Obama might think he’s ‘seen it all,’ but McCain’s lived it
The Star-Bulletin's precipitous (to say the least) endorsement of Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States is an absurdity, and an insult to Hawaii's voters. It reminds me of the Hollywood "actrevist" Susan Sarandon's "ready-fire-aim" endorsement during the Democratic primary: "Well, I'm going back to Obama (from Edwards). I think he stands for change and for hope and I can't wait to see what he stands for." (?)
And the Star-Bulletin's rationale for endorsing Obama? "He does not have the Washington experience that some believe is required to occupy the White House. Obama has a different kind of experience that has resulted in an extraordinary level of political insight into the culture of America and elsewhere, beginning with his birth and upbringing in Hawaii, his early childhood in Indonesia, his accomplishments at Harvard Law School and his community organizing in Chicago."
In my view, that's classic Obamatalk and now he has the Star-Bulletin doing it. Would "elsewhere" be Indonesia as a small child? Would he have gained this "extraordinary level of political insight" on the campus of Punahou? Or in the rarified air of Harvard Law academe? Or perhaps in "the toughest neighborhoods of south Chicago," as his wife, Michelle, puts it in describing the hardships and deprivations of "community organizing." "Trust me ... Barack has seen it all."
Or maybe Obama's "insight into the culture of America" came from his close friend and teacher of 20-plus years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose habitual anti-American screed from the pulpit -- "Not God bless America but God damn America!" -- obviously influenced him, and might explain his ambivalence in placing his hand over his heart during our national anthem, or choosing not to wear an American flag lapel pin (too much flak from the reverend?) until it's absence became too hard to explain. He has now severed ties with Wright, but would he have if not running for the presidency? So much for patriotic principle!
And has Barack really "seen it all"? Let's talk about the man who really has "seen it all" and the man who should have received the Star-Bulletin's endorsement, Sen. John Mc Cain.
As an eyewitness to McCain's courage, commitment and patriotism during our combined 12-year incarceration as POWs in the communist dungeons of North Vietnam, and closely following his career since then, my own love for America and concern for its future compel me to point out that John McCain is the most qualified man to lead our nation in modern history. Barack Obama, the least.
He has decades of Washington experience, which the Star-Bulletin writes off with sarcasm -- "McCain knows Washington all too well" -- totally ignoring his unequivocal and sadly unique record of bipartisanship. He is independent, and he puts country over party.
He understands that lower taxes result in higher tax revenue, stimulate the economy, create more jobs and give all Americans more spendable income.
He is for health care based upon personal accountability with a safety net for the truly needy, as opposed to an expensive, socialized system that undermines quality and availability. Ask any Canadian.
With a 22-year Navy career that included experience with America's enemy up-close-and-personal and, later, command of the Navy's largest aircraft squadron, he is imminently qualified to be our commander in chief during this time of infinite peril to our country. He is committed to nothing less than victory in Iraq, and we are seeing the beginning of that now. In his own words, "I'd rather lose an election than a war."
McCain is a known quantity; Obama might never be, at least not in time. Endorsing Obama over McCain is like taking your hungry child to the state fair and feeding him cotton candy instead of chili rice.
Jerry Coffee is a retired Naval officer, author and MidWeek columnist. He was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for more than seven years. He lives in Aiea.