Archive for the ‘mccain’ tag
In a series of reversals on issues ranging from gay rights to immigration, Republicans have been implicitly admitting that their platform has been all but outdated and irrelevant for the better part of a decade or more, as they dial back on previously held positions and take stances that were typically identified with the Democratic Party.
Recall that in 2007, former presidential candidate John McCain the supported immigration reform under the Bush administration, saying in his most sincere voice:
I defend with no reservation our proposal to offer the people who harvest our crops, tend our gardens, work in our restaurants, care for our children and clean our homes a chance to be legal citizens of this country.
As if all Hispanic immigrants living and working in this nation only performed menial tasks like cooking and serving at the pleasure of the more affluent. In any case, according to The New York Times, although McCain supported an immigration reform bill in 2007, which he helped author, by 2008 he was saying that he would not support his own bill.
By 2010, McCain was toeing a hard line on immigration, saying that he supported, “No amnesty,” and that “Many of them (immigrants) need to be sent back.” Presumably, he meant back to Mexico. This year, however, he was part of a bipartisan panel consisting of four Democrats and four Republicans that has been working on immigration reform legislation. The panel also consists of Marco Rubio, who gave us this nugget back in 2007 before he was the GOP golden boy:
I am not and I will never support, never have and never will, support any effort to grant blanket legalization amnesty for folks who have entered or stayed in this country illegally.
Yet, by in late 2011, he was striking a different tone, saying that Republicans should tread softer on the anti-immigrant rhetoric. Here’s what he said in October 2011:
The Republican Party needs to be the pro-legal immigration party. We need to say, ‘We believe in immigration, and we think it’s good for America.’ But it has to be orderly, a system based on law, a system that works.
Fair enough, but Rubio is sitting on a panel that is working on a bill that would provide illegal immigrants living in the U.S. a path to citizenship. According to a report from Anderson Cooper, Rubio and McCain’s participation on the panel
seemed to send a signal that mainstream Republicans may be willing to compromise on an issue president Obama calls a top priority for his second term.
And here is John McCain from this January:
Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote which we think should be ours for a variety of reasons. Second of all we can’t go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows and in an illegal status.
Although Republicans will attempt to borrow the word “evolution” to account for their many reversals on immigration and other issues and how they are adapting to reach broader demographics, those demographics haven’t changed dramatically in the last five years. John McCain has shamelessly shifted in the wind on immigration so much that his changing views can’t even be described as evolutionary because that’s not how evolution works. There’s no room in basic evolutionary theory for complex forms, like ideas, to quickly revert to their pre-evolutionary status and then back again to complexity. Sure, a life form’s existence can slowly digress if their living and social conditions change, but even then, the idea is gradual environmental adaptation, not seismic changes in policy that change seemingly every month.
So, why has the Republican platform been so mercurial?
First, they are clearly losing the message, if they haven’t already lost it. In the aptly nicknamed “Republican Autopsy Report,” members of the GOP already admitted that their message was not reaching younger voters in Hispanic and other minority communities. Also in my view, younger voters are increasingly becoming less gullible and more savvy politically thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, social media, the satire of comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the availability of information. How can young Hispanic voters and those of other ethnicities not be heavily influenced by this dynamic? According to a CNN exit poll from earlier this year, Mitt Romney garnered only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in the last election, which was down from 31 percent during the McCain presidential campaign in 2008. Bush managed to get 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004.
Second, the GOP is acting like a moving target because they are just trying numerous strategies in the hopes that one of them will stick with younger voters. If the Republican Party had become more, not less, in touch with the needs and desires of the Hispanic community before the wheels came off the wagon, this might not have been the case since Hispanics tend to be religious and would sympathize with many of the standard GOP talking points. It appears that the GOP is attempting to build the party around Rubio, but at this point, I doubt merely throwing up a token Hispanic as your golden boy isn’t going to right the ship.
The long and short of it: she had no jurisdiction on consular security. That would be up to the state department. Rice is one of the candidates under consideration for the Secretary of State job.
Tomasky essentially makes the case that the Republicans, particularly McCain, went after Rice because of frustrations over the election and, perhaps most important in my view, failing to win the argument on foreign policy:
… most middle Americans recognize Benghazi for what it was—a terribly sad tragedy, but the kind of thing that, in a dangerous world, happens. And yes, many middle Americans would consider it a smudge on the administration’s security record, but most middle Americans also know that record is otherwise rather impressive. It seems to me someone just ran for president trying to argue otherwise, and he lost pretty handily.
