Warning: Presidential Politics

Occasionally, I have to post things when answering the same question one person at a time starts to wear on me.  So this post is about the Presidential election, read at your own risk, but there’s no danger of being offended, I don’t think, regardless of your persuasion on the issue.

Up front, I don’t think Barack Obama is the spawn of Satan’s bowels. But he is a persistently liberal
senator with almost zero significant real-life experience. I grew up around
Capitol Hill in DC and I have run a Presidential campaign. I know
some of these people personally. I don’t think Democrats are scum
and Republicans are angels, I have no truck with political talk
shows (they make me tired), and I left national politics because there
wasn’t much place for a guy like me. I just couldn’t hate people
hard enough. So take this for what it’s worth.

More than anything else, this is what the election comes down to
for me:

McCain and Palin have both – BOTH of them – done hard jobs in
obscure places for practically no compensation. They have some
actual experience with the world that most people in the country
live in, and McCain has some experience with the worst the world
has to offer. Both of them are real people. They have problems, and
they make mistakes. Palin is the better of the two, mostly because
she’s been a real person more recently, and her political career
consists of hard battles against corrupt rich people who still hate
her and want her drowned in the Bering Strait. But I also can’t
find it in my heart to dismiss a guy that set his own broken arms
in a POW prison camp.

Obama and Biden, by glaring contrast, have ZERO relatable
experience in the real world. Neither has ever had a paying job of
recognizable substance outside of the government. Biden, for his
part, became a Senator almost 40 years ago, and his greatest moment
in the sun came when, while getting nine votes as a Presidential
candidate, he openly plagiarized Neil Kinnock in a campaign speech.
He has spent almost two-thirds of his live as a US Senator, and
never had a job. Obama’s private-sector experience is smaller than
my 16-year-old son’s. Neither of these men have any inkling what it
is like to be a real person. And they are both perfect – well,
Biden says silly things occasionally, but aren’t those just lovable
personality quirks?

I don’t know Obama personally, but I do know Biden. He is and
always has been mostly about himself. He’s never had to work for a
living and is perfectly comfortable stealing other people’s ideas,
work, speeches, what have you if he has a need for it, on the
perfect justification that he’s important. Obama appears to me to
be the personification of the entitlement class, able to get ahead
mainly on the shoulders of others without proving in any serious
way that he’s got substance. He became Senator through the
implosion of the GOP in Illinois (their candidate, after he got the
nomination, was caught in a sex scandal). He’s had patronage and
shelter every step of the way in his political life. Although he
has rhetorical gifts, he has never used those gifts to take a tough
stand on any issue, never proposed a controversial bill – or even
held HEARINGS on one – never authored a paper on anything
moderately unpopular. His major contribution to American political
thought is a book about hope.

I would hire him. But I wouldn’t put him on my City Council. And I
wouldn’t hire Biden to walk my dog, and that’s personal experience
talking. I wouldn’t hire McCain, but if I didn’t, he’d have a
competing shop open across the street in two weeks. I’d hire Palin
in a heartbeat, but in two weeks she’d have MY job.

That’s where it is for me.

We talk a lot in this country about how we want our leaders to
listen to the little guy, to care what happens to the average Joe,
to have respect for regular folks. Then we elect people who have
never had to pay their mortgage by phone on the very last day of
the month and wonder why they seem so tone-deaf. But how could they
hear us? They don’t live in this country. They don’t speak the same
language we do.

We can debate political philosophy all day, and I like doing that
more than most. None of these candidates – with the possible (but
unprovable) exception of Sarah Palin – come anywhere near my idea
of what is right and proper for government to be doing. So I chuck
that. What I’d settle for is someone that once had something really
hard to do, and did it the best he could. Not emotionally hard -
being black in this country is hard, and burying your wife is
excruciating – but “you’re going to hate me for this but I’m going
to do it because it’s the right thing to do” hard. One pair has
that. One has not.

I guess the word for me is “courage”. McCain and Palin have
courage, proven and demonstrated over and over. Obama may have it,
too, but how would we know? And Biden does not. Seems to me, this
is a time for courage. So I’m voting for that. It’s little enough,
but it’s something.

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