Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Dukakis Moment; and Who's the Boss?

A Dukakis moment for McCain? While Barack Obama was striding around the Middle East sounding very sane and looking very presidential--and being driven by the King of Jordan himself to his O-Force One jet--Republican hopeful Senator John McCain was getting his own joyride aboard a dinky golf cart, piloted by the aging (sorry, senioring) former President Bush (the nicer one.) I couldn't help but think of the image that so diminished then-presidential hopeful Dukakis, absurdly helmeted as he played solider on that tank. McCain, with a toothy grin that never fails to strike an off-key note, also managed to look more than a little absurd, old-boyish, golf-y, superannuated, out of touch.

And talk about whiners! The best McCain and his campaign have been able to come up with in the face of the wild Obama success in the Middle East is that whiny one-liner, "he'd rather lose a war than an election." Ouch! The media, of course, can hardly wait for the Obama gaffe. They had to settle, yesterday, for his slip in saying that "Israel is Israel's best friend"--or words to that effect. Intending, of course, to say that the United States was Israel's good friend. To call the slip a gaffe is to stretch the meaning of that word. (It did give me pause to wonder, though, how my own reaction might have been different had McCain made that same slip. Would I have been jeeringly condescending, rather than easily forgiving, as I am with Obama? Perhaps. I like to think not.)

It does seem to me that Obama is maintaining remarkable equanimity in that hornet's nest. From what I can gather from news reports--and I freely admit that they are hardly to be trusted--those he meets at the very least feel listened to. What he had to say about his differences with Gen. Petraeus, greatly touted by the press, seems entirely right to me. Who IS the boss? The abject deference to this general or any other is dismaying. Should he be determining our national priorities? I think not. That he has been allowed to do so by the current occupant of the White House is an abdication of responsibility. That McCain would continue to defer to him is sufficient indication that this Republican would be equally derelict in that responsibility.

Equanimity. A good Buddhist aspiration, and one that Obama rather successfully embodies. How very different from what we have experienced in politics for the last nearly eight years. How much what is needed in the face of our current challenges. As the late John Lennon famously wrote, and as TaraDharma sagely concluded in her post yesterday: "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." To which I'd add, "I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will be as one."


Robin said...

Thanks for a wonderful wise insight of a rather complicated situation.

Dreamers or not, having a balance and harmony is definitely important

TaraDharma said...

I, too, wonder at Obama's calm center in the middle of a campaign storm. Constrast McCain who seems desperate to the a little boy peeved at someone for getting more attention!

Is Obama taking massive doses of Prozac, or is he just phenomenally well-balanced and good natured? He makes me proud to be a citizen of this country.

Thanks for the mention!