Friday, September 05, 2008

Citizen mcKane

After all the speeches are over and the confetti has been dropped, this election comes down to who would you prefer to be your king, the Warrior or the Scholar? Certain times require each, so where is America facing now? The Warrior sees things strategically with the objective being the conquest and domination of his enemies. He closely examines the parts in furtherance of his mission and, when achieved, it is considered "victory." The Warrior sees cubes, while the Scholar sees circles. The Scholar can conceptualize an issue or policy in its totality. He sees the whole rather than the parts, and not just the acts, but their ramifications. The Scholar understands that, rather than confrontation with a belligerent government as a first resort, the power of diplomacy and the application of true American ideals in the world will win us allies and partners over the long run. In other words, "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

The personal courage and conduct of John McCain while serving in the armed forces is unassailable. I had never heard him speak, before tonight, so personally about his experiences as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. I'd seen the clips and read the accounts, but nothing could have been as stirring as McCain's moving description of not only his suffering, but the bravery and honor he both witnessed and exemplified in that terrible place. For enduring that alone, McCain is a great man and a true American hero. But even while McCain was being tortured in Hanoi, a groundswell of social and political change was sweeping America, rejecting the militaristic mindset that fed 58,000 members of my generation into a mindless war machine that was of both parties making. When I reflect on my personal changes between the years 1967-1973, the Summer of Love to the summer of Watergate, I can't possibly conceive what it must have looked like to a man who missed it all; the growth of the anti-war movement and LBJ's abdication, the King and Kennedy assassinations, the Chicago Convention and Nixon's election, to Cambodia, Carpet Bombing, Kissinger and Kent State. None of these events informed John McCain's world view while imprisoned in Vietnam.

Like other military families, especially generational ones, McCain was infused with Naval Academy dedication to duty. By his own admission, he went into the war and came out of it with the same military bearing, and fought in the U.S. Senate against corruption and political financial abuse only after being implicated in the "Keating Five" Savings & Loan scandals of 1989, where he was cleared of wrongdoing but criticized by a Senate Ethics Committee for using "poor judgement." Now that he has made "judgement" a major issue in this election, there was a stark contrast between McCain's words, and the image of Governor Sarah Palin standing in front of the lights that spelled out the campaign's theme; "Country First." In this case, McCain did not put "Country First" by well considering his own mortality in placing a half-term governor and political unknown within one breath of becoming leader of the free world. He put "Election First" and made a "McGovern Picks Eagleton" decision.

The Governor made a great speech, electrified the base, and established herself as a new political star on the scene. She is, however, the anti-Hillary and though I'm sure Republicans love her, it's got to be love at first sight since no one outside of the 49th state knew her name before last week. Does it sound wise that the very first time the country lays eyes upon, or hears the voice of any aspiring politician, it's during that person's acceptance speech for the nation's second highest office? At least Dubya ran for, and won re-election to a second term as Texas Governor before Karl Rove set his eyes on the White House. Governor Palin is not yet into her second year. Even Dan Quayle spent a decade in the Senate before Poppy Bush picked him as, "My Favorite Blonde." Everyone held their breath for four years and prayed for Poppy's safety, lest the "potatoe" head assume power.

Senator McCain may have chosen an engrossing new personality, but he has grossly underestimated the intelligence of women with this calculated choice. In the last post I said that if McCain had a lick of sense, he would put a woman on the ticket, but I was thinking of Elizabeth Dole, Olympia Snowe, or even Susan Molinari. I didn't mean the first one passing by. But McCain caved to the Evangelical right and picked a hyper-Christian "hockey mom" who is to the womans' movement what Clarence Thomas is to modern jurisprudence. And I'm weary of hearing voters say, "We can identify with her because she's just like us." When I vote to elect either member of the Executive Branch, God help this country if he is just like me. I don't want some slacker like me as President, I want someone smarter than me and with more discipline and dedication than me. I want someone rooted in the present with an imaginative vision for the future, and I want someone who is for peace instead of more wars, and diplomacy rather than threats. And I want someone who finally knows how to use the damned internets.

That's why, although this was the most remarkable GOP Convention in memory, I've decided to vote for the smart guy this election. So, rather than compare the candidates' hobbies and hypothetical judgements, let's compare their SAT scores. I'm voting for the guy who came from nothing to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Columbia on scholarships and student loans, rather than the legacy admission who graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis. I am not afraid of the word "intellectual," and I want the once president of the Harvard Law Review who taught Constitutional law to be the Head of State this time, rather than someone who seems like a good guy or looks like he/she could kick ass. I want my president to be "elite." And despite the heroic record of John McCain while in captivity, I am tired of fighting the Vietnam War. McCain has contributed honorable service to this country and is 72 years old. By any measure, this will be a change election. I hope voters can summon the will to put one-issue, divisive politics behind and move into the new century with forward thinking, accompanied with a much needed dose of humility. We are presently engaged in a world war of new ideas, so who shall lead us; the Warrior or the Scholar?


