Monday, April 21, 2008

McCain v. Bush

For weeks, the Clintons have been building up John McCain in order to knock Barack Obama down – implying that Obama is not (yet) ready to take on such a titan. Then, since yesterday, after Obama said in passing at a campaign rally in Reading, Pennsylvania, that even McCain would be better than Bush, the Clintons have been “making a federal case” of his remark – presumably because it was too McCain friendly. “A foolish consistency” may be “the hobgoblin of little minds,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed. Evidently, it is also no obstacle in the way of self-serving opportunist politicians, once they decide that their only chance is to throw “the kitchen sink” at their opponent.

Will Pennsylvania voters put an end tomorrow to the Clintons’ harmful, tiresome and self-serving petulance? I’m not holding my breath. But hope springs eternal.

Meanwhile, the time is long past due that Democrats stop using John McCain as a campaign prop. The man is a menace, and his past should be used against him. Obama, especially, should stop praising McCain for his “service” to the country and for his “heroism.” Had the United States come to terms with its past in Vietnam, the way the Germans and Japanese have come to terms with their pasts in World War II, a McCain candidacy would be unthinkable. Unfortunately, this never happened; our ruling classes and their flunkies saw to that. Because Obama (and lately Clinton too) are doves on Iraq, not anti-imperialists, it is likely that this time around the outcome will be similar; that, at great future cost, we will not learn our lesson -- again. But, however quixotic the effort may be, for the sake of preventing future harms, we should try as best we can to face the facts. We can start with John McCain.

McCain was a prisoner of war, to be sure. But his “service” and “heroism” consisted in dropping napalm and bombs on a civilian population struggling to resist imperialist aggression. He should not be able to set foot in public without being reminded of this. The man is not just a doddering “maverick” with “bad ideas for America.” He’s not just a hapless warmonger. He’s a low level war criminal who should be held to account.

Still, though, he just might be better than Bush.

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