ANDY THOMAS: On Skeletons, Lame Ducks and 'The Economist'
First off, let me say that I was amused at my friend Paul Dunn's "No Sense of Decency" column last Friday, wherein he condemns the McCain-Palin team for negative campaigning.
As if Barack Obama and Joe Biden were totally innocent of any dirty tactics. Laughable. Dunn's dubious criticism marches along with the tune of other myopic liberals who like to hear themselves talk.
Mind you, I am not required (or desire) to endorse anyone for our upcoming elections. The Pilot does that, editorially. However, I'd like to pose this commentary on the scariest election in my ancient memory. Scary because of the stakes -- and candidate skeletons-in-the-closet that will linger beyond Halloween into Election Day and beyond.
Readers will remember my Republican background and steadfast support, voting a straight GOP ticket most of my life. This will not be the case Nov. 4.
For example, I won't tick the names of Dole and Coble on my ballot because of their selfish interest in voting down the first recovery (bailout) bill. In a time of panic, their resistance to a solution showed me lack of leadership. The precious days between the first vote and the later one, which did pass, did irreparable harm to citizens' confidence. Where were their alternative plans?
We have some outgoing officials whose space will hopefully be filled by better leaders. Coming to mind are our governor and our president.
The governor and his team have mismanaged the highest taxed state with the most expensive gasoline in the South. Then there's Dubbya. I like him very much. He's honest, forthright and amiable, but I think he's lost his lust for public service. You can see it in his tired body and eyes when he tries, unsuccessfully, to calm the fears of Americans regarding the economy. Some say George Bush became a lame duck when it was proven there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
His replacement, whom we are soon to select, is not a clear-cut choice, contrary to what the liberal press' polling would like to have us believe. Senator Obama's slickness surpasses that of a previous Democrat who held high office. His poise, demeanor, youth and gift of speech make him an American idol.
Senator McCain is not so smooth. But his sincerity and experience make him a more-than-viable contender. I'm 72 years old, as he is. I consider myself reasonably fit, as I work out regularly. But I don't mind saying that I quite often feel old and weary. My razor-sharp memory needs a new blade. Can McCain sustain the energy necessary to govern effectively?
One thing I'll strongly consider in my presidential vote is the background of each candidate. What has the nominee done to prove his worth? What has he not done? What are his skeletons?
McCain seems a lot cleaner than Obama in this respect. Barack's coziness with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Franklin Raines, William Ayers and others of questionable repute, significantly sway me away from him. McCain's past is spotless in comparison to Obama's.
The Economist, an excellent British weekly magazine that strives to be apolitical while remaining incisive, analytical and intelligent, published in its Oct. 4 issue a special report entitled "The Battle of Hope and Experience." Now, here's an opinion I respect because it is reputable, supposedly unbiased and remote from America's political battlefield. And, don't forget, it was the British who ultimately made sense enough out of the bailout bill to aid its passage.
"Many (Americans) have doubts about Mr. Obama," the magazine says. "He has the thinnest rsum of any nominee in living memory. Eight years ago, when he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives ... he lost by 31 percentage points."
The article goes on to point out that many Americans hesitate to hire him as the country's leader with no executive experience besides running the Harvard Law Review and a series of election campaigns. And that he won that state Senate seat by having all his rivals thrown off the ballot as he cozied up to Chicago's machine politicians.
"He has never stood up to his party to accomplish anything substantial," the article continues, "and even professional observers are now thoroughly unsure what he stands for. ... Mr. Obama calls himself a 'pro-growth, free-market guy,' despite opposing most of Mr. Bush's trade deals, voting in favor of farm subsidies and frequently veering into populist rhetoric. ... (He) has voted in favor of lower (trade) barriers on just four of the 11 major trade bills he has faced."
Are these facts and statements by the Democratic nominee consistent with what Americans want in their leader? The Economist won't reveal its endorsement until its Nov. 1 issue, but it sure wouldn't seem likely that Obama would be the man, based on what they've already said about him.
Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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