So how important are style points? Is the best Presidential candidate the one who is cool? Does substance matter anymore? What about the Commander-in-Chief role? Between the view from the spin room after each Presidential debate and the posturing of the MSM talking heads during the campaign, it is clear that “cool” and “style” matter the most. Substance? That is that policy wonk stuff. It is boring and really doesn’t matter much. Or does it matter in the selection of the next President?
As a Harvard educated and emerging member of the elite political class of the America, Senator Obama is well coached and disciplined. He has the talking points down pat, from the regular Bush bashing to the class warfare rhetoric. His background as an attorney and professional politician (and some would argue professional candidate) has served him well in this long campaign. With the full faith of the Main Stream Media (MSM), Barrack Obama is already the President. The November election is a mere formality. The “One” has mastered the crowds, the campaign dance and it is done. However, the rest of the folks in America still need to cast their vote. And it is likely that substance will come up in their election decision.
But can substance carry the day? Senator McCain, despite a less focused and less disciplined campaign is still hanging around, just over Senator Obama’s shoulder. The MSM says the “One” has the style, the coolness, the demeanor and temperament to be the President. Heck, he already is the President in their mind. But McCain who the MSM has written off several times in this Presidential campaign continues to be within striking distance. Given the significant media bias, it is pretty amazing the John McCain is in a competitive position here in mid October.
Maybe Senator McCain is still in this Presidential race because substance and command actually do matter. In the third debate, the substantive issue of abortion and US Supreme Court nominations came up. Mr. Smooth attempted to hedge on his intense abortion rights position, but his debate answer clearly communicates his firm position: “With respect to partial-birth abortion, I am completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life, and this did not contain that exception.” Senator Obama, October 15, 2008. “An exception” for the health and life of the mother? So if a fully alive child is partially delivered, and the baby is killed by the abortionist, this is okay with Senator Obama if the mother’s health or life is threatened? This barbaric practice is about the termination of the fully alive child’s life. The mother’s health is not the substantive issue here, but rather the exception (excuse) to fully trample upon the baby’s human rights.
To this substantive issue, Senator McCain responded: Here is it is “again, the example of the eloquence of Senator Obama. He's “health” for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything.
That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health." But, look; Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We know what a treasure and joy it is to have an adopted child in our lives. We'll do everything we can to improve adoption in this country. But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn.” John McCain stood alone for the rights of the unborn, and pointed out the despite his eloquence, Senator Obama’s position is extreme on the substantive issue of abortion.
“Well, you know, I admire so much Senator Obama's eloquence. And you really have to pay attention to words. He said, we will look at offshore drilling. Did you get that?” John McCain as he pointed out that Senator Obama said he’d ‘look at’ offshore drilling. As an attorney, with a smooth and eloquent style, the junior Senator from Illinois was able to appear to support offshore drilling without actually drilling for oil offshore. The substance of the issue: What policy should American have for energy independence? Looking at it, or actually drilling for oil?
Finally, let’s look at the Commander in Chief role. The Obama campaign chose to criticize Senator McCain because he did use a computer. The likely reason is that his war related injuries limit his keyboard abilities, but that is beside the Obama campaign point. The logic of the Democratic campaign argument is that the GOP candidate is “out of touch”. Or what they really mean to say is that McCain is old and behind the times, as compared the youthful, cool style of Senator Obama. But the substance question is: Has Senator Obama ever worn a US Military uniform? Has he ever been a US Military officer? Is he fully prepared, based on relevant experience, to be the Commander in Chief of the US military forces? When it comes the to the President of the United States, substance really matters.
© 2008, Four Corners Media, Jasper Welch www.jasperwelch.org