obama or gaffe-prone McCain.

Obama/McCain as president and Cameron as prime minister should look inwards, in their own respective countries, concentrate on their own less fortunate lot,encouraging them to be less dependent on benefits, using the billions for the most deserving like the Great Ormond Street Hospital not allowing it to beg for donations. Instead of sinking millions in that blackhole called overseas aid, helping our own pensioners living in poverty. Forget Africa and developing countries for a decade. This sounds harsh, but that should be their priority.

Raedwald said...

Globalisation has done more to alleviate global poverty than all the liberal hand-wringing and aid donations have ever done; as the FT reported recently

"It is also evident that poverty is dropping dramatically around the world. According to our calculations, the number of people living on incomes of less than $1,000 dollars a year ($2.75 a day) has already dropped significantly from about 50 per cent of the world’s population in the 1970s to 17 per cent by 2000. According to our numbers, it could be as low as 6 per cent by 2015. On the more familiar World Bank defin­ition of one dollar a day, the same dramatic shift is evident. Probably no more than 5 per cent of the world’s population now suffers this indignity. Of course, this is too much, but as long as the forces of globalisation continue we expect it to drop further."

The global growth of a middle class encourages real endogenous economic development whilst aid handouts to governments stifle economic growth - another application of the counter-intuitive truism that welfare causes poverty.

And health improvements without concomitant reductions in population growth will lead to unsustainable pressures on food and water resources; the West's well-intentioned intervention may in the end cause even more deaths than it has prevented.

Yak40 said...

If George W Bush really has done more etc then that is not saying very much for America.

Check some facts. GWB is about to sign a law that will give another $40-50billion to Africa over several years - just for AIDS medicine, for starters. Europeans also tend to forget the enormous charitable giving out of the US.

As for Obama, brave words but he's done nothing for his relatives in Kenya.

It's amazing how the US media neglects to report that his father left a wife and children in Kenya when he went to the US to school - and to take an American wife.

Robert said...

Obama dumped girlfriend for whiteness:

Steve Sailer said...
"Could you provide the quote?"

Sure. From Dreams from My Father:

I went to the refrigerator and pulled out two green peppers, setting them on the cutting board. “Well…there was a
woman in New York that I loved. She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice
sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her
apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and
warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That’s how it was.
“Anyway, one weekend she invited me to her family’s country house. The parents were there, and they were very
nice, very gracious. It was autumn, beautiful, with woods all around us, and we paddled a canoe across this round, icy
lake full of small gold leaves that collected along the shore. The family knew every inch of the land. They knew how
the hills had formed, how the glacial drifts had created the lake, the names of the earliest white settlers-their ancestorsand
before that, the names of the Indians who’d once hunted the land. The house was very old, her grandfather’s house.
He had inherited it from his grandfather. The library was filled with old books and pictures of the grandfather with
famous people he had known-presidents, diplomats, industrialists. There was this tremendous gravity to the room.
Standing in that room, I realized that our two worlds, my friend’s and mine, were as distant from each other as Kenya is
from Germany. And I knew that if we stayed together I’d eventually live in hers. After all, I’d been doing it most of my
life. Between the two of us, I was the one who knew how to live as an outsider.”
“So what happened.”
I shrugged. “I pushed her away. We started to fight. We started thinking about the future, and it pressed in on our
warm little world. One night I took her to see a new play by a black playwright. It was a very angry play, but very
funny. Typical black American humor. The audience was mostly black, and everybody was laughing and clapping and
hollering like they were in church. After the play was over, my friend started talking about why black people were so
angry all the time. I said it was a matter of remembering-nobody asks why Jews remember the Holocaust, I think I saidand
she said that’s different, and I said it wasn’t, and she said that anger was just a dead end. We had a big fight, right
in front of the theater. When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if she
could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough.”
“That’s a sad story, Barack.”
“I suppose. Maybe even if she’d been black it still wouldn’t have worked out. I mean, there are several black ladies
out there who’ve broken my heart just as good.” I smiled and scraped the cut-up peppers into the pot, and then turned
back to Auma. “The thing is,” I said, no longer smiling, “whenever I think back to what my friend said to me, that night
outside the theater, it somehow makes me ashamed.”
“Do you ever hear from her?”
“I got a postcard at Christmas. She’s happy now; she’s met someone. And I have my work.”
“Is that enough?”


Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrew Mitchell for excellent analysis of both candidates. Meanwhile I agree 100% with Norman. The best aid for Africa is no aid. Africa started going downhill once the do gooders started giving it free money. just helps dictators and their hangers on cling to power and buy more weapons. And much as people hate to realise it - George W has been brilliant to sub-saharan Africa. He's genuinely popular there as he speaks some home truths on certain issues like AIDS. USAID does brilliant work in Africa but doesn't brag about it.
Lastly, can we ban Americans from this blog? The sort who ask for 'a real take' on the candidates.
Again, brilliant post. Good analysis.