And finally and maybe most of all, McCain and others are furious that the Republicans have lost their “natural” advantage on national-security issues. They are desperate to change that, and the quickest way to start doing so is to get Rice’s scalp.
Article first published as DADT Repeal Languishes in Senate on Blogcritics.
Here’s a look at the vote breakdown:
The controversy and debates surrounding the portion of the National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” seem like a non-issue to me, at least to some degree, and there is one element here of which I might actually agree with some conservatives, but for a wholly different reason.
Admittedly, reading some portions of “10 U.S.C. § 654 : US Code – Section 654: Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces” makes me cringe a bit, particularly the part about forcing homosexuals to refrain from whatever it is they do in their private lives, or else, be discharged from the military. Presumably, straight people can go about their bedroom business unimpeded. Perhaps, that portion should be repealed. But I think the specific part about military officials being banned from asking about personal orientation and personnel being banned from talking about it seems to me to be sound. For, I don’t believe sexual orientation is or should be relevant at all in military life. Thus, if both gay and straight people simply banished any talk about who is or might be straight or gay seems to be the most constructive way to proceed. Or, maybe this is asking too much.
Regardless, the rational, I suppose, behind the code above is that military personnel live separate lives than you or I, that they are essentially public figures and are held to a higher standard. But it is here that the prejudice in the code against homosexuals, that they intrinsically live less moral lives than anyone else, seaps through with lucidity. If homosexual military personnel are essentially public figures and are conduits of taxpayer money, so are straight service men and women. So, where is the ban on heterosexuals admitting they are straight or the ban on heterosexuals engaging in their behavior?
I previously wrote a review of the movie, “Milk” with Sean Penn, in which I lauded Harvey Milk’s attempts to enact change in his community by doing it the right way: by running for public office, contrasted to those well-known gay pride parade attendees whose flamboyancy and flaunting of their gayness wins them few brownie points. Thus, I think there might be a measure of empowerment gained by paraders in providing shock value to the rest of us, sort of a way of taking comfort in their otherness. That’s something to which I can relate in some ways, but it seems to me that creating an atmosphere of otherness within the gay community to the rest of the world seems counterintuitive to what folks are attempting to accomplish. That is, equal rights. Thus, if homosexuals truly want to be “equal,” not just in word but in law, throw off the us-against-them mentality, run for office, say nothing about your private matters and enact change from the top down.
Again, regarding DADT, I think the best way to proceed in all this might be to ban conversation about sexual orientation altogether, from enlistment, to boot camp and beyond. For I can’t see how, in any way, sexual orientation, straight, bi or heterosexual, is relevant to any goal the military might hope to achieve, and this includes those who might seek to serve in the military as openly gay. It’s nobody’s business but their own.
Anyone who reads this blog well knows by now that I make no exceptions when it comes to holding leaders, folks in the media and others accountable for their words or actions. While my overall inclination is toward a certain ideology that generally puts caring for people above amassing wealth, from Democrats to Republicans to Independents, everyone’s feet is held to the fire here.
I think John McCain is one of the most well-respected leaders in Washington, and it has been because of his willingness to work with folks on both sides of the aisle to get things done on the Hill. That, and he’s also one of the most pragmatic, clear thinking among his Republican brethren.
But nothing gets me charged more than exposing outright deceptiveness for what it is, and it can come from the left as much as from the right.
Yesterday, I came across this story from The Daily Beast, which claimed that McCain said on a radio show that he would not work with Democrats and reach across the aisle on the issue of immigration reform.
The originally linked story is from Think Progress, which, it’s no secret, is a progressive website, that probably, just as much as conservative ones, attempts to prop up its messages by begging, borrowing, stealing or by whatever other means to A) trash the opposing sides and B) advance its agenda.
This is a contemptible approach, in my view, no matter what side of the aisle you side with, and it’s a dangerous method for democracy as we know it. Let’s take the McCain case. Regarding the issue of immigration reform, a caller asked, and this is pasted straight from Think Progress’s article:
I would like to ask Sen. McCain if he will make a promise on the air now that if we reelect him, he will not reach across the aisle, especially with Lindsey Graham, for comprehensive immigration reform. Will you not do that for the time you’re in office. (I deleted the unnecessarily bold text where Think Progress claimed McCain wouldn’t reach across the aisle. Text is text. Bolding it doesn’t make it anymore important.)
McCain’s reply as recorded by Think Progress:
Yes ma’am. … I am promising that I will try to address the issue of immigration in a way that is best for the United States of America.
