So exactly who are these Presidential candidates? Are they defined by what they say, how they look, and or what the Main Stream Media (MSM) says about them? Or should we look behind curtain, behind the debate stage, or actually consider their records? What have they actually done, versus just what they have said or has been said about them? Is the essence of the Presidential candidate’s speech more about the speechwriter or about the candidate or the topic of the day? What does the candidate say “off line”, when they think that the cameras and microphones are off? How do Presidential candidates respond with they are “off the talking points”?
Quoting from William Kristol, a leading conservative writer for the Weekly Standard www.weeklystandard.com on the WS web 10/20/08 publication date. (Oh, by the way, he is a contributor to Fox News [gasp], the “Fair & Balanced” MSM channel and the New York Times [gasp, a liberal rag!]). Here is what Mr. Kristol wrote in regards to Senator Obama and Senator McCain:
“One is an orthodox and timid liberal, personally ambitious but intellectually conventional. For all his talk of hope and change, when has Barack Obama ever shown a willingness to break with liberal orthodoxy or Democratic dogma? What bold decision has he taken, what unpopular idea has he embraced? The odd truth about Obama is that, for all his unsavory radical associations--and they are unsavory and a legitimate issue in the campaign--he's not radical enough for the times and challenges we face.”
“The other candidate, John McCain, has been all over the map in terms of domestic policies, and has shown a management style during the campaign that makes one worry about the coherence and purposefulness of his administration. But he's shown strong character in his life, and he's done serious things. His general views are centrist, but he's willing to be bold when necessary. He won't be passive as president, and he'll think anew and act anew as he adjusts to the challenges we face, in the spirit of doing what's necessary to preserve and strengthen the underlying principles of American life.”
So why would it matter what a Presidential candidate actually did? Why not just go for “Change We Can Believe In?” Or follow after the “Change in Coming” mantra?
In fact, the conventional wisdom appears to say that if the candidate lacks experience, let’s just gloss over that. It’s all about how I feel. Right?
Maybe we should look behind the curtain? Who somebody is, really does matter. What the Presidential candidates have done is more important than what they say or what is said about them. Let’s take the approach that “observed behavior” tells more the next president than “stated promises” made by the Presidential candidate.
So as we look behind the curtain, we have one candidate with community, legal and political experience, who has written two books about himself, but hasn’t sponsored any significant legislation. But he is younger man, and he is still gaining experience. He has never been in business, he has never been in the military, he has never been avid outdoorsman and he has never advocated cutting spending in a meaningful way. Senator Obama is from Chicago, and has a full history in the Illinois legislature, although not much has been written about it. (However, a NYM article is worth reading: Goggle “New Yorker Magazine” and search for “Making It” article on Obama). He has had various friends for political purposes, until it gets too embarrassing for his political career, and then Barack Obama moves on (usually after disowning or disavowing the friend). Finally, as we lift the curtain, his books, campaign rhetoric and voting record is liberal and orthodox Democrat. Change we can believe in? Yes, if a liberal tax and spend approach is what you’d like, then a vote for Barack will get you there in a hurry.
Then we lift the curtain on the other candidate. John McCain is an American hero, which makes some people feel uncomfortable, but most Americans appreciate his service to his country. He has served in the US Navy. His father, grandfather and his sons have served as well. While Senator John McCain has served in Washington for 25 years, he has done so as a maverick, angering and challenging parties, their members and their leadership. He actually has led the fight to cut wasteful spending. Imagine that: Washington living within its means! John McCain is an older man, a seasoned warrior (literally and politically) from a long career, being involved in most of the major issues that have faced America over the past 25 years. Is he the best speaker? Probably not. Is he a down the party line Republican? Definitely not. Does he speak his mind? Yes, and to a degree his candor is both disarming, yet refreshing in this age of political double speak.
So what has Barack Obama done? A thin resume backed by good books, winsome looks, great campaigning and over $500 million bucks. So what has John McCain done? Served his country with dedication, principle and candor over his 72-year lifetime. He wrote one book, hasn’t run the best campaign, and opted for $84 million in public financing in the General election.
So, it is now up to you as a voter, to decide how experience in your lifetime best prepares you to be the President of the United States. Oh, I forgot. The MSM pundits, the pollsters and the Democrats have already decided for you. Experience doesn’t matter anymore, it is about change. And courage under fire is old fashioned; now what matters is how good your campaign is. And the American dream, built on hard work and determination, is really no longer possible, unless the US government intervenes and spreads the wealth around. So I guess we just close the curtain at the point, and may the best marketing plan (I mean best man) win!
© 2008, Four Corners Media, Jasper Welch www.jasperwelch.org