Anonymous said...

So Obama as a young man rejected a possible future wife because she, or her family, was too white? At least he was honest about it. It's not the same thing as if a white man rejected a woman because she was black. Firstly the man has a white mother. Say it again - Obama's mother is white. Got it? In America a child of a mixed marriage is considered black.

Like those people who think he is the wrong black candidate because he is not descended from slaves. Well his daughters and wife are. Do you imagine he is doing this because he grew up in a rich political family who believed that the default job was President like the Bushs?
Imagine Obama's audacity to think he will be President?
Got it now? See y'all in November.

Robert said...

Stanley Ann Dunham's Revenge

Almost 48 years ago, a young girl transplanted from Kansas decided in her comfortable life that she would take revenge on her white, American, Christian soldier father for the humiliation she endured in being named a boy.


Ms. Dunham though chose the most childish of measures not quite figuring out she would be punishing herself as much as her family, but when teenage girls search for love and revenge the psychological choice is sex with a naughty boy and a bouncing baby so they will not be alone in the misery of the world.

Stanley could not have found a better choice for her target of revenge and must have almost got the vapors. Here she had Barack Hussein Obama, a man so black from Africa and so communist that if could hide in the dark if he didn't smile, except for that big red communist flag he had on wearing a white Muslim turban heritage.


Stanley Ann Dunham had her revenge and had it in spades.

As with most revenge plans which are served up in passionated hotness, Stanley had a bit of a surprise as her husband was already married and then he dumped her.

A shotgun marriage did not appeal to Barack Sr. as no one is mentioning arithmetic in this that Barack was born on August 4th, 1961, his lusty parents were married on February 2, 1961..
Yes Barack Obama was a miracle baby otherwise in being full term at 7 months.

Stanley was born on November 29, 1942, common math would show that Stanley Ann Dunham was 17, and although Hawaii is a pedophile's dream in the age of consent is logged at 14 years old in 1961, it remains a fact that a 24 year old college male was sexing a 17 year old high school girl.

Not a great thing on the presidential resume, but the story continues.

So, Stanley was sitting alone again in her pregnant misery, but decided she could gain some extra mileage by going to Canada and having her son registered as a British subject in one final slap at baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.

This conclusion is based upon Barack jr. having put forward a forged birth certificate out of Hawaii, he being registered not as "born" but a live birth which appeared at two hospitals and the circumstances which point that Stanley Ann Dunman Soetoro did the same thing when she repeated her performance and married an Indonesian Muslim in exercising her demons, as Maya, Barack's half sister is listed as being born in the months of August and September.

Registering babies late when born in other countries seems a Stanley trait.

The years then rolled by and revenge becomes very stale and cold as you daily look at a black boy who reminds you not just of his black father getting the better part of sex and dumping you, but that this boy is a reminder of how moronic you are.


So excuses are made after indoctrinating him in Islam, and, as the final revenge as her parents demanded that Barry be illegally registered as an American, Stanley dumped this little boy onto her white parents to punish them as a reminder which would cut them daily into how she failed them.

Her id would say, "You wanted a son so bad daddy, well have a black one in your Christian virtue that you can't turn out as you love him like family. Enjoy."

..........and Stanley Ann Dunham had her revenge.

Anonymous said...

obamabeliever said...

"In America a child of a mixed marriage is considered black."

Obamarama is blonde.

Anonymous said...

Winston Churchill was born seven months after his parents' marriage - didn't seem to do him much harm...

Anonymous said...

Dale's blog is rather respectable, so why are we seeing these irrational American posts like 'Stanley Durham's revenge'?
These sort of posts belong to the mad American websites that discuss all kinds of conspiracy theories. The political discourse in UK tends to be more rational. More posts like this Stanley Durham stuff would start putting off sane people from this blog.

Robert said...

I see a pattern here:

Muslims give their blessing: Vast majority very happy here, says poll
Tuesday December 19 2006

But the poll, which was carried out by Lansdowne Market Research, shows a minority of the Muslim community hold more extreme views.

More than a third (36pc) would prefer Ireland to be ruled under Sharia law, while 37pc would like Ireland to be governed as an Islamic state. The survey shows Muslim youths hold the strongest views within the Islamic community on politics and religion.

It found 28pc of young Muslims aged between 16 and 26 believe violence for political ends is sometimes justified.

Killing for religion is justified, say third of Muslim students
By Patrick Sawer
27 Jul 2008

A third of Muslim students in Britain believe killing someone in the name of religion is justified, a new poll claims.


- 40 per cent support the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
- a third back the notion of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (state) based on sharia law
- 40 per feel it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely
- 24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
- a quarter have little or no respect for homosexuals.

Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was.... [link]

More than half of young Muslims (57pc) believe Ireland should become an Islamic State....