I was watching a focus group on CSPAN – sponsored by AARP and conducted by Frank Luntz. I catch these now and then; I find them interesting and maddening. One ‘undecided’ was asked why Palin’s lack of experience was more troubling than Obama’s, given that he’s at the top of the ticket as opposed to her, his response was that it just was, no facts to buttress his argument.
The last time I was undecided was the Florida Governor’s race in 1976 – Graham vs. Shevin, so I just can’t relate to the ‘undecided-types.’ I’d rather have a burger with those who want to impeach Bush as opposed to ‘undecideds’ any day of the week. But watching the focus group did reinforce how personal a decision deciding what constitutes qualifications for political office is. Both on the right and left of the political spectrum, it closely correlates with whom you support. For example, I believe that Obama does not have the necessary experience to be president and I have no problem with Palin as VP. I think I could defend that over a beer, but will accept that if hypocrites had a school, this would earn me an honor roll citation.
If Obama is elected, I don’t think he would automatically be a disaster, and has an outside chance to be very good with some foreign policy luck – Supreme Court appointments aside. I did think that Sen Clinton would have been a disaster under any circumstance.
Senators McCain and Biden, as well as Gov Palin, all have children either serving or about to serve in the military, and Iraq in particular. Sen Obama has two young daughters. Having stated all that, here’s my one very personal litmus test regarding presidential qualifications — love of country:
If Obama had a son, I don’t believe that young man would ever consider military service, let alone serve during time of war.
The why I believe that is based on the following in order of importance:
- Sen. Obama’s associations with the Rev Wright and William Ayers. I do not have to ascribe their views to him to deem the fact that he would befriend them as disqualifying for someone seeking to lead our country.
- Remarks made during the campaign [Kinsley gaffe’s], from both Obama and his wife, regarding how they perceive middle-class America. I believe that those comments are more revealing than one terabyte of position papers on the campaign website.
- Personal and anecdotal experience with well-educated elites and how comfortable, or uncomfortable, they are with what constitutes loving your country. When those well-educated people are minorities, Hispanic or African-American, and real and perceived identity-politics aggrievements are included in the mix, the result is an attitude towards their country which is not as patriotic as I would want for someone serving in the office of the presidency — which I see as a privilege, not a right.
[Post-post Sept 7] – OK given that it’s at the end of the post and likely only 4 people will read this – I’m patting myself on the back. Today I read that Sen Obama ‘confessed’ that he was considering military service, but rejected the idea because we were not at war. Reread that — he doesn’t enlist because we are not at war. If he had said he considered it because we were not at war, that at least would ring true. When you combine it with the fact that this Obama-thought escaped mention in his thirty-something hyper-introspective autobiography. That makes it literally unbelievable.