August 28, 2008
I can?t say that I ever felt much warmth for either John McCain or Barack Obama. The first struck me as a burned-out Senate seat-warmer (term limits! oh please, term limits!) who had shown outstanding courage as a young warrior but considerable wrong-headedness as a politician ? a category of persons with which history has, after all, been well supplied. Obama I have never seen as anything but a bag of wind, possessed of great political guile, but steeped in the faddy, solipsistic notions of post-1960s college leftism.
That these two men are much worse than I thought only became apparent to me at the Saddleback interviews conducted by Baptist minister Rick Warren in front of 5,000 of his parishioners. Here the truth came out. These are not merely two different specimens of mediocrity, as is usual in presidential campaigns; they are two different specimens of love-the-world romantic fantasist.
Perhaps there is at least ? I am clutching at straws, dear reader ? some tiny element of choice in the fact that McCain and Obama are methodologically different in their desires to spend as much of America?s resources as they can get their hands on to lift up foreign peoples in foreign places. In accordance with their youthful experiences, McCain sees the task in warlike terms: ?evil must be defeated.? To Obama it?s more a matter of community organizing: ?building public health infrastructure around the world.?
Both men are determined to set this planet to rights, though, and hang the cost. Doesn?t the United States have infinite resources? Of course it does. Eliminator of All Evil, or Welfare Agency to the World; Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper or Albert Schweizer; you just have to choose. Can we afford it? Yes, we can! (That faint sound you hear? That?s the clink-clink of devaluing dollars ? just ignore it.)
One hardly knows where to start with this gibberish. With eliminating evil, perhaps.
Warren: How about the issue of evil? ? Does evil exist and if so, should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it or defeat it?
McCain: Defeat it. ? Of course evil must be defeated ?
Warren didn?t raise a peep. This is a Christian church? Hasn?t anybody present heard of original sin? The only way to eliminate evil is to eliminate the human race. I wouldn?t rule out the possibility that McCain?s policies will have that result, but if it?s the result he intends, he ought to tell us.
Warren: There are 148 million orphans in the world, 148 million kids growing up without Mommies and Dads. ? Would you be willing to consider and even commit to doing some kind of emergency plan for orphans like President Bush did with AIDS?
Obama: I think it?s a great idea. ? I think that part of our plan though has to be how do we prevent more orphans in the first place and that means that we?re helping to build the public health infrastructure around the world ?
Heaven forbid that people in Nigeria, Nauru, Norway, or Nicaragua should build their own clinics and hospitals, without any help from Uncle Sam and his limitless bounty! Heaven forbid they should take care of their own orphans, and we of ours!
But then, as John McCain says: ?America?s greatest moral failure has been, throughout our existence, perhaps we have not devoted ourselves to causes greater than our self-interest.? Except, of course, that nations are supposed to devote themselves to their self-interest, and to nothing else. That?s what sane people want their nation to do. That?s what all the other nations of the world do do.
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