Now, when reading this for the first time, I thought the “…” was a little puzzling. I thought: “Was the ‘Yes ma’am’ just an acknowledgment that he would, indeed, not reach across the aisle or, and more plausibly, simply an acknowledgment that McCain heard and understood the lady’s question? From listening to the actual audio, it appears to be the latter. And did you notice the little chuckle McCain made after the woman was done with her question? This leads me to believe that he didn’t necessarily take the lady’s query terribly seriously and was merely attempting to come up with a reasonable response without outright disagreeing with her. Here is the audio:
I’m not confident that he agreed to that particular promise from this obviously right-winger. As for his part, Lindsey Graham, a senator from my home state of South Carolina, has very admirably reached out to folks on the other side of the aisle, as has McCain, to try to come to a consensus on numerous issues, immigration not the least of them.
After his long years of service of trying to work with Democrats and other leaders to get stuff done in Washington, I highly doubt that just because his state has adopted a new immigration bill, that he would decide out of the blue to turn into a rabid partisan crank. Partisanship, after all, is one component of politics that folks hate about Washington. That makes sense for a logical reason: partisanship (unless there’s a supermajority) rarely succeeds in getting anything done. And its folks like McCain and Graham who carrying the torch of the centrist, which, at least in some small part, bolsters my faith in the process.
Note: “Ctd.” means this is continued from a previous post.
For obvious reasons, Democrats and the always ideologically hard to pin down Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are supporting an effort to repeal the mid-1990s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law that prevents military personnel from openenly serving in the military. President Obama also called for the repeal during his first State of the Union address.
This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.
Republicans, however, are by and large seeking more information from top military officials about how cutting the ban may affect servicemen and women. And I think they are taking the right stance on this point. As one commenter from the Politics Daily Web site said:
Current policy seems to work so leave it alone. Just imagine the problems it will create. How are reg soldiers going to feel knowing that they are showering with someone who is gay? Or just being in the same room? I am not against gays, just wondering how others might feel. I still thing its in the gene make-up of the body which determines what someone might be. But two guys or women holding hands on a base could cause problems. Privately- who cares.
And appearing exacerbated by those suggestions, pondermom wrote:
Straight men are showering next to gay men NOW they just don’t know it. And how are they going to feel ” just being in the same room ” ? Are you serious? You and Diane Schwab are both completely clueless. Are straight men attracted to every woman they see? Why would you think that gay men and women are attracted to every other man or woman walking down the street, or for that matter, showering next to? And, by the way, the military is not exactly the profession that the “drag queen” type of gay man, which I am sure is what you think all gay men are, is going to choose…. basic training and stilettos don’t exactly mesh.
It’s true that just because men and women are serving together doesn’t mean that everyone is attracted to everyone. Or, we can at least hope that most members of the military have moved along from their hormone-strewn puberty years. And it’s also short-sighted to think that just because someone is gay that he’s going to automatically “like” every guy he sees. Gay attraction works the same as straight attraction. Some folks float your boat; some don’t. Still, I think lifting DADT could get awkward as the former commenter suggested. As I’ve noted elsewhere, who I “like” on a personal level is my business, and I see little reason to shout my straightness to the stars. Neither should gays.
I think some folks might be forgetting a key component of DADT: the law prevents military officials from investigating their sexuality upon enlisting or during their times of service. Surely any repeal of DADT would address this part of the law. Like John McCain has suggested, the status quo should probably be held on this particular issue.
If anything, perhaps arcane language in the current law, such as: gays in the military would
create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability …
should be cleaned up and modernized.
This is really getting quite tiresome. If you are one who watches the news at least once a day, you hear a series of words that, once latched onto by TV anchors and politicians, seem to turn into, say, kudzu vines or cancer, spreading and metastasizing to the point that they have totally saturated (and choked) the verbiage market. That said, here are a few of my favorites … or should I say, most hated and most cliché:
- Change: Since the election is over, this one isn’t quite as prevalent as it was, but during the campaign season — as in every campaign season — it was noxious. While now-President-elect Barack Obama, perhaps, was capable of instituting the most change if elected, both candidates used the word ad nauseum to attempt to separate themselves from political buffoons, lobbyists and the current administrations failings. We heard, “Change we can believe in” from the Obama camp, and we heard the shockingly unclever turnaround, “Friends, that’s not change we can believe in” from McCain. Since Obama was capable of instituting the most change, quite literally, since his win would have meant a different party in charge of the highest office in the land, we at least thought his calls for change were coherent. McCain’s continual declarations that he too would bring change was laughable — unless, of course, he meant the kind of frightening change of a much older, less healthy (than Bush) man in the White House, who, if he died, heaven forbid, would leave us with Sarah Palin. Now, that would certainly have been change, but unfortunately friends, it wouldn’t have been the kind we could believe in.
