This is the first installment of a two-part column on presidential challengers John McCain and Barack Obama — ABV.
In the end, right is right, and wrong is wrong.
On November 4, American voters will decide for themselves how much of the ‘right’ they believe, and how much of the ‘wrong’ they can stomach, ultimately, casting their ballot for the candidate who best mirrors them.
That leaves approximately three weeks for minds to be made up, or not, about the abilities of Messrs. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., and John Sidney McCain, III, to lead the world’s most powerful and influential nation to better endeavors without sacrificing its heart and soul – and with sound values, moral fiber, smarts, upstanding associations and, of course, likeability, intact.
In the presidential race’s final leg, though, the gloomy fact emerges that, polished sound bites and engineered teleprompters aside, neither candidate really stands head and shoulders above the other, and no amount of transplants can seem to budge the myriad controversies attached to their hips.
Let’s begin with Senator McCain, who pledges “a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve.” That assurance would be reassuring coming from a political novice, such as Senator Obama, but it is redundant from the mouth of a seasoned politician, who has served in Congress for two terms and is on his fourth term as a member of the United States Senate.
Mr. McCain has been in public office for 26 years, serving under both Republican and Democratic administrations. That is a long, long, long time to effect change and create a formidable, indisputable reputation.
As the rubber hits the road, however, the Arizona Republican is confronted by potholes he has dug for himself as a former POW-turned-celebrity-turned-politician-turned-presidential-contender.
Some may take into consideration his privileged formative years among Washington’s cream of the crop, or how his fellow pupils at the exclusive Episcopal High School in Potomac, Virginia, as reported by Rolling Stone magazine, appeared to dislike his temperament, with one chum remembering him as “a mean little f…..”
Others may take into account his record with women, particularly his disturbing admissions about how he “continued to treat girls badly” in college; or his torment of his first wife, Carol, whom he cheated on multiple times and divorced after a car accident left her disfigured; or, as revealed by author Cliff Schecter in his book, “The Real McCain,” his admonishment of current wife, Cindy, whom he lambasted as a “trollop” and a “c…” in front of reporters after she joked about his thinning hair.
For the families of those who made the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield, and for those currently embroiled in dangerous duty overseas, the former POW is no champion, voting against veterans in 2004, 05 and 07, including against an ‘05 bill which would have boosted spending on mental health (the decline of which is an occupational hazard for soldiers) by $500 million.
The icing on the cake, however, is his unnerving snideness. During the second presidential debate, Mr. McCain was able to employ extreme hindsight and, somehow, predict (even if it is “100 years” from now) that “Senator Obama would have brought our troops home in defeat. I will bring them home in victory and in honor.”
We’ll hold you to that, sir – if you’re elected.
E-mail“A Britisher’s View” at BritView@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.
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