Friday, October 17, 2008

Washington Post Endorses Obama

Not surprisingly, the Washington Post has endorsed Barack Obama for President. What is interesting, however, is some of the language they used in the endorsement. The Post wrote: "THE NOMINATING process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates. There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president."

"The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president."

The most important decision a Presidential nominee makes during his campaign is the choice of a running mate. These decisions are many times based on balancing the ticket either geographically or politically or to fill a perceived weakness of the Presidential nominee. In 1960, John Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, in large part, because Kennedy was from Massachusetts and Johnson was from the South (Texas.) In 1980, Ronald Reagan picked George H.W. Bush, in large part, because Bush was from the now defunct moderate wing of the Republican Party. Many Americans in 1980 feared that Reagan was too conservative.

In 1992, Bill Clinton picked longtime Washington pol Al Gore, because he felt he needed someone with Washington experience. George W. Bush picked Cheney (actually Cheney picked himself,) because he also wanted someone who knew his way around Washington.

In all of these cases, few if any questioned the ability of any of these first mates to take the helm at the ship of state. Johnson was majority leader of the US Senate, Bush, Sr. was a Congressman, head of the CIA, Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to China, and Director of the CIA. Al Gore was a four term Congressman and an eight year US Senator. Dick Cheney (love him or hate him) was White House Chief of Staff, six term Congressman, the minority Whip in the House, and Secretary of Defense.

When it came to choosing a running mate for John McCain he passed over a number of candidates. Candidate Number 1: Mitt Romney (longtime successful business leader, 4 year Governor of a moderately large state, and CEO of the 2002 Olympics). Candidate Number 2: Tom Ridge (six term House member, two term Governor of a large state, and Secretary of Homeland Security). Candidate Number 3: Joe Lieberman (four term US Senator and foreign policy maven). There are others.

McCain went with this resume. 1 semester Hawaii Pacific University, 2 semesters North Idaho College, 2 semesters University of Idaho, 1 semester Matanuska-Susitna College, 3 semester and a BA in journalism University of Idaho, four years as councilwoman in town of 5,000 people, six years as mayor of that same town, and 20 months as Governor of the 4th least populous state.

For all her charm and her ability to energize the base, can anyone truly say that Sarah Palin is qualified to lead this country. Palin got the job of running mate, because she talked the conservative talk. The Palin pick speaks volumes on John McCain's judgment. Politics over Competence. If McCain picks the person for second highest office in the land using this criteria, can we really be confident that his will value competence over politics on Cabinet selections and Supreme Court nominees.

We had eight years of "Politics over Competence" Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, Michael Brown to head FEMA, Harriet Myers as a Supreme Court nominee (later withdrawn), Monica Goodling as White House liaison to the Department of Justice are just a few examples of George W. Bush's rewarding of loyalty and political ideology over competence.

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