Friday, October 24, 2008

Of Biden And McCain

It's a difficult choice- get mad or laugh hysterically.

I found myself reading online this article from Kirsten Powers, a columnist with the conservative Repub tabloid The New York Post. Powers criticizes Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden for various gaffes, the most recent in warning donors of a foreign policy crisis he believes will follow election of Barack Obama as president. Powers claims

Part of the problem is their "Obama love," but we're also seeing the media elite's belief - prejudice - that anyone with an R behind their name is dumb. So, if they say something dumb, they must be dumb. A Democrat, like Biden, can make wildly inaccurate or outrageous comments and they are ignored because the TV and press insiders feel they "know who he really is."

No need here to remind Powers that the media's fondness for Barack Obama is exceeded, "wildly," by its fondness for John McCain. No need, therefore, to ask why no one (as far as I know) has asked John McCain why he apparently is opposed to Social Security or the graduated income tax. (A reasonable interpretation of "After all, before government can redistribute wealth, it has to confiscate wealth from those who earned it," a pretty good description of the progressive income tax.) No need to ask why John McCain has rarely, if ever, been confronted, with his reversals of position (not a comprehensive list) on likelihood of easy success in Iraq, Bush tax cuts, Roe v. Wade, privatization of Social Security, right-wing televangelists, ethanol, gay marriage, reasonable gun control, repeal of the estate tax, torture, surveillance of overseas communications, offshore drilling, trials of Guantanamo detainees, increasing the minimal wage, and comprehensive immigration reform (supportive, then against his own bill, then supportive). Yet, when Democrat John Kerry (merely) appeared to have changed his mind on funding of the Iraq War, the mainstream media joined the Repub propagandists in ridiculing his as a "flip-flopper."

The real problem is that Barack Obama is one in a long line of Democrats suspected of being "weak" simply because there is a (D) after his name. Russia invades Georgia, Obama reacts rationally and cautiously, and is thought of as vacillating; McCain rattles his saber- only to reverse course a few days later- and is considered strong. Barack Obama asserts that with "actionable intelligence" about "high-value terrorist targets," he would act decisively; John McCain boasts of bin Laden that he will "follow him to the gates of hell" but is not asked why he refuses to follow him to northwestern Pakistan. (Nor is he asked how he will "get him.")

More significant than the inattention to Senator Biden has been the inattention to the gaffes of John McCain, who has seduced so many in the media the years by the "Straight Talk Express." Enough has emerged during this campaign to render clear the conclusion that the Democratic vice-presidential nominee knows more about foreign policy than the Republican presidential nominee- or the empty ($150,000) suit that is his running mate.

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