Both McCain, Obama Disappoint
Wednesday - October 01, 2008
Several readers took me to task for my column last week in which I expressed my disappointment in the falsehoods coming out of Sen. John McCain’s campaign.
Well, I am not inclined to take anything back, especially not my irritation at McCain’s childish reasoning for resorting to the same swift-boating techniques that destroyed his campaign in 2000. Saying “the other guy made me do it” just doesn’t cut it. We deserve to be treated as rational adults and not gullible schoolkids.
But that doesn’t mean I’m letting the Democrats off the hook.
Hello, Obama campaign, are you still there? I’m talking about the candidate who promised to elevate our national dialogue, to bring our country together, to change the tone of Washington. Barack, where, oh, where have you gone?
I have a feeling he’s stuck in the same political pit as his opponent.
Why did he have to link McCain falsely with Rush Limbaugh in a Spanish-language ad, implying the Arizona senator agrees with Limbaugh’s particularly poisonous form of immigrant bashing? He knows McCain has been both reasonable and even proactive on the issue of protecting our borders and providing a path to citizenship for immigrants. McCain has stepped back from, but not repudiated, his original position. He can be blamed for choosing political expediency, but not for being anti immigrant.
Why did Obama scare senior citizens by telling them McCain wanted to put their Social Security into the tanking stock market, when the truth is McCain backed a Bush proposal that was much more moderate, voluntary and limited to those born after 1950?
The truth is that both sides have hunkered down into their respective bunkers. And they are keeping the fact -checkers busy. I’d advise you to do your homework and visit websites in the business of separating fact from fiction, such as FactCheck.org. Know the truth from the exaggerations and recognize the outright lies.
And here’s what I think is most important: Call them on it. Let them know you don’t like it, especially if it is your candidate doing the dirty dance. Even if you love John McCain, don’t let him get away with saying he is an honorable man if he’s behaving shamefully. And even if you adore Barack Obama, don’t let him claim he is an agent of change if he is resorting to the same negative attacks he decries. Let them know you don’t like - won’t accept - the venom. We deserve better.
In the end, I hope and believe we Americans will vote because of the candidates’positions on the economy and energy and the war, and all the really important things facing our country today. We need a serious leader to save us from the financial brink. We can’t afford to be led around by the nose, bleating like clueless sheep, or sidetracked by distortions and distractions.
One of our readers who objected to my McCain criticisms e-mailed: “One thing I learned at a very early age was to never argue or debate politics or religion. You will never win the argument and in the process alienate half the people you know.”
To this reader, who did not sign his name, I can say that I, too, learned that lesson as a child and for the most part I have adhered to its wisdom. It makes life a lot easier when you don’t express an opinion. But there have to be limits to what one will accept, silently and without discussion, debate or protest. I am convinced that what we need in this critical election year is more talk - not less. We also need to read, watch, listen and participate.
And we must have candidates who respect our need for both straight talk and change.
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