McCain-Obama: America at its best

Now is a time to savor the way the nominating process has come out. Before the usual polarizing interests do their worst to try to make you HATE THE OTHER GUY, it’s time to reflect upon the fact that the best candidate won each of the major parties’ nominations. And that has not happened in a lifetime.

You’ll recall, from what I have written and from this hastily produced video I did on the day we endorsed Barack Obama (10 days after endorsing John McCain) in the S.C. primaries, that this is the outcome I had hoped for, the win-win for our nation.

If you — and unfortunately, I’ve noticed that some of my readers have already toed their respective party lines and starting spewing venom toward the other side’s candidate, like so obedient little soldiers in what they imagine to be a war — can’t see how blessed we are this year (as opposed to the lousy choice we had, say, four years ago), maybe you need to step back for a moment. If you step back, say, as far as London, maybe you can see what The Economist sees.

That British publication’s cover this week celebrates both John McCain and Barack Obama, with the headline, "America at its best." Indeed. An excerpt from the main leader (that’s Brit jargon for "editorial"):

    … In John McCain, the Republicans chose a man whose political courage has led him constantly to attempt to forge bipartisan deals and to speak out against the Bush administration when it went wrong. Conservatives may hate him, but even they can see that he offers the party its only realistic hope in November.
    Mr Obama has demonstrated charisma, coolness under fire and an impressive understanding of the transforming power of technology in modern politics. Beating the mighty Clinton machine is an astonishing achievement. Even greater though, is his achievement in becoming the first black presidential nominee of either political party. For a country whose past is disfigured by slavery, segregation and unequal voting rights, this is a moment to celebrate. America’s history of reinventing and perfecting itself has acquired another page.

Note that The Economist can see that these are mortal men, and each has his weaknesses. But in the end, these choices are good news for America, and about America:

Both candidates have their flaws and their admirable points; the doughty but sometimes cranky old warrior makes a fine contrast with the inspirational but sometimes vaporous young visionary. Voters now have those five months to study them before making up their minds (and The Economist will be doing the same). But, on the face of it, this is the most impressive choice America has had for a very long time.

42 thoughts on “McCain-Obama: America at its best

  1. Tom Willett

    How come Obama’s policies are never examined? He’s always referred to as black and charismatic, not the socialist he really is. Now that he is the nominee let’s see how good he is at uniting the country under the hammer and sickle.

  2. HillarySupport

    “…the best candidate won each of the major parties’ nominations. And that has not happened in a lifetime.”
    No they didn’t — and they are not going to. Something might disqualify them both. They are UNFIT!

  3. bud

    Brad and much of the MSM seem to be stuck in a time warp when it comes to John McCain. Like Brad I was a big fan of McCain in 2000. He seemed to be the real deal and I felt he was cheated out of the nomination. In this election, however, McCain seems tired and desperate. His big speech last week was simply dreadful. And his flip-flopping on every issue just leaves me scratching my head. What has happened to this man? He is so far removed from any symblance of the maverick of 2000.
    The torture issue was just the absolute last straw. He had stuck it out through thick and thin on that issue even though it was costing him politically. For that I had great admiration. Then he stands in silence as Bush gives a signing statement saying he will ignore the congressional torture bill. And then, the icing on the cake and completely out of the blue, he comes out and votes against restricting torture techniques if used by the CIA. That was simply shocking.
    Of course I would never have voted for McCain given his complete support of the Bush stay-the-course in Iraq. And he’s further gone off the deep end with his 100 years of occupation rhetoric. Still, I could at least admire his stand on this issue on principal. Yet by claiming he’s really different from Bush somehow on this issue is really a stretch. Both are pro-occupation. So what claim does he have for suggesting he’s for change on this? Really none, and he should say so rather than trying to have it both ways, both for the occupation and claiming he’s for change at the same time. Sorry John, but that just doesn’t make sense.
    And of course on taxes he’s flipped. On energy he’s pandered. He’s hired many lobbyists. And his Keating 5 background is resurfacing with the Phil Gramm catastrophe, which to me is the biggest red flag of them all.
    So the facts undermine the entire McCain theme during this election. He’s no maverick and certainly won’t do much differently from the current nightmare regime. Add to that his age, which is showing more and more with each passing day, and what we have is a man who simply cannot be trusted. John McCain is just not the same man he was 8 years ago. That is painfully obvious.

