Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shark for McCain

I have a column in this morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel presenting an opposing view to the paper's endorsement of Obama.

One of the things that I hinted at but couldn't develop in a 700 word op-ed is concern with a full-throated return to the idea, not only that government does the most important work in our society, but that this work can change the nature of our lives.

I quoted a line from a recent column by Michael Gerson to the effect that, if Obama is elected, the "least responsible, least respected, least popular political institution in America - the Democratic-led Congress - would also be the most emboldened." Gerson suggests that Congressional Democrats will push for "divisive measures that punish and alienate businesses, seek backward-looking political vengeance and impose cultural liberalism."

Gerson says that Obama will need to stand up to him and suggests that he might, citing Obama's identification of Reinhold Niebuhr as one of his favorite philosopher. Niebuhr, who wrote in the wake of the second world war, emphasized the fallen nature of man and the reality of evil, arguing for a Christian realism that that recognized that the kingdom of heaven cannot be realized on earth. Gerson sums this up as a theology of "conflicted humility."

The problem is that I see little of this in Obama. I have blogged in the past about concern over the grandiosity of his rhetoric and the out-sized expectations of his supporters. Some readers were upset, pointing to the allegedly modest fine print in Obama's position papers and criticizing me for suggesting that anything about Obamamania was dangerous.

I know that Obama has said that "we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate" the pain and suffering in the world. He says, nevertheless, that we shouldn't trade "bitter realism" for "naive idealism."

Well, I agree. And that's why we shouldn't think that the state can heal the world and make the waters to recede. It's why policies that emphasize collective approached centralized in the state, particularly the federal government (see,e.g., his health plan) ought to be viewed with suspicion.

But this election is, I think, about whether we are going to hang on to that suspicion.

It's possible that Obama will stand up to the Barney Franks of the world. But I don't expect it.

19 comments:

tom paine said...

I actually voted for President Bush the last two times but at some point we simply must face reality.

You very well may be correct that Obama and a Dem led Congress would be bad for America. You point out the results of the past 2 years, but are silent and seemingly oblivious to the 6 years that Bush was in the White House and the GOP controlled Congress. They led our nation into the incredible mess (in various areas) that we are now in.

Pretending that "McCain better understands the threats" is a joke. He has been part and parcel of the Washington leadership for all of Bush's reign and for decades previously.

McCain has been wrong on so many issues that even he himself has flip-flopped on at least 6 or 7 major issues.

McCain is willing to put a totally unqualifed woman a heartbeat away from thye presidency.

His campaign is littered with lobbyists, including his campaign manager.

You can quote someone named "Michael Gerson" all that you want, but I will respectfully cast my lot with Gen. Colin Powell and value his opinions more than one of President Bush's former speechwriters!

Clutch said...

So you are prepared even to deny that government and governments have often changed the nature of their citizens' lives? Is any datum too obvious to be denied, in the quest for talking points?

Anonymous said...

I think this election the democrats are even worse then they were when J. Carter ran for President.

Their whole campaign is that they don't like Bush and we're going to change from that. They don't seem to have a clue what they're changing to but we will all suffer from it. I shutter at the thought of what will come with Democrats in control of everything. They have to many commitments to the far left.

Last week I saw a reporter on the news interviewing people on the streets of why they're going to vote for McCain or Obama. Not one Obama voter had a reason and every McCain voter has a reason. The apparant blind faith of Obama supporters is that he is some type of Messiah that is beyond reason.

Our economy was the envy of the world until the democrats got control of both houses. I suppose they will take credit for a turn around if Obama gets elected. I doubt that things will improve beyond what they where before they ruined it but I think the world will see us as a less desirable place.

I do not think that Obama could beat Bush if he could have ran. I also think that Bush will go down in history as a commendable President. I think many people think this but will they vote? I guess we'll see real soon.

I liked your op-ed, it was hard to disagee with.

Anonymous said...

Bush as "commendable"? In the same sense Franklin Pierce is commendable?

No thanks. Bush and a GOP Congress had their opportunity controlling all three branches and they chose to squander it on tax cuts and international tomfoolery.

Anonymous said...

country is in the toilet thanks to the GOP (oh I forgotyou are an entitled lawyer who fled milwaukee with all the other out of touch whites in entitled ozaukee ccounty)....Mccain
no thanks.....

tom paine said...

Well, you can "shutter" about how bad Obama might be and you can pretend that Bush is a "commendable" president and that Bush could win an election but sooner or later you must face facts.

Bush is regarded so poorly that Sen. McCain has not allowed a single campaign appearance by President Commendable. This might be the first time in the history of our nation that the party of a sitting president would not allow him to show his face.

