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Perusing the political terrain

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted April 14, 2008

The outcome is almost surreal: John McCain versus Barack Obama. Step back in time for a moment. A year ago, did anyone really anticipate that it would come down to these two candidates vying for the presidency? Hillary Clinton may vow to continue the fight for the oval office, but the truth of the matter is that Barack Obama is almost certain to become the Democrat Party's standard bearer. Hillary's dwindling superdelegate count and the exit of her chief strategist Mark Penn are sure indications of her sinking ship.  

That being said, political enthusiasts, commentators, operatives and strategists are enthralled by the prospect of the real slug-fest, the main bout, that's only now heating up between the warring tribes. The big question, of course, is who will ultimately capture the oval office – John McCain or Barack Obama? The aggregate national polling numbers have McCain and Obama in a virtual dead heat. However, polling is certain to morph over time as the citizenry becomes fully acquainted with the candidates.

John McCainThe one element that's going to remain constant over the next few years, and exert overriding influence, is the war against Islamo-fascism. With that in mind, my bet is on John McCain being elected the next president. McCain is widely perceived as the consummate patriot, and character reigns supreme in presidential politics. Moreover, he's had over twenty years tackling national security and foreign policies issues, which is invaluable experience that Obama simply does not possess. Recent polling from The Everett Group substantiates that John McCain is viewed as "the best commander-in-chief for the nation's armed forces" when compared against Hillary and Obama. The public is well aware of McCain's sound military judgment, since he was at the forefront of advocating for the successful troop "surge" in Iraq.  

As the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain further displayed his insightful analysis of the Iraq situation at the "Petraeus Hearing" on April 8th, stating that we have to reject "the calls for a reckless and irresponsible withdrawal of our forces at the moment when they are succeeding."  Despite the fact that circumstances have dramatically improved in Iraq, it's virtually verboten among "doom and gloom" Democrat politicos to acknowledge the incredible turn of events.

At the hearing, Senator Obama was surprisingly gentle, as he questioned whether the definition of success in Iraq was too high, which could portend a lengthy stay for possibly 20-30 years. [Such as the type of presence that we still have in Germany and South Korea?]  Moreover, he adeptly played to the Democrat base and the peacenik crowd by stating upfront that "Iraq was a massive strategic blunder." That's the Obama spin, but is it the reality?  Our troops have dealt al-Qaida and its cohorts significant blows in Iraq, and the evil doers are on the run. Why would we want to quickly abandon a winning strategy that's shellacking the terror organization that perpetrated 9/11?  

In the realm of national security, John McCain has performed admirably. However, he's managed to tick-off quite a few conservatives on some domestic matters. Particularly galling are his positions on illegal immigration and man-made global warming, and his propensity to buddy-up to Democrats to the detriment of the Republican Party. The simply truth is that McCain - who is not a movement conservative – still needs to effectively out-reach to GOP voting conservatives. By choosing a principled conservative as his vice presidential running mate, McCain could help himself immeasurably – That act alone would go a long way toward galvanizing the Republican Party base. As underscored by conservative radio and television host Sean Hannity, conservatives can realistically expect to agree with McCain sixty or sixty five percent of the time on ideas and polices. In contrast, conservatives are only going to agree with Barack Obama about two percent of the time.
Barack ObamaObama continues to project a "Far Left" image, that's not conducive to garnering the votes of mainstream Americans. Unless Obama can fine tune his "brand" in some manner, he's going to have difficulty winning in the general election. Furthermore, the fact that Obama has only been in the Senate since 2005 speaks to his minimal experience with national matters. On a positive note, Obama is a charismatic and intelligent candidate with amazing political skills, which will help him finesse some of his problems on the campaign trail. 

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright scandal is no longer on the front pages of the press, but the aftershocks are still slated to take their toll on Obama.  True, the Reverend's anti-American, anti-white tirades had little impact on the primary vote, which is a testament to the Left-leaning "blame America first" mentality that permeates the Democrat Party. However, Team Obama is kidding itself if it doesn't realize that Wright's screeds alienated many center-right voters, which will impact the general election outcome. The bottom line is that many Americans still cannot fathom how Obama stayed with that hate spewing, divisive pastor for twenty years.

That being said, Obama is beginning to address this prickly matter on what is being dubbed the ‘I love America tour". However, people are bound to see the disconnect between Obama's "change" mantra and the "I love America" message. If you love America, why would you be consumed with changing her? And what type of change?   Simply put, Obama wants to mold and tweak America in a way that satisfies "progressives". However, the majority of Americans are not ready for a socialist utopia characterized by redistribution of wealth and rule by the elites. 

I have no doubt that John McCain is going to do everything in his power to stay clear of "racial politics" in this campaign. Rather, he will focus on substantive issues that affect all of us. Of course, "universal health care" is one of the primary subjects that must be addressed. The challenge for McCain will be to explain to the American people how disastrous socialized medicine has been for nations such as Canada and Britain.  Clearly, America must avoid that nightmare. Government-run health care results in spiraling costs, prohibitive levels of taxation, expanded and inept bureaucracy, greatly diminished quality of care, limited medical choices and long waiting lists. If McCain succeeds in the educational process, then Americans will come to understand that talk of "free health care" by the political Left is patently absurd. ESR

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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