  4. HillarySupporter

    And then, Bud said:
    “…what we have is a man who simply cannot be trusted”
    I am doing cartwheels!! Flippin’ flips over here in Lexington!! Yay — someone finally SAID IT.
    McCain is just burning with power lust. Good grief — it’s been fueled with years of chasing it. And he’s got a bunch of sell-out insiders propelling this nightmare.
    He even said that he only needs one term. Hey, guess what? That is all it would take to COMPLETELY corrupt Washington.

  5. Mike Cakora

    bud – I hope you don’t smoke cigars, because while you’re trying, you’re not winning any.
    The Phil Gramm hit piece in a left-wing journal was at least an exaggeration if not a complete fabrication.
    You are indeed lucky that your candidate has not sponsored much legislation of any sort so there’s not much to pin on him other than good looks, associating with known terrorists, appointing ethically challenged folks to find his VP, consorting with swindlers, and the like.
    The Big O appears to be a conventional left-wing Democrat. And McCain is, er, something else!

  6. p.m.

    “If you — and unfortunately, I’ve noticed that some of my readers have already toed their respective party lines and starting spewing venom toward the other side’s candidate, like so obedient little soldiers in what they imagine to be a war — can’t see how blessed we are this year (as opposed to the lousy choice we had, say, four years ago), maybe you need to step back for a moment.” – Brad Warthen
    Blessed? Gas is $4/gallon, McCain seems like he’s about to keel over at any moment, and we’re asked to believe that Obama — the man with the most liberal voting record in the Senate, a graduate of the corruption otherwise known as Chicago politics — exists in contrast to the unholy preachers, violent activists and thankless spouse who surround him.
    This is a win-win situation?
    Paul Simon said it better:
    “Going to the candidate’s debate,
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Every way you look at this you lose.”
    And otherwise:
    “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why,
    Countin’ the cars on the New Jersey turnpike,
    They’ve all come to look for America…”
    This year, like no other, the vice-presidential choices mean altogether too much.

  7. Phillip

    I was just getting ready to say to “Tom Willett” that Obama’s policies are well-known and can be argued against effectively without resorting to old-style-sliming techniques, and that folks like Mike C for example could make those arguments effectively…and just then Mike’s here with a very uncharacteristic post that eschews rational argument for name-calling a la Michael Savage or Sean Hannity. Really, Mike, I’m surprised! But I look forward to a return to a more issue-oriented takes on Obama as the campaign goes on.
    What the Economist did not say, Brad, in their editorial is that ending up with these two candidates is a clear signal that America is, in large part, turning its back on extremism and partisanship and the politics of personal destruction.
    Even if the two principals involved do their best to stay to the high road in this campaign, the question becomes, do the supporters on one side or the other descend into the old ways? In the current climate, to do so may provoke a huge electoral backlash. And the good news to me is that so far, it mostly seems to be coming from one direction. At least on this blog. (Bud for example criticizes McCain on the issues, but he doesn’t take Tom Willett’s approach and say that the swastika will be flying over the White House.)
    With the economy in the shape it’s in, if all the Republican argument falls back on “Obama associates with known terrorists” and “consorts with swindlers,” it could be an Obama landslide. So by all means, keep it up. You guys are losing the younger generation of voters BIG time.
    Move over, Bush Derangement Syndrome…ODD (Obama Derangement Disorder) is here.

  8. Brian

    What confuses me; and has confused me for a very, VERY long time is this so-called vision of “bi-partisanism”.
    Being ‘bi-partisan’ is not something good or anything any free-thinking person would adhere to. I want gridlock; I want things to move verrrrry slowwwwwly. That is what our founding fathers envisioned.
    Mr. Brad is a radical leftist–CHANGE NOW and throw your convictions to the curb!!!!