- Vet: That’s right, no longer can the word “vet” simply mean a veterinarian or veteran. The media has latched onto this like a stray cat on fish bones. We can no longer use evaluate or analyze or discern or study up on or any other comparable phrase. All must be now and forever vetted. Vet, vet vet.
- Tap: Nope, not with your hands. And don’t tap the Rockies, at least now until you’re done reading this. “Tap,” with its almost taboo connotation, seems like a bizarre way to convey that Obama has appointed another person to his administration. I suppose the intended meaning is that Obama is “tapping” the resources of whoever he has named. But in headlines, we simply get: “Obama taps Richardson for commerce spot.”
- Wall Street/Main Street: This little gem came to the fore most recently during the bank fallout, and politicians have used it to comfort those in Anytown, USA by saying that propping up Wall Street is not the only important decision lawmakers must make. They also must find ways to help out Main Street, the little guy, Joe Schmoh, and the like.
- And finally, the winner for the most ubiquitous buzzword of the day: bailout. We seemingly bailout those companies who traditionally, have packed their pockets quite full of giant sums of money that you and I will never see. When they need help, we trip over ourselves to save them because saving them means saving jobs and saving future economic strife, while no one is standing in line ready to bailout the small business down the street who is just as affected by the economy as the big guys, yet has no one’s sympathy and no one’s extra resources to make it through. After all this, we haven’t come to the heart of the issue yet: We allow such companies to swell to the heavens, so that they become so massive and influential that their very failure would the entire economy into disrepair. Something is wrong with such a system.
And on that happy note, I leave with a quote from Benjamin Franklin about debt, which has been the cause of much of man’s economic woe for centuries:
Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions, and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy pocket begin to thrive; creditors will not insult, nor want oppress, nor hungerness bite, nor nakedness freeze thee.
John McCain apparently climbed out of the woodworks Tuesday to conduct an interview with Jay Leno for the “Tonight Show,” meanwhile, Sarah Palin has, after her running mate’s defeat, been all over the place. For instance, her recent interview with Matt Lauer, where she chatted with him (with hubby present at times in their Alaska home) about the race’s negative turn down the home stretch, the decisive Obama win and the supposed tensions between Palin and folks within the McCain camp.
A few highlights:
Lauer: When you did know it wouldn’t go well for you?
Palin: I — you know, I didn’t know until the — the…
Lauer: Right up through election night?
Palin: Absolutely. I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them was, perhaps, a bold step that would have to be taken in casting a vote for us, but having to put a lot of faith in that commitment we tried to articulate, that we were the true change that would progress this nation. So again, the margin was pretty surprising to me.
She apparently had great faith in the Bradley Effect: “I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them …” (she could have easily said:) that they were about to vote for a black man (half black) and that person’s whiteness would not allow that to happen. Thus, white people’s whiteness would, in secrecy, with only God watching, choose the familiar over, what some would call, a risky black vote. But with a 52.6 percent win in the Electoral College and a nearly 10 million vote advantage in the popular vote, we must conclude that would have been faulty reasoning, for the white And black vote were heard that day. Here is Palin’s full response:
I had great faith that, you know, perhaps when that voter entered that voting booth and closed that curtain that what would kick in for them was, perhaps, a bold step that would have to be taken in casting a vote for us, but having to put a lot of faith in that commitment we tried to articulate, that we were the true change that would progress this nation. So again, the margin was pretty surprising to me.
I can’t make sense of it either, and my version seems more comprehensible. Regardless …
Lauer: There is this feeling — and some of this comes from leaks and other just perception, people getting a gut — that there was increasing tension between you and Senator McCain in the final stretch of this campaign. Tell me what the relationship was like.
S. PALIN: We have a great relationship. Had from day one. Had the first time that I met him last year, he and his wife. I just have been great admirers of them, of their family, of all that Senator McCain has accomplished. Never once was there any inkling of tension between the two of us. Perhaps within the campaign there were campaign staffers who…
Lauer: Well, describe that for me. Who was butting heads?
S. PALIN: You know, I don’t even know. That inside baseball stuff regarding the way a campaign works on that level — I certainly didn’t get bogged down in any of the potential skirmishes or perceived problems.
