It is becoming apparent that the 2008 presidential campaign is going to be between John McCain and Barrack Obama. Because of this John McCain is tailoring his campaign largely to contrast him against Obama, effectively ignoring Hillary Clinton. Therefore McCain has just finished a trip to the Middle East to re-enforce his foreign affairs credentials. He is currently traveling around the country on what has been described as an autobiographical tour to define himself. One of the truisms in politics is the winners and losers are often determined by who defines them, their opponent or themselves. So on this tour McCain is reminding the country of his service in Vietnam as a fighter pilot. We are especially reminded of his time as a POW. We are reminded of his capture and five and a half year stay. We are reminded of the fact that he was given the opportunity at freedom at one point but refused to leave until the men captured before him were released.
So let’s do a little comparison. On one hand, we have a fighter pilot who was shot down, captured, and tortured by the enemy. This man would not abandon fellow soldiers to gain his own freedom, suffering subsequent torture for his valor. On the other hand we have an anti-war empty suit who can’t even make up his mind on what he would do with the troops in Iraq. He has said he would pull all troops from Iraq immediately, leaving the country to fall into chaos and cause the suffering and death of millions of Iraqis. But wait, as part of this plan to pull all troops from Iraq, he would leave troops to be a reactionary force (he hasn’t explained how many of these no troops in Iraq will make up this force). This man has voted to withdraw funding for troops in a war zone. This is a man who is in bed with the far left anti war movement in America. From these lunatics we have such gems as America and George Bush being called terrorists (Cindy Sheehan among others), belittling John McCain’s POW experience (Gloria Steinem), the military being for people who cannot succeed in college (John Kerry), and the Democratic Congressional Pro-Iraqi Caucus (see previous blog).
Barrack Obama, as everybody knows, is currently running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. He cannot find much comfort in the fact that out of the two of them, she appears to be the more macho and manly Democratic candidate. To be fair to Obama though, Hillary Clinton is actually more manly than approximately half of the men in the Democratic party. This is partly due to her coarse and, well manly, demeanor.
There is considerable argument over what is going to determine how people vote this year, the war in Iraq, the economy, health care, etc. I think it is mostly, like almost all presidential elections, going to come down to a comparison between the candidates. I further believe that there is no real comparison. I can see the debates between McCain and Obama now. On the stage you have a war hero and you think of the POW camp, the torture, and the foreign affairs credentials. Next to him you see the caricature of the skinny little kid from every sports or camp movie who is always sucking on his inhaler when he gets nervous. It’s not going to be pretty.