Saturday, September 13, 2008


Comfortable Candidates

There must be something wrong with me. Or, perhaps I am an elite snob. You judge.

I am concerned about veterans (males, mostly) who have said they will vote for McCain because he is also a veteran. "He is one of us," they say. I am concerned because if they paid any attention to his voting record on veterans' rights and benefits they would find a different veteran to vote for or even vote for his opponents.

Originally I had decided to vote for Obama because he is a Democrat and will almost certainly change many of the policies of the Bush administration. He will not have a religious fundamentalist constituency to please with appointments of ultra conservative justices to the federal courts. He will change Bush's tax system that gives preference to another constituency that enjoys high incomes.

Then I had a contrary thought. Perhaps I will vote for Obama because I feel comfortable with him. He is like me. He is not a veteran. He has attended good universities and has a university education, as do I. Among my fellow university graduates I can say, "he is one of us." Does this make me an elitist snob?

In fact, I was thinking the other day about other presidential candidates. Some would say that Obama resembles John Kennedy. The resemblance that came to my mind was Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson also ran for president against a veteran. Unfortunately for my day-dream, he lost. Is Obama, also a product of Illinois, destined to follow Stevenson's example and lose?

I hope not. To that end, I must think of ways in whicy Obama is not like Stevenson. Stevenson had the wit of a stand-up comedian. He made jokes about Eisenhower. I thought he was great and clever. The problem was, the American people were not in a mood for clever wit. They were in the mood for ending the Korean War. While Stevenson was making fun of Eisenhower and his gaffes, Eisenhower was talking about going to Korea, if necessary, and extricating our troops from MacArthur's and Truman's War.

Obama should learn the lesson of Stevenson's defeat. End the war in Iraq. Make it clear that it is McCain's war. McCain wants to win it. The war is not ours to win.

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