September 29, 2023



OblunderComing from Chicago, Barack Obama should know better: If you try to bring nuance to a knife fight, you’re going to bleed to death.

Time and again during their first debate, Senator Obama was served one Quayle-Bentsen moment after another, and couldn’t bring himself to tee off on his opponent.

If McCain wanted to make the point that Obama would coddle our enemies, he was wrong on fact, which Obama did a fair job of refuting, but the Senator from Illinois didn’t do himself any favors by offering repeatedly “John is right in that….but.” One word, Senator Obama, and, for your own good, please memorize it: “Editing.” You conceded that your opponent was right no less than seven times, and everyone of those was already edited into a John McCain commercial before you received your congratulatory kiss from Michelle, and every single “but” and everything that followed is already riddled with shoeprints and being swept up from the cutting-room floor as we speak.

I can’t give many props to the way the Democrats fight–mostly because they won’t fight at all. This was Nancyball–and I mean “Nancy” both in the sissified pejorative and in the toothless leadership of House Speaker Pelosi.

God help them when they die if they happen to run into Lyndon Baines Johnson in the afterworld. He’ll hand them their asses before they know they’ve been torn from them. LBJ was the most vicious and unforgiving man who ever walked the halls of power of the United States government, as President, as Vice President, and no more so than when he was Senate Majority Leader. This was a man who knew how to win elections.

At least twice, John McCain brought up the issue of veteran’s affairs, and how he’s a friend of the American serviceman. That was a gift that Obama should have torn open like it was Christmas morning and he was nine. John McCain claiming to be a friend of the American serviceman is roughly akin to a chainsaw salesman claiming to be a friend of trees.

Never mind the G.I. Bill that he lobbied against and couldn’t even be bothered to show up to vote on. That passed the Senate 75-22, and the only other two no-shows were Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn, who had to attend a funeral, and Ted Kennedy, who was just diagnosed with a brain tumor. Even the 22 who voted no at least had the courage to show up and put themselves on the record.

McCain defended his opposition with the excuse that he preferred what he said was a much-better version of the bill being backed by the White House and having been sired by his friend, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) gave him a D for his votes on veterans’ issues. I got a D in Geometry back in the day and on the basis of that alone I would never have had the temerity to sell myself as a friend to math.

By the way, Lindsey Graham got a D- from IAVA. Obama got a B+.

The Disabled American Veterans in 2007 found that McCain voted for veterans funding legislation barely 20 percent of the time. In 2006, he was one of only 13 Senators to vote against $450 million for veterans’ outpatient care and treatment, and told them to go pound it on $1.5 billion for veterans’ medical care. Suck it up, soldier. I lived in a cement broom closet for five years and all I needed when I got home was scotch and some Brazilian tail.

In 2005 and 2006, McCain voted against a proposal to rebuild the third-world infrastructure at many veterans’ hospitals (because it would have meant a small rollback in the capital gains’ tax cuts Bush granted to 0.2% of the richest Americans). What’s good for American business is good for America’s veterans. Ask anyone who manufactures yellow “Support Our Troop” magnets or “These colors don’t run” American flag-festooned t-shirts.

Incidentally, that same year (2005) McCain got another sub-F score (25 percent) from the DAV. Meanwhile, that liberal Muslim America-hater, Barack Obama, registered 92 percent on their scorecard. Do the Disabled American Veterans hate America? Probably not, but a good look at the records of Senators McCain and Graham, it isn’t like they wouldn’t have good reason.

I don’t want to have to tell Senator Obama how to run his campaign. I have a book coming out. There’s football. And I didn’t watch a single movie during the frenzy of the primaries and I’d really like to do a little catching up. And, not having children and with little chance of living past my 60th birthday, I don’t have a big dog in this fight.

But no real prizefighting fan wants to see an embarrassment. I was one of those millions of Americans who wanted to jump out of my skin and through the television in 1988 when Michael Dukakis gave his dispassionate, theoretical, professorial answer to Bernard Shaw’s question of whether Dukakis would favor the death penalty were his own wife raped and murdered. Obama didn’t embarrass himself to that extreme, but it’s his aged opponent who’s supposed to remember to put his teeth in before he steps up to the stage. Except for a few good bites, the Illinois Senator was all gums night.

So, brother, where art thou? It’s all well and good that you’re a gentleman and you want to keep this conversation civil, but let’s keep that nobility and high-mindedness to a talking points level. Your opponent has been the one flinging the most scat. You need to respond in kind, and poke him in the eyes just for good measure. Get elected first, and THEN you can elevate the discourse. As Paul Krugman noted in The New York Times just a few weeks ago, “Politics ain’t beanbag.” The whole “vanquished Democratic contender” thing has so jumped the shark. And they’re running out of chairs.

You’ll meet in Nashville. Again, I think the opposition has already established that this is a knife fight. In your best interests, Senator Obama, please bring a gun this time.