Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A random thought

I know, I've been very busy lately. It's crunch time in Wedding World.

But today, as we near our Independence Day, I had a sort of random thought, so I figured I'd share - tell me if you agree or think I'm a nut.

The other day at the office, I saw some book full of birthday wishes for George W. Bush - it was an "art" project, so the letters were from ordinary folks, some supportive, some not.

And I was just remembering back to how, when Dubya ran back in 2000, he and his supporters talked a lot about how he was a man of the people, a regular Joe, an everyman. The right man for the White House, evidently, after years of Clinton/Gore... I don't know what, snobbery, or what have you.

These days, it's been popular in the '08 race to call Barack Obama an "elitist." To claim he's out of touch with regular folks, or something.

Let me ask you: Do we really want eight more years of an "average" guy like Dubya running the country?

I don't know about you, but I really don't want, and never wanted, an "ordinary" man running the country.

I want an extraordinary man - or woman - in the White House.

President of the United States is not a job for the weak, or the dumb, or the foolish. For the average. Much less the below-average.

President of the United States is a job for a man - or woman - of intelligence, wisdom, education...

In short, the kind of person who's probably too smart to get into national politics.

But really. When did being part of the nation's elite - intellectually, charismatically, educationally - become a reason to disqualify someone from taking on what is probably the single most important job in the world?

(Outside of the head coaching job for the Oakland Raiders, of course.)

I'm thinking that disqualification probably occurred somewhere around the time, as one of those letter writers in the book put it, when lying about sex became worse than lying about war.

If not then, then definitely when, as Brad Whitford said on Bill Maher's show, getting shot in the ass three times in Vietnam became less manly than being a male cheerleader.

While I'm on a rare political rant, let me add one more topic:

No, it wasn't very politically savvy of Gen. Wesley Clark to question whether John McCain's service in Vietnam qualified him to be president or not.

But that doesn't mean he's wrong. (In fairness, doesn't mean he's right, either.)

McCain's courage is unquestionable. His service to his country is admirable. His survival of years as a POW is remarkable.

You all know how I feel about Vietnam veterans, and American troops in general.

But when we're debating what qualifies anyone to be the most powerful man in the world, besides owning the Oakland Raiders, anything should be opinion to discussion.

McCain was a combat aviator in time of war.

That single fact alone probably elevates his ability to lead the nation above 95% of the population.

But does it make him the single most qualified person? Not on its own. There are many men and women who have similar military qualifications.

McCain was a POW who never broke under years of strain.

That probably elevates his ability to lead the nation above 98% of the population.

But again, does it make him the single most qualified person? Not on its own.

Wesley Clark, if looked at in a non-soundbite way, has a valid point. Serving as a junior officer in a time of war does not necessarily, on its own, make you a leader of men.

It makes you a hero.

But not every hero is fit to be president. And it does the nation a disservice for anyone to wrap themselves in the flag as a platform unto itself.

To McCain's credit, I don't believe he's done that.

But the whole controversy is one more sign that the political process itself is a vicious cycle that often keeps us from putting the best candidates in the best position to succeed, often keeps us from focusing on the real issues rather than the soundbites, the substance rather than the style.

We'll never, to use a military slogan, be all we can be, as a nation, if people's instinct is to rant over one sentence in a paragraph worth of remarks, and react in a knee-jerk, partisan way, rather than holding an intelligent discourse on the issue.

All right, enough ranting for now. Talk amongst yourselves. Share your opinions in the comments. Maybe I'm wrong. But at least I've (hopefully) got you talking.

1 Comment:

jin said...

Heeeeeeey busy Munkee!
I tagged you!