  9. Mike Cakora

    Phillip – Sheesh! Can’t a guy have some fun? I was flinging a bit of mud bud’s way just because I could.
    I look forward to the two candidates engaging in policy debates, my preference being cage matches, the more brutal the better, where both are subjected to jabs with bamboo sticks by the likes of Keith Olbermann, Pat Buchanan, Helen Thomas, Chris Matthews, Ann Coulter, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    As for Obama, there’s no doubt that he’s from the left wing of his party. He’s for stifling US and world economic growth byabandoning free trade, following Pelosi’s ill-conceived dismissal of the Colombia free trade act, and castigating the use of lobbyists while using lobbyists. All of this is fine, but it’s also fair game.
    I’ll gladly put aside any concerns about the folks he hangs around with because there’s much on the policy side that I find idiotic.

  10. Phillip

    Ah, I feel better now, Mike…um, I guess…
    It’s overstating the case though to accuse Obama of wanting to “stifle…economic growth by abandoning free trade.” Here is a different take. To be critical of certain aspects of NAFTA, or to demand greater scrutiny of trade deals, is not to be anti-trade.

  11. Steve Gordy

    Two predictions: McCain will win the Presidency, despite all his liabilities. Like Gene McCarthy in ’68, Hillary’s diehards will sit in their tents until it’s too late to change things. Second: The Dems will make major gains in the Senate and House races; all that anti-Republican frustration has to go somewhere.
    If this latter happens, and Buddy Witherspoon joins Jim Demint in lonely opposition in the Senate, SC will really learn what it means to be out in the cold.

  12. bud

    From jobs and incomes to gas and food prices, Democrats are absolutely right that the Bush years have been a disaster for the forgotten middle class.
    -Quote from the WSJ piece cited by Mike
    So Mike, given the complete and utter failure by Bush and the GOP congress on economic matters and McCain’s apparent intention to follow in his footsteps how is it even possible to make a case for the GOP POTUS candidate? It’s time for a new direction in Washington – a direction that will empower workers instead of the GOP approach that essentially treats labor like so many indentured servants.
    Wage stagnation is proof that the conservative approach to economic policy is a miserable failure. We don’t need a bunch of WSJ spin to understand that. Trade policy alone is of little consequence if our elected officials continue to push policies that trash labor simply to enrich a handful at the top.

  13. Tom Willett

    My calling Obama a socialist was not meant to be ‘sliming’ him or name calling. Look it up in the dictionary…he is a big government socialist, and his plan for health care seals the deal. And the hammer and sickle aren’t a swastika, they are the symbols of the communism that defines him.
    Just stating the facts. He talks about change we can believe in, but what does the articulate one really believe in? Just asking. Can anyone argue that he is not a socialist?

  14. bud

    Tom, we’re all socialists. Bush is a socialist, McCain is a socialist, Joe Wilson and Jim Demint are socialists. Everyone believes government should furnish certain services to it’s citizens and of late the GOP has pushed more in that direction than the Dems. The occupation of Iraq is nothing more than an effort to extend American socialism to the middle east. And who supports that endevour?

  15. Tom Willett

    Not all of us are socialists, some people still believe in limited government and the freedom of the individual. The ideas that this country was founded on.

  16. p.m.

    No, bud, we’re not all socialists, any more than we are all Carolina fans or all Democrats or you spelled “endeavour” correctly.

  17. Brad Warthen

    Sorry about the penultimate graf of the post. It should have read:
    “Note that The Economist can see that these are mortal men, and each has his weaknesses. But in the end, these choices are good news for America, and about America:”

  18. Lee Muller

    Obama the Marxist vs McCain, who has sold out America on immigration and other issues in order to become the nominee of global business.
    Ask any Obama supporter how they rationalize his terrorist and felon friends, and connections to Islamofascism, and you are met with silence.

