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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Exploiting the Patriotism Gap

A few months back I wrote a piece that analyzed what I believe is John McCain's biggest strength over Barack Obama. I didn't use this term at the time but I will refer to it now as the patriotism gap. In essence, patriotism is the ultimate qualification for the Presidency. The President is the head patriot. The job of the Presidency demands that he defend this nation against all comers. Now, normally, the issue of patriotism is largely irrelevant in the campaign because we assume that any candidate running for President is a supreme patriot. On most levels, we certainly have two patriots running for the office. On the other hand, patriotism is not pass fail. In other words, there are patriots and there are patriots.

I don't remember a time ever in history in which the gap in patriotism credentials was so large and obvious as the gap between John McCain and Barack Obama. Barack Obama is well aware of potential problems that his lack of patriotism may bring and so the last week has been spent addressing those issues in speeches. That said, no amount of speeches or references will make up for this reality: John McCain is a patriot of unique and unprecendented proportions, and Barack Obama is a patriot on the level of most of the public.

Let's examine the resumes again. John McCain enrolled in the Naval Academy when he was 18. Upon graduation he immediately went to war. He got shot down and spent nearly six years as a POW. He endured torture and he refused early release. Upon returning to the States he served several more years in the Navy, and then spent the rest of his life in public service. He continues to be a public servant into his seventies.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, spent twenty years in an anti American church and never once confronted his anti American pastor to defend his nation.

We know that John McCain will stand up to all comers in defense of this nation because that's what he has been doing since he was eighteen. As for Barack Obama, on the other hand, how can we count on him to stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in defense of this nation if he didn't even stand up to his pastor?

That is the startling difference in patriotism we have. One candidate endured tortured in defense of his nation, and the other candidate couldn't even challenge his pastor's verbal assaults in defense of this nation. Again I ask, which of the two sounds like he would make the better President?

Again, the Democrats nimwitted idea of attacking McCain's military credentials opens the door for McCain to exploit (and yes this is a provocative and likely poor choice of words) the patriotism gap. His military service is one piece of a larger puzzle of an individual that sees public service as the highest honor. He isn't running for President to achieve some deep seeded ambition. He is running for President because being President is the natural extension of a lifetime of public service. In fact, John McCain has done nothing but serve the public since he was 18 years old. He has served that public honorably, ably, and heroically, and he has been serving that public for longer than his opponent has been breathing.

His opponent, on the other hand, is running for President to fulfill a long standing ambition. He is running on the arrogant, narcissistic, and messianic like belief that only he can save this country from itself. This quote epitomizes who Barack Obama is and how he sees the race.

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

John McCain is far too humble to ever believe that he alone could feed the sick, give health care to the helpless, lower the rise of oceans. Barack Obama has no such trouble believing it. Barack Obama is running for President because he sees himself as the only person that can cure America of its ills.

John McCain is running for President because he loves his country so much that public service is the only thing he knows. He has served the public for so long that the only thing left that he hasn't done to serve the public is being the President. By countering attacks on his military record, John McCain, by extension, also opens up a dialogue on his biggest strength over Barack Obama, the patriotism gap. McCain has been far too passive, in my opinion, in pointing out his enormous patriotism and history of public service. The broad side attack on his military record is just such an opportunity and I hope he takes it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said!