There will be some constants in the back and forth of the two Presidential nominees from now until November voting day. The Obama camp will make John McCain's age the issue and the McCain camp will make Obama's inexperience and poor judgement of advisers in his inner circle the issue. That's the facts and both campaigns are challenged to deal with it.
The challenge of the voters on either side is to take a breath and realize this is all perfectly reasonable behavior. John McCain is 71 years old now. He'll be 72 years old when he is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Age is a consideration with his candidacy. I have no problem with his age or with confidence that he will have the fortitude to carry out the demands of the job.
Barack Obama is a junior Senator from Illinois. Yet, in his brief time in the national arena, he is rated the most liberal in the U.S. Senate. That takes some doing considering his competition. And, to the voter out there in middle America, it means he is firm and unyielding in his political philosophy, despite campaigning as a new kind of post-partisan politician.
John McCain has a long history of working with both sides of the political aisle and is far from the most conservative of the ranking of the Republican Senators. It's why he is not the darling of the conservative wing of the Republican party. You may remember the flailing of arms and gnashing of teeth when he became the nominee of the party. To be labeled as the third term of Bush 43, as the Obama camp is attempting to do now, is laughable. Middle America sees through that, too.
John McCain is a pro-life, conservative, Baptist church-goer in Phoenix. Barack Obama chose a black liberation theology church on the south side of Chicago to join and launch his political career in the city. The church's minister has been called Obama's spiritual mentor, his spiritual advisor to the campaign, asked to pray with the family as he announced his candidacy for President, and then when he was known to the country through the tapes of his sermons sold at the church to the public, he was first supported by Obama, then not. But, only when Wright called Obama 'a politician' did the split occur. For those not voting for Obama, it is hard to imagine someone sitting in the church pews for at least 20 years and not to have heard what was being preached, which is very anti-white, anti-Semite, anti-America in verse, and continue to support the church with substantial (to most of us typical white people) donations from him and his wife. The extreme nature of his church mirrors the extreme nature of liberal politics.
On foreign policy, Obama is weakest. Obama was offended by McCain's assertion that Hamas has released a statement through the spokesman, that Hamas hopes Obama wins the election. Obama is running on the premise that he'll begin immediate withdrawal of the troops in Iraq, though privately his advisers say they know that is not possible. The foreign policy advisers for Obama are troubling to Republicans. One just resigned due to his association with Hamas, holding meetings as an advisor to Hamas for a think tank with which he works. Robert Malley is working for International Crisis Group and that does not bode well for the Obama campaign. By John McCain using the quote of support from Hamas, the smear charge is discredited. It is not a personal attack, it is a quote. Period.
And, when Obama jumped into jawboning about the situation in Lebanon, he was soundly criticized by bloggers in the region. Obama's statement was posted on nowlebanon.com . Soon after on the blog From Beirut to the Beltway, Obama was mocked for stating he will use diplomacy instead of what he calls Bush's failed policies in the region.
As Europe continues to swing back to the conservative side of the political landscape, as they continue to elect leaders very supportive of President Bush and America in general, it is rather ironic that statements are being made that Obama, if elected, would be much more liberal than the new leadership in countries like France, England, Germany, Serbia, Italy. The tide has turned. Surrendering to terror is not an option. Talking to lunatics and expecting them to act as civil human beings is absurd.
And the age issue? When Obama made the statement that he'd been to 57 states and still had one to go, well, imagine what the headlines would have shouted if McCain had made that flub. But, since it is the candidate of the media, no big deal. He's just tired. For McCain it would have been senility.
A good blog for keeping up with the middle east is Rantings of a Sandmonkey. It's an Egyptian blog and has done some live blogging style posting during the recent upheaval in Lebanon.