Obama or McCain - it does not matter: Chomsky

October 22nd, 2008 - 10:59 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew York, Oct 22 (IANS) While the world is debating the merits of Barack Obama and John McCain, leading public intellectual Noam Chomsky is not impressed with all the “rhetoric” and says the US essentially has only one party: business party.When the German news magazine Der Spiegel asked him if he was fired up with the Democratic candidate’s slogan of “Change”, Chomsky said: “Not in the least. The European reaction to Obama is a European delusion.

“That is all rhetoric. Who cares about that? This whole election campaign deals with soaring rhetoric, hope, change, all sorts of things, but not with issues,” said the world renowned linguist in the interview this month.

Asked to comment on the other side, “the 72-year-old Vietnam veteran McCain and Sarah Palin, former Alaskan beauty queen,” Chomsky observed: “This Sarah Palin phenomenon is very curious. I think somebody watching us from Mars, they would think the country has gone insane.”

Commenting on the support from conservatives for the Republican candidates, he said: “One must not forget that this country was founded by religious fanatics. Since Jimmy Carter, religious fundamentalists play a major role in elections. He was the first president who made a point of exhibiting himself as a born again Christian.

“That sparked a little light in the minds of political campaign managers: Pretend to be a religious fanatic and you can pick up a third of the vote right away. Nobody asked whether Lyndon Johnson went to church every day. Bill Clinton is probably about as religious as I am, meaning zero, but his managers made a point of making sure that every Sunday morning he was in the Baptist church singing hymns.”

Prodded to comment on McCain, Chomsky said: “In one aspect he is more honest than his opponent. He explicitly states that this election is not about issues but about personalities. The Democrats are not quite as honest even though they see it the same way.”

Asked if Republicans and Democrats represent just slight variations of the same political platform, the noted US foreign policy critic replied: “Of course there are differences, but they are not fundamental. Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party.”

If that sounds like an exaggeration from the man once voted as the world’s most influential public intellectual, he explained the “differences” between the two camps.

“The hawks say if we continue (the war on terror) we can win. The doves say it is costing us too much. But try to find an American politician who says frankly that this aggression is a crime: the issue is not whether we win or not, whether it is expensive or not.”

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