Written by Aaron Goldstein
August 21, 2008
by Aaron Goldstein
Barack Obama will undoubtedly wax eloquent when he accepts the Democratic Party nomination in front of 75,000 adoring acolytes at Denver’s Mile High Stadium on August 28th. Obama will talk about hope, change, this being our moment and how yes we can. His oratory might even stir the waters of the Colorado River to rise a foot or two.
John Kerry might have been the Democratic Party’s standard bearer four years ago but bleeding hearts everywhere swooned over Michael Moore. In four years, the Left has gone from hysterics over a flabby filmmaker to idolizing a sleek, smooth talking celebrity. Michael Moore and Barack Obama might have diametrically opposed images. But beneath the artifice, their ideas are nearly one in the same. Both label Republicans as racist, do not have any respect for their opponents and believe they are somehow immune from criticism.
Obama insists to the high heavens that John McCain will remind voters that he has “a funny name” and “doesn’t look like all of those others Presidents on dollar bills.” Not only has McCain not reminded voters that Obama has a funny name but when talk radio personality Bill Cunningham repeatedly uttered Obama’s middle name at a McCain campaign rally last February, McCain eviscerated Cunningham. In Cunningham’s words, McCain threw him under the bus. Conversely, McCain has never relegated Obama to the back of the bus.
But if Obama wants to accuse McCain of harboring racist sentiments he will render the term racism meaningless. Who is Obama to presume white voters cast their ballots solely on the basis of race? For every white voter who won’t for Obama because he’s black there are probably a thousand voters, black and white, who will vote for Obama precisely because he is black. So Obama is going to have to do a lot better than accuse McCain of race baiting.
Frankly, the only problem with Obama’s skin is that it is so easy to get under it. “Let me clear: I will let no one question my love of this country,” cried Obama in front the VFW Convention in Orlando on August 20th. But it is Obama who equates legitimate public policy criticism with impugning his patriotism. He can argue that we should not have entered Iraq all he wants. But what good is that argument for our soldiers who are stationed in Iraq as we speak? Like it or not, we are there and if we are there we have a duty to see it through to victory. If Obama cannot recognize the success of the surge then he cannot sees the forest for the trees. Obama wants withdrawal from Iraq, not victory. Not only does McCain have a right to criticize Obama’s position he has an obligation to do so. McCain is criticizing Obama’s judgment, not his patriotism. Unfortunately, Obama is too vapid to tell the difference.
So Obama thinks McCain “doesn’t know what he’s up against.” And when has Obama ever had to make a life or death decision? But if this is how Obama wants it then fine. If he wants to insist that McCain “cheated” at Saddleback then fine. If he wants to complain about McCain not knowing how many homes owned by him and his wife then fine. Obama does so at his own peril. McCain might not possess Obama’s knack for a good turn of phrase but McCain knows how to talk to people. To suggest McCain “cheated” at Saddleback is ignore McCain’s political triumphs over the past quarter century which would not have been possible without the faith and trust of the people of Arizona. Of course, McCain might be a little absent minded about his assets than he ought to be but Obama is hardly in a position to take McCain to task over personal investments. McCain doesn’t need lectures from someone who engaged in business with convicted felon Tony Rezko to buy a mansion.
The only thing worse for Obama than believing his own hype is to underestimate McCain’s wherewithal. Obama might move oceans but America wants a President on solid ground. McCain didn’t begin serving a cause greater than himself last weekend. It is what he was raised to believe and it is what carried him through both as a POW and a politician. McCain has been knocked down in both arenas and has always found a way to get back up. Oh yes, McCain knows exactly what he is up against. McCain is up against a prima donna who believes sitting down in the Oval Office is an entitlement. And yes, Obama could very well win. Yet Obama cannot comprehend that then he has committed the cardinal sin of underestimating a worthy opponent. McCain hasn’t underestimated Obama for a second. He’s been around long enough to know when he is the underdog in a fight. He knows Obama is quite capable of getting what he wants. He also knows that Obama is already acting like he has won the race thus erasing the fine line between confidence and cockiness. So long as Obama speaks with such nugacity he will spend a lot of time beginning the first Wednesday of November wondering why he could not gain the trust of the American people.
Aaron Goldstein writes about the things that pique his insatiable curiosity. In addition to politics, he is an aficionado of baseball, poetry, music & ketchup flavored potato chips. Aaron satiates his various appetites in Boston.