When asked if she was disappointed that she wasn’t able (by staffers) to give the speech she wanted, she said,
A little bit because again — not — not for me personally to get to be up there on the stage and give one last speech, but to be able to say, “This is an American hero. Let us be thankful for what he just offered our nation. Now, let’s all work together to support the new president.
On this point, I believe her, and I believe her because she not only gives accolades to the loser, the “American hero,” McCain, but to their opponent. And I also believe that her and McCain have nearly always been quite candid and close with one another, and it was likely McCain’s campaign officials, not the man himself, who saw the damage Palin was doing (i.e. disasters interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, to name a couple).
Lauer then brings up the wardrobe issue, and I don’t care. Next line of questioning.
Lauer appears at Palin’s home in Alaska and says,
While we were there, we had a chance to talk to Governor Palin about the highs and lows of the campaign and what the future holds for her.
Meanwhile, it is now 7:30 on a Tuesday morning, the 11th day of November 2008. I’m Matt Lauer reporting live from Anchorage, Alaska. Meredith is back in Studio 1A in New York City.
And, Meredith, do you think the producers would let me get away with calling this my ends of the earth trip?
VIEIRA: I don’t think so. Nice try, Matt. But, uh-uh. I don’t think so. You’re coming back and then going out again.
But I’m actually looking forward to dinner with the Palins.
What was your biggest surprise when you met the family?
Lauer: You know what, this is a very down-to-earth family. You know, over the last couple of months we got used to watching Sarah Palin on the road with the Secret Service around here and state troopers everywhere. None of the trappings of the campaign remain. She is someone who drives the 45 miles between Wasilla and Anchorage every day herself — no driver. And when she’s home, she is a working mom, cooking dinner, as I mentioned, for her family and for visitors. And so I think that it’s just that how down to earth she appears to be is what really surprised me most.
Here, with the “I’m actually looking forward to dinner with the Palins” Lauer inserts himself into his own story as one of its characters, which is precisely the opposite of what a journalist should do. I’m not suggesting Lauer was a journalist in the first place, just that he wears that badge.
VIEIRA: And her kids — those kids are so cute. Looking forward to it, Matt.
Here, Viera finds her way into the plot.
Lauer then begins talking about, perhaps, Palins’s shining moment, that of her speech before the Republican National Convention.
And, you know, I knew that it was an opportunity to be there representing the middle class, hard-working American families facing challenges that certainly my family faces.
The middle class! The Middle Class? Palin, Todd and the gang may be middle class in thought and expression (They appear to be down home enough) but appearance can be deceiving. Their combined salary would by far not qualify for Barack Obama’s proposed tax breaks for those making under $250,000. Not only do they not represent suburban America, they certainly don’t represent those who can’t even afford to live in suburbia.
Then, Lauer turned to asking Palin about personal attacks on her family, of which, I care nothing about that sensationalist stuff either. Next, talk segued to the economy.
S. PALIN: Well, I think the economic collapse had a heck of a lot more to do with a collapsed campaign effort than me, personally.
Palin, in my view, was the only element that gave McCain’s campaign life. Without her, his campaign was limping, if not six feet under. And that essence was this: her vibrance (Read: relative youthfulness), oratory ability and her appeal to the everyday person, whether deserved or not. But, what led to McCain’s loss were, in part, these factors, in this order:
- Obama’s eloquence, gift of oratory, gift to inspire, youthfulness, and most importantly, his message of change in the wake of a disastrous eight years;
- Palin’s lackluster performances at debates and wholly defunct interviews with Gibson and Couric; and
- McCain’s oldness (both physical and metaphorical) and his perceived (whether real or not) connection with the policies of George Bush.
And thinking about post-Election Day, why has McCain done less interviews, while Palin is seemingly everywhere? Again, her youthfulness, her beauty (Yes, this is a totally valid reason … We, as a people, naturally gravitate toward that which is pleasant and beautiful) and her apparent possibility in many people’s minds of being a potential presidential candidate the next go around. For McCain: Who knows whether he will be here in four years, much less as a presidential candidate (and to listen to his concession speech is to conclude that he has asked that question as well). For Palin, the door is wide open. Write any nonsensical blog and include the word “Palin” as a keyword and one will get hits because people identify with that very word. And that of itself, frightens me a bit. Frankly, the thought of her leading this great nation (in McCain’s absence) is one reason of many why my vote slid elsewhere. And here, we return to the interviews she has conducted. While Palin has said she can’t even think that far ahead (to the presidency in 2012), I can. Mark my words, this won’t be the last we hear of the governor from Alaska.
