July 3, 2008
Obama Vs. McCain: The Wisdom FactorBy Kyle-Anne Shiver
As an over-50, female Boomer, I have watched, with terrific amusement, Barack Obama's arrogant strutting of his stuff on the campaign stump. He reminds me of a young bull, all pumped up with pride, ready to charge with lightning speed, not too sure where his target is, but fired up and ready to ram it down wherever his raging eye lands next.
And near about every time our young, studly bull, Barack, makes one of his unscripted charges, he tends to land in a big pile of rhetorical manure. Some folks call these "gaffes." Others call them something a bit more smelly. That's Barack, all right, a young bull blinded by his own strength.
Then, there's my man, McCain.
He's the older, wiser bull in this contest.
Been around, he has. Been around enough to know better than to go charging -- without thinking first.
Rarely do I repeat any of my husband's good-ole-boy humor, at least not in public, but he told me a good one recently that seems oh-so-appropriate to this campaign we've got going. So, I'll bend my rule and clean it up a bit for mixed company.
Two bulls are grazing at the top of a country hill, one young, the other getting on up there, way up there in bull-years. The two bulls are gazing down the hill at a whole herd of heifers, a mighty tempting sight to a couple of studly bulls.
Young bull says to the old guy: "Hey! Let's charge down there and sow a few oats with one of those heifers. I see one that looks like real easy picking's. Real easy."
The young bull is so full of himself now, stamping those itchy hooves, can't wait to start his charge.
Old bull is still just grazing, idly giving the young bull a wise, shrewd eyeful.
Old bull to young bull: "What you say we just mosey on down this hill, take our own sweet time, and sow some oats with every last one of ‘em."
Now, things like foreign policy and meeting with terrorist dictators is quite a bit trickier than "sowing oats" with sweet young females, and I do believe, dear readers, that you get my drift here.
Two Young Bulls: Barack and Jack
A lot of folks are comparing Barack to JFK, another young guy who captured the imagination of America.
I was ten years old that year, 1960, already more than a little interested in politics, and the grown-up conversations that inevitably centered around the contest between the young, handsome, well-connected John Kennedy and the old grouch, Richard Nixon. I still remember that televised debate and how my mother reacted, mesmerized by the young bull, while my father lamented the 19th Amendment.
The two things I do remember so vividly about Kennedy's presidency, besides the horror of his assassination, were the fact that my mother secretly told me she voted for him (in spite of my father's insistence that she not) and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The movie, later made about the crisis, Thirteen Days, paints a decent portrait of how the young Kennedy brothers managed to finagle our way out of the threatened nuclear standoff with the USSR, but says nearly nothing about how we got into such a horrific mess in the first place.
Young bull, Jack Kennedy, was no more shy about his campaign pledge to "negotiate" than is Barack Obama today. Jack Kennedy seemed to think the USSR was going to be easy picking's for his smooth-as-silk oratory. One of the most memorable, rhetorical bits from Kennedy's inaugural address was this beautifully delivered nugget:
And, though it is sad to say, John Kennedy actually knew a great deal more about failed efforts in the realm of "talking" to our enemies (Kennedy's thesis was entitled, "Appeasement at Munich.") than does Barack Obama. Kennedy also had military experience, actual combat experience in WWII. Still, he made a crucial blunder in his very first year that, even though nuclear war was averted, nevertheless caused enormous setbacks to the free world and emboldened our strongest enemy, the USSR.
Even though the disastrous (for the U.S.) meeting between Kennedy and Khrushchev was, at the time, not given full disclosure in the press, details have been brought to light since that make it downright ludicrous for Barack Obama, Columbia and Harvard grad, to connect his own foreign policy illusions to those of JFK.
When even the New York Times deems the comparison foolhardy, you can take it to the bank. As this editorial reminds us, "Kennedy Talked, Khrushchev Triumphed." The young bull, Kennedy, remarked after the meeting, "He beat the hell out of me," he being the old bull, Khrushchev. The NYT called the face-to-face meeting "a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age."
Not only did the Soviets, almost immediately, begin building the Berlin Wall, which arrogantly and cruelly separated families, friends and lovers for more than a generation, they started their fateful buildup of nuclear weapons right in our own backyard, Cuba, thus setting the infamous Thirteen Days into motion, and nearly causing an somewhat premature defeat in the Cold War to the most ruthless, bloodthirsty regime in modern history, the United Soviet Socialist Republic.
So much for young bulls in the theatre of national security.
I thought I might lose my lunch in May, when Barack Obama told a group of enthralled voters in Oregon that the "tiny Country" Iran, isn't a threat to America. For a man with all those fancy college degrees, he doesn't seem to know much. No wonder European leaders are beginning to get nervous about Obama's prospects of success, and no wonder, too, that the IslamoFascists are salivating over the same prospect..
Young bull, Barack, though, isn't a bit ready to back down on his pledge to meet with all of our enemies without pre-conditions, face-to-face, within the first year of his presidency. He has even countered objections to his naiveté, comparing himself to Kennedy again:
Now, I don't know what you're thinking, dear readers, but the word, "brilliant," is not what comes to my mind, when hearing this.
Old Bull, McCain
John McCain's response to Obama's apparent diplomatic delusions concerning our enemies, especially Iran, was pretty darned swift for an old bull. First, he gave a succinct, but searing summation of the numerous threats posed by Iran under the current regime, giving special note to the fact that Iran's president routinely defames Israel as a "stinking corpse," and demands her annihilation.
Then McCain proceeded to remind the young bull, Obama, of the supreme challenge we face in the world today, namely keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorist regimes. Since Iran publicly defies the world community on a regular basis by steadfastly refusing to give up these nuclear ambitions, and since Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, McCain eloquently charged that the threat posed by the Iranians is "anything but tiny."
Not bad for an old bull. Wisdom often keeps one's feet out of the figurative manure, and helps one to set his sights on the greater objective.
Fighting a real war against real enemies, and then being imprisoned by those enemies for five years and suffering the substantial after effects for a lifetime, has made John McCain, I surmise, much, much more mindful of the perils of speaking without thinking, and mindful too of the need for extensive "pre-conditions" before offering the international prestige of our Presidency to a little tyrant, intent upon using our good will against us.
McCain, in his remarks aimed at Obama's Iranian tomfoolery, also ticked off the reasons why the young bull's approach would bring some dire consequences to the interest of peace.
By the time November 4 rolls around, I suspect that nearly all voters over the age of 30, save the most leftist among us, will decide that competence and wisdom trump fancy-footwork oratory. We've all seen the bravado of young bulls here and there, throughout our lifetimes, and some get along on words and strutting for quite a while, but we all know too, that sooner or later every single one of those young ‘uns gets a mighty humbling comeuppance, usually at the hands of an older and wiser, tougher-than-nails bull, like John McCain.
As for me, bearing in mind what happened during those scary Thirteen Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I would much rather Obama get his comeuppance from John McCain in a bloodless election, than from Ahmadinejad in a nuclear showdown.
Healthy respect and learning from historical mistakes is one of the hallmarks of maturity. It isn't fear; it's wisdom.
It's 3 a.m. in the White House. Who do we want picking up that phone?
Definitely, McCain. Some changes, we're far, far, far, far better off without.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver.com/.