  19. Brad Warthen

    The problem is with any term that is meant to dismiss, which is the way “socialist” is used. It’s a way to avoid engaging: “I’ll stick this word on this guy, and then I don’t have to think about him any more. All done.”
    There are words that are useful in describing these guys. Obama is undeniably “eloquent.” McCain is, quite simply, a “hero.”
    But those aren’t words that cause you to stop and turn away. A thinking person says, “He’s eloquent, but let’s look more closely at what he’s saying,” or “He’s a hero, but what does that mean in terms of the kind of president he’d be?”
    The people I have NO time for are those who try to deny these good traits of the candidates. McCain is a man of integrity, and all the attempts by the McCain haters to make him out to be something else are not only destructive to the public conversation, but are doomed to fail These people fall all over themselves to find exceptions to the very observable rule that McCain stands out among senators for his willingness to take principled stands.
    Obama inspires, pure and simple. He inspires independently of the specific content of his proposals. Attempts to make that out to be evidence of his vapidity are wrong and likewise doomed to irrelevance. He inspires with a vision of a politics in which we can tap into the best in each other, instead of the constant, vicious sniping. AND THAT IS A GOOD IN AND OF ITSELF. In fact, it goes to the heart of the main thing wrong with our system.

  20. Lee Muller

    Obama is a socialist, pure and simple.
    A lot of people who want to be on the receiving end of socialist handouts don’t like to admit they are socialists, cousins of Hitler, Stalin, and Castro. They like the delusional labels of “liberal” and “progressive” for their intolerant, regressive philosophy.
    Socialism is a failed, reactionary political effort to stand in the way of freedom and progress that moved us from monarchy to free markets and elected governments.

  21. bud

    McCain stands out among senators for his willingness to take principled stands.
    I’ll give you this much, that USED to be true. It no longer is. The evidence is simply overwhelming that McCain has totally abandoned his principles. Many examples confirm this, yet Brad completely ignores the shift in McCain’s focus. He’s just not the same man he used to be.
    I’m not trying to play Democratic cheerleader here it’s just an obvious and painful truth. John McCain has abandoned his principled, maverick ways and has become a pure GOP-partisan sell-out. Maybe this is just a clever political maneuver to win over the necessary party faithful while hoping the personna the MSM continues to peddle will garner him some independent votes. But how we will know? If he governs the same way he’s campaigned for the last 6 months we’ll simply just have a third Bush term. That’s a scary thought.

  22. Lee Muller

    An even scarier thought is Marxist Obama and his terrorist buddies hijacking American and running it into the ground.


    I just saw the cover of ‘The Economist’ …with the posing presidential puppets.
    [it may take me a while, but I’ll get it…]
    What self-deprecating humor. Is this a joke or a nightmare? What international embarrassment, if this is the best America has to offer. It’s coming soon, people. The big one’s coming. The final countdown. Doomsday.

  24. Richard L. Wolfe

    Brad, You want to be accurate then be accurate. The best candidates didn’t win. The candidates with the most votes won.

  25. Brad Warthen

    OK, the best candidates didn’t win — yet. The conventions haven’t been held.
    As for the distinction between “best” and ones with the most votes — that’s the great thing about this year. For once, they were the same people…

  26. Phillip

    Real socialists in the world would laugh their heads off to hear Obama described as a socialist.
    You could make an argument that he is a Social Democrat in the European mold, a la the British Labour party or such. I suppose that’s equally detestable for most of you.
    But Tom, to talk about “hammer and sickle” is sliming and hysterical, no matter what you say. Communism was a system built on dictatorship, no free speech, no free press, repression and violence against its own people. In its way the hammer and sickle is equivalent as a noxious symbol to the swastika.
    Socialism, or Social Democratic-ism, though espousing a greater role for the state in the workings of the economy, does not pursue power except through the legitimate workings of democratic processes. (What Hugo Chavez is doing down in Venezuela is veering far beyond socialism, and he’s not going to last long at this rate, unless the US overreacts and consequently builds his internal domestic support…something we’re “good” at doing).
    What I’m saying is, I don’t recall Francois Mitterrand or Tony Blair shutting down the free press or declaring martial law.
    So you want to call Obama a socialist? Fine, I think it’s inaccurate but those are our differing opinions. But to call him a communist means you’re not really trying to be serious here, just inflammatory. And that’s Lee’s job here.