Referencing a WordPress blog post that I found today, here are three of the better political cartoons about Obama’s election posted on that site, or at least the better ones in my opinion.
Obviously, this cartoon is based on this famous image. Note: McCain floating on a George W. Bush inner tube, the black woman (replaced by a white woman from the original painting) and an erudite-looking white man rowing, the Capitol, the melted icebergs, Sarah Palin nearly out of the picture and Obama looking regal and dressed as a revolutionary. Appropriately, the river crossing and subsequent battles culminated in a new day of freedom for America.
This was the more subtle of the Martin Luther King Jr.-based cartoons from the post. Here, we see MLK’s famous Dream materialize. True, Obama is only half white, but he is also half black and carries within him a burden that has been carried by oppressed people for decades and centuries, as evidenced by his numerous references to King himself. Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia, if it had been framed in the context of the racial strife, in a different era, in the context of segregation and a not-so-patient hope for a better today, would have went down as, arguably, the landmark speech in American history. It will still critically important and will be, and should be, studied in its strength in structure and rhetoric.
Not since Abraham Lincoln has a American president (or president-elect) meant so much for the centuries-long battle for equal rights in this country. It’s unfortunate that it was only after the Black Codes, lynchings, segregation, the back of the bus and other atrocities that we can finally move forward in a real, tangible way. Sure, we have slowly moved forward as a nation and would have continued, with or without Obama. The Civil Rights movement spurred it on, time and the eventual shift in social conscious did the rest. But here, as Obama makes the leap of which many black folks have only dreamed, Lincoln, not the current president, passes the torch.
Barack Obama — Chicago: 71 degrees and sunny as of 2 p.m.
Joe Biden — Wilmington, Del.: 59 and cloudy
John McCain — Phoenix, Ariz.: 72 and most cloudy
Sarah Palin — Wasilla, Alaska: 12 degrees and sunny.
I thought it was noteworthy that the weather in Chicago was the warmest it has been there on Election Day since 1964, which was obviously the year the Civil Rights Act was signed, the year Lyndon Johnson was re-elected, and the year Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.
So it is with Obama, who barely exerts himself and absorbs attack after attack, each of which, rather than wounding him, leaves him stronger. It’s rope-a-dope on a grand scale.
And McCain knows it. Last Wednesday, campaigning in New Hampshire, he spoke sneeringly about Obama’s campaign being “disciplined and careful.” That’s exactly right, and so far the combination of discipline and care — care not to get out too far in front of anything — along with a boatload of money is working just fine. Jesus is usually the political model for Republicans, but this time his brand of passive, patient leadership is being channeled by a Democrat. — Stanley Fish, Oct. 26, 2008
I don’t know at what point Fish became a columnist for The New York Times, but in college, I simply knew him as a literary critic. Lately, I’ve been enjoying some of the pieces he’s offered The Times. This one, I feel, is spot on.
We know John McCain, through various episodes, as a bit of a hot head (I reference this source, but by all means, google it for yourself.) His temper explosions are no secret. But against him, and in stark contrast, is Barack Obama, who, as Fish points out — or should I say, McCain — is “disciplined and careful” in his campaigning and has carried a more presidential demeanor along the way. I would argue that, as president, that discipline and carefulness will go along way in healing our fractured relationship with many of our now-Bush-weary detractors.
I will say this, and here is my argument about the election: McCain is an able leader. I don’t necessarily agree with the fundamental reasons for being in Iraq (and continuing to stay there), but McCain, at the least, could maintain this country and keep the boat afloat. But of his running mate, I can’t say the same, and Sarah Palin’s folksy approach to addressing some of the most confounding issues this country has seen literally in decades, with a wink and a smile, will simply not do. To vote for McCain as president (given his age and health) is to vote for Palin as president, and that’s not a jump I can, in good conscious, make. If McCain had made a smarter choice, and less politically fueled one (another reason to question that camp’s judgment … I think Giuliani would have been a decent VP pick — his efforts to help New York shake off the throws of the terrorist attack were noble) the choice might be more difficult.
Now, as Fish (I can only suspect his motives), I refuse to be a hack for anyone. I advertise for no one. But, I do supply my summation of how I see this election breaking down. Obama, in all his inspiration and yes, erudition, has taken all that McCain and political machines could throw at him (from Jeremiah Wright, to Bill Ayers, to ACORN), and while crossfiring with attacks of his own, has maintained in debates and on the stump, a presidential poise that will, in the end, win him the White House.