Even though Republican nominee John McCain tends to eschew rainbows and uplift in favor of the grim satisfaction that comes from serving a “cause greater than self-interest,” he too sees the presidency as a font of miracles and the wellspring of national redemption. A president who wants to achieve greatness, McCain suggests, should emulate Teddy Roosevelt, who “liberally interpreted the constitutional authority of the office” and “nourished the soul of a great nation.” President George W. Bush, when passing the GOP torch to his former rival in March, declared that the Arizona senator “will bring determination to defeat an enemy and a heart big enough to love those who hurt.” Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, suggests she is “ready on Day 1 to be commander in chief of our economy.”
The chief executive of the United States is no longer a mere constitutional officer charged with faithful execution of the laws. He is a soul nourisher, a hope giver, a living American talisman against hurricanes, terrorism, economic downturns, and spiritual malaise. He—or she—is the one who answers the phone at 3 a.m. to keep our children safe from harm. The modern president is America’s shrink, a social worker, our very own national talk show host. He’s also the Supreme Warlord of the Earth.
This messianic campaign rhetoric merely reflects what the office has evolved into after decades of public clamoring. The vision of the president as national guardian and spiritual redeemer is so ubiquitous it goes virtually unnoticed. Americans, left, right, and other, think of the “commander in chief” as a superhero, responsible for swooping to the rescue when danger strikes. And with great responsibility comes great power.
There does seem to be less idolatry of the office of president and the men that have held that office on the liberal side of the aisle, but Gene Healy isn’t far enough off the mark for this writer to put up much of an argument. While there have been some trying times in which the country has needed a little Dr. Phil-ish pep talk, it has always been my view that like the founding fathers the president was an executive in th most modest stripped down interpretation of the term. A person that served as an enlightened manager rather then a mini-messiah thorugh which the general population channeled all its hopes and dreams. For the party that has done remarkedly well at selling the public as the nebulously defined anti-government party, Republicans have been incredibly shrill genuflectors when it comes to the presidency, when they hold the office that is.
Republican John McCain launched a harsh attack on Democrat Barack Obama’s lack of military credentials Thursday, charging that the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination has “zero understanding” of veteran’s issues.
Obama responded in kind, accusing McCain of engaging “endless diatribes and schoolyard taunts” that “do nothing to advance the debate about what matters to the American people.”
We’re going to have so much fun with McCain’s name. Here it lends itself so well to McHyopcrite,
McCain said that he urged Kerry sometime ago not to talk about Vietnam during his campaign. “I did advise John. I said, ‘Look, you shouldn’t talk about Vietnam because everybody else will. Let everybody else do it.’ His advisers figured that was probably not enough, that he had to emphasize that in his campaign. In my campaign, as you know, I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t need to.”
[ ]…”Let’s worry about the war that’s going on in Iraq. Probably some American is dying today in Iraq. I’d like us to focus our attention on the war at hand and how we can win it, rather than revisiting the one that was over 30 years ago.”
As everyone probably knows McCain was a Navy aviator who was shot down on a bombing mission in Vietnam and then became a prisoner of war for five years. All Navy aviators are officers, but the McCain never commanded a group of aviators or a platoon or anything like that – he has no command experience. Naval aviators require some physical courage, but it can certainly be argued it is not the same or the degree of that required by an Army Corporal facing enemy fire in a Vietnamese jungle; so McCain can’t really claim to be able to use his military experience to relate to the boots on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is not a criticism, I’m not doing some partisan snipping at McCain, its a reality check. The media will not critically examine McCain’s claims that his particular military service makes him the better choice for president then Clinton or Obama so his supporters have no need to worry in that regard. McCain is a bright guy, but his graduation at the bottom of his class suggests a certain intellectual laziness. We’ve had eight years of intellectually lazy, other then the rabid Right who really wants another four years of that. McCain has no, none, nada strategic planning experience. McCain is a former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee which qualifies him to be a military bean counter. That position required making decisions on spending priorities and to listening to reports on various aspects of military readiness, not planning winning battle scenarios. Former Defense Secretary Donlad Rumsfeld had military experience about as deep as McCain’s and the families of thousands of U.S. fatalities can tell you where that got us.
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. ~ Carl Sagan