Friday, August 29, 2008

The Presidency: Serious Business, To Obama

I never commented on this controversial appearance by Hillary Clinton before the New Hampshire primary, which she (narrowly) won. The controversy resulted not from her words- which I thought significant- but by her apparent weeping, which I (and no one else) thought was rather insignificant. I was never (and still am not) sure whether her expression of sorrow was sincere, but believed then that her words were insightful.

And I believe that even more this afternoon, now that John McCain has chosen first-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. On that cold (winter in New Hampshire- it must have been cold) day in January, the New York Senator, eyes reportedly tearing up, said

Some people think elections are a game, lot's of who's up or who's down, [but] it's about our country , it's about our kids' futures, and it's really about all of us together.... some of us are ready and some of us are not, some of us know what we will do on day one and some of us haven't thought that through enough.

The inference about lack of experience was reputedly a slap at Barack Obama, while I believe the reference to "some people think(ing) elections are a game" was a knock on his supporters.

This was, I think, Clinton at her strongest- contrasting her experience with that of Obama. And I always had the impression that Mrs. Clinton and her supporters- in contrast with many of the supporters of the Illinois Senator- recognized the great stakes involved: not change, not history, not the amorphous "yes, we can," but rather the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth.

So what on earth was John McCain doing choosing to be a heartbeat from the presidency an inexperienced governor from a state practically bereft of agriculture, urban problems, or ongoing budgetary issues, arguably the most remote (geographically and otherwise) political jurisdiction in the country?

He was selecting someone he believes whose gender will appeal to disaffected female Hillary C. supporters; an individual as far away from evil Washington, D.C. as possible to reinvent the myth of McCain the Maverick, a guy dedicated to change; a right-winger to secure his base; and a politician who already has begun putting into effect his energy theme of "drill, drill, drill." Not putting "country first."

But not somebody who is remotely qualified to be President of the United States, if something tragic happens to the 72-year-old man who appears to forget from moment to moment what he thinks about any given issue. Pundits are asking whether John McCain has given away his most potent argument, that his adversary lacks the experience necessary for the highest office in the land. And this too is clear: the ticket, Obama-Biden, headed by Barack Obama now is the adult option. Only John McCain could have made this happen.

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