Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Good is Experience if You Can’t Remember It?


CBS News tonight did a feature about older voters who, surprise surprise, are cautiously going to John McCain (barely over half 65 or older are going for McCain). And this experience issue raises two questions in my mind:

Where was this experience issue among these same older and more reliable voters in 2000 when the two term Vice President and former Tennessee Senator Al Gore was running against a rube out of Midland whose slender and gap-infested resume included failed oil executive, baseball executive and state governor?

Secondly, what good is experience if you can’t remember any of it?

Obama made quite an impression on millions during his trip throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe but fooled far fewer into believing that the trip had been some miraculous presidential finishing school that turned him into an instant statesman. International diplomacy and policies were not at stake as much as the viability of his campaign. It beefed up his photographic portfolio, not his international experience.

Perhaps Obama’s overseas trip was much more heavily covered and supposedly fawned over for two reasons: Number one, it was by far the most ambitious and expansive trip of Obama’s painfully brief national political career and, number two, it’s obvious that the press was just waiting for a faux pas, a slip of the tongue, some fumbling of basic facts that have become part and parcel to the McCain campaign and continually glossed over by the media even as McCain’s dementia sinks deeper into his gray matter.

McCain’s eight trips to Iraq and others to Afghanistan were largely ignored (save for his colossally clueless, wasteful and just plain stupid trip to that Baghdad market on April Fool’s Day, 2007) perhaps because McCain could be trusted to produce safe, geopolitically-correct sound bites.

Instead, McCain can be trusted to say something stupid and frighteningly clueless every single time he opens his mouth, such as when he claimed that Iraq and Pakistan border or that Iran's Shi’ite-run government was aiding and abetting a Sunni-run al Qaida terrorist network that would love to see that same Iranian government fall.

Yet so far, it seems the only solid selling point both candidates possess both here and abroad is that neither one are named George W. Bush. And, in the end, which one resembles Bush the least? That could be the one issue that will settle this race once and for all.

And it’s that line of thinking that saddled us with people like Michael Mukasey, who plainly got a fast up and down vote in the Senate and catapulted into the corner office of the DOJ simply because his name wasn’t Alberto Gonzales. We need candidates who can honestly win hearts and minds on who and what they are, not on who they’re not.

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