I had the pleasure this weekend of seeing both the Obama and McCain advertisements, and after considering a few things, I have come to the conclusion we should just go on and vote now. Both sides have pretty much laid out who and what they are, and I don’t know how much good is to be had by waiting until November.
What occured to me:
First, Wesley Clark is wrong on John McCain. Clark claims McCain’s service per se does not qualify him to be president. I think Mr. Clark has spent too much time in antispetic HQ ordering bombing raids and has lost his perspective. It is not that McCain was a POW for 6 years, it is how he behaved. He was the guy that kept the POW’sgoing, who fought not to break, who schemed to escape, and who refused an early release. That speaks of character and toughness, something never out of place in the oval office.
John McCain is a finished product with a record to judge. 20+years in Congress, a record that can be throughly vetted for good or bad. For campaing financing and the various bipartisan votes, you can always toss in the Keating 5. One way or the other, you know what you are getting. His message is not always eloquent, and he carries the burden of the Bush Administration on his back…but he is experienced-and that is the crux of his appeal.
Barack Obama is an unfinished product with a bright shiny message and no real record. Let’s face it, if his civic involvement prior to politics is the yardstick by which potential presidents are to be judged, I doubt he is in the first rank. Obama calls for cooperation and looking to better America by Americans working together. It is a message that resonates in these highly partisan and strident times.
However, he has not forged a record in the US Senate upon which he can be judged-unless he is to be judged on his dearth of a record. Obama has voted “present” 130 times, and has not taken the lead on a single bipartisan effort that endangered his position in the Democratic caucus. He has proven himself to be highly opportunistic-he was in favor of public financing…until it became politically advantageous to not do it. Obamadefended his minister of 20 years…until it became politically advantageous to denounce him. I wonder if he would have taken that early release from the Hanoi Hilton. But he is not supportive of the Bush record, he has a wonderful message, and he would be the first minority president of a country with a terrible history littered of racism…and that is the crux of his appeal.
As you might imagine, my preference is for the experienced hand…bright shiny new toys have a way of tarnishing in ways you never imagined. But that is not the real thing on my mind.
This campaign has been going on for an eternity. The records of each candidate have been compared on the web and airwaves for months. There is serious work needed to be done, and the political life of the country is too heavily focused on the “gettin’ it” part of politics than the “doin’ it” part.
We need to get back to business. Let’s just go on and vote.
Yes, I know we cannot do that…but I just wish we could.