March 31, 2008

AUTHENTICITY IS A HUGE POLITICAL PLUS...:

Age as an Asset: McCain's Appeal To Boomers (Suzanne Fields, 3/31/08, Real Clear Politics)

John McCain's biography -- written in the fire of war when the boomers were playing with matches in the safety of an indulgent culture -- is grounded in the virtues of an earlier era when patriotism was not an empty word. He was a child during World War II, when good and evil were everywhere understood; he grew up during the Cold War when it was clear that those who did not share the values of the West could kill us all. His courage and character were formed in a family of military men, and when he graduated from the Naval Academy he went to war without flinching.

Biography, like culture, is not destiny, but it makes a difference. Can we believe the insistence of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that pulling pell-mell out of Iraq reflects a deep understanding of the chaos and consequences of what they would leave behind? John McCain separated himself from the Democratic candidates in a speech last week emphasizing the importance of paying the wages of war today to avoid paying higher wages tomorrow. "Any president who does not regard this threat as transcending all others does not deserve to sit in the White House," he said, "for he or she does not take seriously enough the first and most basic duty a president has -- to protect the lives of the American people."

One of his strengths is his reputation as a straight shooter; for most of his critics, that reputation trumps another reputation as an unpredictable maverick. Like all pols, he occasionally plays politics; and like all successful pols, he occasionally plays politics well. His scrappiness seems to emanate from authenticity. Having matured in a wizened way, he occasionally seems an exile from a time before euphemism became the politically correct substitute for plain speech.


...even if you have to fake it. The Reverend Wright dust-up is devastating for Senator Obama precisely because it reveals the fakery.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 31, 2008 8:46 AM
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