  27. Lee Muller

    Obama’s platform consists of nothing but socialist programs to rob “the rich” and reward the deadbeats.
    His father was a Marxist supporter of African socialist dictators, murderers.
    His mother was a socialist.
    Her friends, who Obama claims as great influences on his life, were members of the Communist Party USA, like Frank Marshal Davis.
    Obama’s spiritual mentors include several Marxist preachers of hate and racist bile, whom everyone has seen on TV.
    Obama’s close friends include several communists convicted of bombings and who were accessory to murder.

  28. bud

    Talk about a phony! John McCain is really slick but his persona is coming unraveled. The MSM has been suckered by this charlatan. The Carol McCain story is one of great heartache. She stood by her man while he was incarcerated in North Vietnam. And how did he return the favor? He dumped her because she had lost her looks due to a terrible traffic accident. For shame.
    The more you read about John McCain the more you realize what a completely disgusting individual he really is. Here’s an excerpt from The Daily Mail (UK) about his life and breakup with the first Mrs. McCain:
    But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.
    ‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.
    ‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’

  29. bud

    Compare this to this compassionate, doting way John Edwards stood by Elizabeth when she was struck down with cancer. Did Edwards abandon her for a young model? He could have of course. He was rich, famous and by all accounts a good looking guy. But he didn’t leave her. Oh no. He has more integrity than that. But Mr. Straight Talk has no such integrity. He bolted when given the opportunity. Why doesn’t the press focus on this man’s character flaws? There are so many I guess they just don’t know where to start.

  30. slugger

    I do have a dog in this fight so I might as well jump in the discussion.
    You call Obama black and when you see him on the HDTV widescreen, he certainly appears black; however, his true color will come out if he is elected.
    There is not enough whitewash to blot out his past. “The evil that men do live long after”.

  31. Lee Muller

    Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a Socialist, with a capital ‘S’, and votes socialist.
    Barak Obama voted the same as Bernie Sanders.
    Obama and Sanders are members of the Socialist Caucus, and members of an international group of socialist legislators.

  32. slugger

    Idiot Quote of the Century by Barack Obama
    “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.
    I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”
    Barack Obama

  33. Greg

    Wow! I was told that most South Carolinians were racists with Lindsy Graham at the front of the line. But good grief — it appears that you don’t even bother to go to your closets and get out your sheets anymore.
    If you are willing to elect someone who knows absolutely NOTHING about economics at the state of the economy in the US right now, or someone who is computer illiterate in 2008, or someone who believes this country OWES them the presidency JUST because he was a POW —- wow — there are more ignorance out there than I thought.
    McCain’s records clearly states his platform for ALL people (of which he voted against MOST civil liberties than any other Senator). His supporters will no doubt have the same sentiments. So it’s no wonder this country will see this kind of support HERE. Sort of sad that South Carolina STILL lives in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s mindset.
    Meeting a McCain supporter means —- one does NOT even need to explain their support. You’ll only receive LIES as a discrete sentiment.
    Oh, and by the way —- I am a white southerner who have seen most of the prejudices spewed consistantly and DISCRETELY for decades. Those attitudes will be the dimise of this country —- for it has already begun.

  34. Gina

    Obama is not only a Socialist, who wants Americans to hand over their hard earned cash, in a grandiose scheme to redistribute America’s wealth … he spent 20 years listening to the anti-American, racist sermons of black liberation pastor Jeremiah Wright, which were based upon Marxist ideology … along with his wife and two children … and they still attend the same church, listening to the same anti-American trash!


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