Anonymous said...

What the Republican pundits REALLY think!

Anonymous said...

Once again Sputnik has made some fine points,why he was down right kind in his words for McCain,who wouldn't be, but let us all remember who this campain is about.US,and do we really want another Bush-O-Bot in the Big house?Oh Hell No.Vote OBAMA. Save yourselfs,run to the polls and take your family with you.

Anonymous said...

Friends and born again hippies,

God forbid, if McCain is elected, we will have to pray hard for his continued decent health. What a cruel joke if Sarah winds up president. McCain would be bad enough--with his victory or die mentality and low average IQ. I wonder if sending $10 to Obama every week will help.

Anonymous said...

Politics Smalitics.

You want a ticket, then Pickett and I don't mean Wilson:

The Real Maverick: James Garner

Public Servant
You Gotta Serve Somebody: Bob Dylan

Make Your Vote Count!

Anonymous said...


This is great.

George II and all of his gang, and their understudies need to get jobs in the private sector.

Let’s throw out the power mad sobs and get some new power mad sobs.

Hope you and your family are doing well.

Your friend,


bill said...

Hey there. Well, my call of Lieberman being VP was 'close, but no cigar'. You mentioned in your blog that Barack was "once president of the Harvard Law Review". Wow, executive experience. I'll give Palin credit for being Governor of Alaska but by population, that is about as much experience as you'd get from being mayor of Memphis. As far as the time she was a mayor and a member of the city council, considering the population of the town included about 2500 adults, president of the Harvard Law Review suddenly sounds more important than it did. Anyway, food for futher thought comes from a converstation I had with Patti last night. I knew these numbers in my head but had to show her so went to
Check the debt from 1980 to now. Republican presidents are responsible for all but about 1.5 trillion and that was under 8 years of Clinton and he actually managed to turn the deficit to surplus before he left office. It's now almost $10 trillion which means at current rates, it costs our country about $300 billion just to service it each year and rates are currently at 25-year lows and can't stay there for too long. It is a tax on our kids and their kids in perpetuity. John McCain wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanently and anyone who says they can cut everyone's taxes given the debt is either an idiot or is lying. Let's not call McCain a liar and go with your idea of voting for the one who isn't an idiot.

Sputnik57 said...

This is the commentary you were not intended to see; off-mic comments about Gov. Palin from top GOP advisers. This is Mike Murphy and Peggy "1000 Points of Light" Noonan speaking the truth when they thought no one was watching. So, re: Gov. Palin, let's stop kidding ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I must confess. I am the one who said long ago on this blog that Obama didn't stand a chance because America wasn't ready to elect a black. I was right in one sense, though. The only thing 'black' about Obama is his pigmentation. He is the 'whitest' black man on the planet. He is whiter that 99% of the whites. He is the ultimate 'Oreo cookie'. So, if he is elected, in a very real sense, America will have elected another white man who happens to be dark complected. America is still not ready to elect a pure-blooded Negro and everyone must know in their hearts that this is true.

Anonymous said...

who is the tall dard stranger there, Maverick is his name. Riding the trail to WHO KNOWS WHERE!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:41 has a point. Obama is not very 'black' at all and some blacks were hesitant to back him at first for that reason. He has no original link to the American black experience. He is one of the whitest black men I have ever seen. I too doubt that someone who has pure black bloodlines and who is authentically, culturally black (lingo, attitude, etc.) could be elected in America at this point in history. Maybe after 2050 when whites will only constitute about 43% of the population will an authentic American black be elected as president. I agree that Obama is just a dark complected white man. But, that is just one man's opinion.

The Watcher said...

In today's political commentary page in the CA, David Brooks makes the following statement in regard to the liberal's treatment of Sarah Palin...'Many liberals claim to love working-class families, but the moment they glimpse a hunter with an uneven college record, they hop on chairs and call for disinfectant'. A truer statement couldn't be made about effete, snobbish, limosine liberals. They claim to love the unwashed masses while they live in gated communities and send their children to private schools. They care nothing for the middle or lower classes. All they want from them is their vote and they promise endless handouts to get the votes. They aren't caring or compassionate. Their whole game is about acquiring power and control. How many educated, cultured liberals have you ever seen rubbing shoulders with the underclass? They avoid them like the plague. All they do is throw them a few crumbs as though they are chickens on the government farm while secretly disdaining them the whole time. They are the consumate hypocrites.