Monday, May 26, 2008

Obama Inoculates Against His Choice Not to Serve

Today, Obama and his confederates in the mass media are busily at work trying to refocus voters' attention from the fact that, although he is a healthy, strapping physical specimen, Obama has never served five minutes in the military. National Guardsmen Dan Quayle and George W. Bush are grizzled warriors by comparison. When it comes to military bona fides, Obama takes his place with the much-deferred Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and college cheerleader Trent Lott.

This presents some difficulties on Memorial Day weekend, as he attempts to hold his own against Republican candidate John McCain, Vietnam War hero, prisoner of war and U.S.S. Forrestal survivor. But Obama has made the best of a bad situation, putting McCain on the defensive for voting against a liberalized G.I. Bill that would have reduced military retention rates by an estimated 18 percent during a manpower crisis in the voluntary force in time of war. Adult supervision often presents a fat, immobile target.

Obama also appealed to military veterans and pro-military voters by promising that he will have a policy of "zero tolerance" for homelessness among veterans. Oh, really? Is he going to prohibit mental illness? Is he going to immunize veterans against all criminal prosecution? Maybe Montel's RV will be stocking Obama's magic "change" pill to prevent all drug abuse and alcoholism among veterans?

I wonder if Obama realizes how many veterans there are in this country? He's making promises to an awful lot of people. There probably weren't a whole lot of veterans going into "community organizing" back in Chicago, so we ought to forgive him if he has miscalculated.

JFK didn't need to out-promise his opponent, partly because his own World War II resume was so strong. He was the hero of PT 109, and suffered a back injury in action against the Japanese that pained him for the rest of his life. His opponent Richard Nixon was, like JFK, a WWII Navy veteran of the Pacific theater. The poker-playing supply officer Nixon had, admittedly, been more of a Sergeant Bilko figure than combat hero. But he and Kennedy shared the same basic worldview.

Obama has no such luxury. The contest between Obama and his opponent is often the difference between two starkly contrasting worldviews. McCain and his constituency self-identify as citizens of a grand and exceptional nation whereas early Obama supporters, upon honest reflection, would more likely identify themselves as citizens of the world. Now Obama must broaden his base. He must reach out to the people largely despised by his core supporters - he must appeal to voters who feel blessed, not embarrassed, to be American.

The pattern for Obama is that wherever he is weak, he promises more extravagantly. He knows next to nothing about international diplomacy and geo-political strategy; he promises a new era of friendship and world peace. He is clueless about economics; he promises to halt outsourcing, excessive corporate profits and capital flight, and to restore good manufacturing jobs. On health issues, he is slightly better informed, and his positions are accordingly more nuanced, more responsible than Hillary Clinton's.

This would seem to suggest that we have picked Obama before he was ripe. He may be a wise statesman twenty years from now, but we are locking him into snap judgments that we demand of him while he is yet very green, and it's going to be an ugly scene next year or the next when his various parasitical constituencies demand that he make good on his absurd promises. He will either have to break his promises, or dispossess innocent bystanders to satisfy his stalwart supporters and enforcers.

If he chooses the latter course, he will eventually learn the lessons of Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe: you can kill the goose that lays the golden egg, but you can only kill it once.