How in the world can you pretend that Bush is not a total disaster when his own party has disowned him?

And the really bad news for McCain is that no matter what he says about Bush the fact that he voted with President Bush 92% of the time will never go away.

Live with it.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives have been a disaster for the last 8 years.
Im tired of the I am a more patriotic than you because I do not question and I am better than you because I believe in Jesus......but i believe in a Jesus of corporate cronies wealth and capitalism without compassion.....oh yeah lets amend our federal constitution so its in line with the bigotry of wisconsin

Anonymous said...

What the Democratic Party is good at is breeding resentment in anyone they can. They gather a little group here and a little group there and make all these wonderful promise to change what has been the most successful country into a country in decline.

Obama supporters do not have a clue why they're voting for Obama, they have been led to resent Bush and anyone that does not agree with them. That is the only reason they're voting for him.

The Democratic Party has become the party of destroying America rather then the party of the working people. Our freedoms are in danger and we can thank the democrats for that.

tom paine said...

Quote..."Obama supporters...have been led to resent Bush"

Ummm....have you been asleep for the past 8 years? Almost anyone who has a few brain cells and has been conscious during the fiasco of the Bush/Cheney administration needs absolutley no help!

Quote..."The Democratic Party has become the party of destroying America rather then the party of the working people. Our freedoms are in danger and we can thank the democrats for that."

The financial events of the past few weeks occurred under the careful guidance of Team Bush. Osama bin-Laden himself could not have written a more perfect script if he were offered the chance. The GOP has mananaged to do more damage to our nation than any terrorist ever could have hoped to do. So you decide what party is really "damaging America" here recently.

As for "Our freedoms are in danger" virtually every independent organization has determined that President Bush has taken away more individual American freedoms than any president in our nation's history.

You certainly bring up some strange subjects to try to attack the ever evil Dems!

Anonymous said...

tp -

Are these the loss of freedoms that you’re talking about?

David and Tonia Parker from Massachusetts. David went to his son's school and explained that he wanted to opt out his kindergartner when homosexuality was being discussed. He was arrested, taken to jail, went through two trials that he lost, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case;

Elaine Huguenin is the 25-year-old photographer who was fined $7,000 by the state of New Mexico for refusing to film a lesbian "celebration";

I believe these are liberals taking away freedoms from people.

tom paine said...

Quote,

"David and Tonia Parker..."

Brilliant response. Pick out some obscure names and undocumented event and base your entire political philosphy upon it!

It would be similar to me saying: How about Joe and Mary Jones from NY who said that Bush/Cheney took away all their freedoms.

Anonymous said...

tp -

I gave two examples and surely you know how to Google.

So are you protecting all freedoms or just some that suit your purposes?

tom paine said...

The Bush administration has violated and taken away more freedoms and requested the right to violate more laws than all other admins combined.

Of course the Dems are not blameless but you are going after the wrong bad guys!

Anonymous said...

tp -

apparently you're the one trying to protect the bad guys even if you're doing it naively.

Now that you know, perhaps you should let others know as well.

tom paine said...

Anyone who cannot see that Team Bush has taken away freedoms from Americans is beyond naive.

My point was that worrying about homosexuality and lesbians is akin to getting all frothed up about fly crap in a pigpen.

Anonymous said...

tp -

In other words, you do not care about anyone’s freedom, you only care about electing Obama and will say anything to do it. You’re a real gem.

tom paine said...

Please note where I ever said that
I "do not care about anyone’s freedom" or where I "wanted" Obama elected? The posts are right in front of you and it should be easy to find. Good luck.

Is that your modus operandi...when you cannot debate or defend your position you try to put words into the mouth of others?

That is the sure sign of a weak or lame position. Perhaps you need to reconsider your views.

Anonymous said...

tp-

then answer this from before-

tp -

Are these the loss of freedoms that you’re talking about?

David and Tonia Parker from Massachusetts. David went to his son's school and explained that he wanted to opt out his kindergartner when homosexuality was being discussed. He was arrested, taken to jail, went through two trials that he lost, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case;

Elaine Huguenin is the 25-year-old photographer who was fined $7,000 by the state of New Mexico for refusing to film a lesbian "celebration";

I believe these are liberals taking away freedoms from people.

6:28 AM

tom paine said...

anonymous...6:28

Are you joking or do you not read well?

The entire (and insignificant) story about "David and Tonia Parker" and "Elaine Huguenin" contains not a single word from me!

These issues are so unimportant to me that I question the logic of anyone who would even consider them when making a choice in a presidential election.

If you are truly interested, I will be glad to let you know why they are brought up by the politicians. Please advise.