Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain questioned

I’ve received some responses from friends who support Obama and I am giving their criticism thought. I’ll summarize and paraphrase some of the concerns I’ve heard.

McCain is a womanizer who cheated on and abandoned his disfigured first wife for a rich, pretty younger woman. This tells me all I need to know about this man who likes to promote his so-called ethics.

According to, McCain has publicly admitted to infidelities and said that he regrets the way he handled his first marriage. I don’t condone the manner in which he behaved and won’t make excuses for it, and from the sound of it he doesn’t either. Maybe it’s smart politics or maybe it’s some amount of maturity. Even someone I respect in Ross Perot, who helped Carol McCain after her accident, has spoken out against John McCain saying, “So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona”.

The implication is that John McCain came home from Viet Nam to find his wife marred from the accident and left her, yet they remained married for seven years, albeit far from a happy or perfect marriage.

Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States result in divorce. If you haven’t been in an ugly divorce you likely know someone who has been. The fact that a large percentage of the population has shared this experience with the McCain’s doesn’t wash with the backlash of resentment toward him. This is especially puzzling when considering the controversy of President Clinton’s activities, nor the myriad of rumors of infidelity by past Presidents.

People get divorced for any number of reasons, reasonable or not. Relationships are complicated in the best of circumstances let alone separation over time, physical and emotional damage and strained reconciliations. So while the handling of his relationship with his first wife doesn’t inspire admiration, not even within himself, it doesn’t disqualify him for a leadership position. It may show that he can act like a jerk, and in that regard is human. It does put into question his judgment, but it doesn’t make him dangerous, and it doesn’t disqualify him for the office of President.

McCain is a hot head, warrior, war monger who loses his temper and flings around profanities.

It would seem that Senator McCain has had several years of heated interactions. One might argue that his passion for what he believes in leads him to his outbursts. You might also say that he lacks tact and diplomacy. It might not be the first time that we’ve had a hot tempered President. Is this what we need at this time in the world? Probably not. Would he fly off the handle and “launch nukes” at the drop of a hat? No. Would he be respected in the world community? I don’t know, just as much as I don’t know if Obama would be respected. I suspect their allegiances would be divided amongst very different camps. Could he unite the polarized parties and camps domestically and internationally? No, but neither can Obama.

As a side, we lived 8 years under a president that was slow to react to growing international threat and lost many innocent lives in the process. When he did react, it was random and erratic and under Clinton’s watch, Osama Bin Laden was able to grow his capabilities with the world watching. We can also place some blame on President Bush (G.H.) and even the great Ronald Reagan for not instituting long term plans that might have addressed the Islamic crisis in Afghanistan in the 1980’s when paths might have been altered before they had been travelled. This is not to trivialize the thousands of lives lost over the last 6 years, but we do not benefit by swinging from one extreme to the next in posture and attitude.

Understand this though; accountability applies to all people whether they are American or European politicians, Arab leaders or Islamic fundamentalists. Compounding wrongs do not equate to moral rights, and we cannot move forward while apologizing for the past. Neither a war monger or an apologist will succeed in uniting world factions. We have forces in the world at fundamental odds with each other. Progress may require patience and understanding, but it does not mandate compromise and acquiescence.

McCain has run nothing but a dirty, mud-slinging campaign full of lies and distortions.

This probably frustrates all of us as much as or more than anything else in political seasons. Every season starts with promises to change followed by nastier and dirtier campaigns. I wish the RNC would have remained focused on running on the issues rather than running against Barack Obama. That said, what I read and see is media sound bites. I hear both candidates running against each other rather than on the issues. The media could choose to play sound bites of the candidates discussing the issues, but instead, they choose to play those that excite and incite. A candidate, in particular McCain, could avoid this trap by simply staying away from running against Obama. Don’t even mention his name. Talk about the economy, international and national security, immigration, and political philosophy. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a candidate that refuses to denigrate his opponent or for that matter, how about not even acknowledging the opponent? Some businesses make sales by scaring customers about their completion. Other businesses ignore the fact that there is competition and sell their goods based on their features and benefits. I’ve always preferred the latter.

Neither candidate can acknowledge or get involved in the mudslinging that individuals do throughout the campaign. People have concerns. Some legitimate, some ridiculous.

Obama acknowledges McCain’s Senate contributions on one hand, but bundles him with Bush on the other. McCain has called Obama a good man, a family man on one hand and labeled him as the most liberal Senator in Congress on the other.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that we all get caught up in the dirt. For the most part, it’s the stuff that questions the candidate’s integrity, attributes, and qualifications. It’s actually a good thing and thank God we have the liberty and freedom of speech to question our leaders in this fashion. I would like to explore the paradigm of people asking these questions and not the candidates themselves though.

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