Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reflections on the Presidential election

I've become more optimistic lately about a Democratic takeover of the White House in November. I've always been a bit of a pessimist, and have been fearful until recently that Barack Obama didn't have a chance to defeat the Republican candidate, John McCain.

But McCain is coming across like a doddering old man far removed from the realities of the nation's serious problems. It takes one to know one, since I am a doddering old man myself. And I'm a decade older than the Arizona senator. But I do hesitate to disparage McCain because I had once admired him as an amiable politician with integrity.

McCain evidently doesn't know the difference between Muslim Sunnis and Shiites--an issue that is basic to an understanding of the Iraqi situation. Nor does he appear to know that Iraq and Pakistan are not neighboring countries, and that that the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan--and not Iraq--is the primary battleground in the war against Islamist terrorism.

He also seems to be unaware that Czechoslovakia, a subject that recently came up in a discussion, has not existed as a separate country for about a decade. So much for the superior foreign policy expertise he was supposed to possess.

I am bored that McCain, like the Bush Administration, is obsessed with what he calls "the success of the surge" in reducing violence in Iraq. To the "surge" promoters, the temporary deployment of about 25,000 fresh troops to Iraq has taken on the aura of a historic new military tactic worthy of a Robert E. Lee or Field Marshall Rommel.

They seem to forget that Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was ousted as the Army's chief of staff, warned that the U.S. was invading and planning to occupy Iraq with an inadequate number of troops. Indeed, there is evidence that he and other Pentagon generals were unenthusiastic about the Iraq adventure from the start.

According to knowledgeable observers, the insurgency in Iraq was already declining before the arrival of the additional U.S. troops. One primary reason, they claim, was the decision to put several powerful Sunni Arab tribes on the American payroll to fight other Sunni insurgents and the local al-Qaeda forces.

Another factor in the decline in violence has been the loss of popular support for the corrupt Shiite Sadr movement, which had battled U.S. troops and opposed the rival Shiite parties that dominate the Maliki government.

When the Maliki regime embraced the idea of a timetable for the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq--which Obama proposed--the absurdity of both McCain's and President Bush's fierce resistance to a withdrawal plan was vividly exposed.

As I have written before on this blog, I have not been an ardent Obama supporter. I would have preferred a more seasoned Democratic candidate like Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd or Governor Bill Richardson.

I have been troubled by Obama's limited experience and political achievements. Perhaps because I am a a grouchy old man, I have also been put off by his boyish persona and the adoring, charismatic movement that has developed around his Presidential campaign.

Nevertheless, I recognize that he is man of exceptional intelligence. More important, we are essentially on the same ideological wave length. I will therefore enthusiastically vote for him, hoping that his coat tails will bring in overwhelming Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

I was delighted to see Europeans and others waving the American flag during Obama's recent foreign tour. It was more gratifying than seeing the foreigners who burn the American flag whenever President George W. Bush arrives on an overseas visit.

I am scared by the prospect of John McCain, my doddering old compatriot, moving into the White House and repeating and even reinforcing the blunders of the most incompetent Presidential administration in my lifetime.

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Blogger Sylvia K said...

What a great post! You said all the things I have wanted to say, but so much more professional! Believe me, McCain is a far more doddering old guy that you'll ever be!
I was really happy to see you had written another post!

Have a good week.


Sunday, July 27, 2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I am comforted that you are starting to feel better about voting for Senator Obama.

Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

You clearly described my thoughts about the candidates and the reluctance I had about aggressively going out on a limb early for a Democratic candidate. I wanted to see just how they each would conduct themselves.

McCain's party many many years ago (before Bush) betrayed what they claim to stand for, so I couldn't support them no matter who the candidate. I wish McCain had stayed in Congress since as a Presidential candidate he has been steadily going downhill in terms of what I have liked about him in the past.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 1:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

What a writer you are,Mort.

You wrapped up in a few paragraphs what it would have taken me a book to say and I wouldn't have said it as well.

I especially agree with your thinking about having a more experienced person to lead our country. As you may know, I was a Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden supporter,and I am disappointed that one of them was not the nominee,but I would rather have Barack Obama than John McCain in the White House.

I think the most important question any citizen can ask themselves before voting for anyone in November is: Who will this person I am going to vote for appoint to the Supreme Court?

What will be more important to the future of America?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

I, too, at one point thought highly of McCain...although I've rarely voted Republican. However his TV appearances have me very nervous. Thank goodness that Senator Obama went overseas and I loved the way he was welcomed. He has my vote for sure.
Thank you for such a thoughtful and learned post.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I wish we had another choice. Obama's inexperience bothers me but I am certainly not voting for McCain.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Linda Hillin said...

Enjoyed this post. I am an enthusiastic Obama supporter. I am very disappointed in the McCain I've seen in this campaign. I do not know this John McCain.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Morton and many of the readers of this blog are so in love with Obama. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you don't recognize that he has chosen to associate with some pretty scary people and therefore, I question is judgement and his ability to be President. Please don't use the come back that I am using scare tactics. I am just stating what are known facts that the liberal press chooses to gloss over. Obama's former pastor and spiritual advisor for almost 20 years is a radical racist, who promotes the and honors Louis Farrakan.

Obama has a friend named Bill Ayers and Ayers is married to a fellow terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn. They were part of a terror organization called the Underground Weathermen. This group was responsible for several bombings in the United States on the Pentagon, police stations and several other areas. They were on the top ten FBI most wanted list. They were finally captured but let go because of an illegal FBI surveillance technicality. On the day of the 9/11 attacks, William Ayers said he does not regret the bombings. Ayers said that he just that he wished they had done more. He did not feel they had done enough. This man is a FRIEND of Obama’s and actually helped Obama with Tony Rezko to launch his political career. When asked about Ayers, the Obama campaign stated that Obama and Ayers are “friendly.” What am I missing here? This is a Presidential candidate and Obama is hanging out with a known terrorist and the media is not doing anything about this? People we should be up in arms over this and it should be spread far and wide! Good God this friend of Obama’s bombed the Pentagon and Ayers could be a guest of Obama’s at the White House? Concerned American citizens should be writing all the major networks and asking about this, why it is not being investigated and spread all over the United States. This makes the Reverend Wright scandal look tame! If the media is going to look into this we need to help Hannity and push this all over the place! It is bad enough that one of Obama’s other friends, Tony Rezko is under federal indictment at the moment but he also likes this guy?

I admit that Obama is a great orator and inspires crowds, but Hitler also inspired crowds When you take the tele prompter away from Obama, he falls apart. America beware!

Saturday, August 30, 2008 9:52:00 PM  

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