25 April 2008

The candidate of all the people

That’s what John McCain – bless his heart – wants to be in this election. It is also the reason for his aforementioned swipe at the North Carolina Republican Party. That’s the sort of thing that sounds good, really, really good. Sweet, even. I think I feel my eyes tearing up. (No, just threw up in my mouth.) But it’s also the sort of thing that means he will ultimately stand for little else than getting elected.

Don’t get me wrong. Like Senator McCain, I too have a pipe dream: I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony Or, alternatively, buy it a Coke. (It’s the real thing.)

One really cannot be a candidate for all of the people where, apparently, being that type of candidate means pleasing all the people all the time. (Or perhaps McCain’s real desire is to be the candidate of all the correct people.) It’s very simple: You have positions or you don’t. If you do, what are they? And why do you think your positions accord with wisdom? And in contemporary politics those positions will be either to the right or to the left of center, the only question being how far from center one is.

Besides, there really is a difference between being President of the United States (i.e., President of that union of states which was formed by the states) and being president of all the people (there is no such office). The key is not to convince people that you can be a candidate pleasing to all of them; that’s impossible. The key is to stake out those positions – whether of the Left of the Right, preferably not both (as if political positions were like items at a buffet!) – and convince as many of the people as possible that those positions are wise, not popular, not easy – but wise and (here’s something new) constitutional. (Let’s face it: President Bush is not the only one who – arguably – doesn’t care what the constitution permits or doesn’t permit.)

Wherever Obama’s loyalties ultimately are, I agree with Arnold Ahlert:

Mr. Obama is not running for college president on some lunatic left-wing campus…. He’s running for the most powerful office in the world, and the public ought to be well acquainted with the company he’s kept and keeping–loud and often.

[…]

This is one American who’s damn tired of a Republican candidate for president who thinks going toe-to-toe with two irredeemable socialists is “unseemly.” Better to “disrespect” them than that part of the American electorate–hopefully a majority–which yearns to see a Republican show a little backbone. Nothing is more “hardball” than a presidential election.

“Man up,” Mr. McCain.
What concerns me about Obama is that he seems not to understand federalism. He thinks that Senator McCain’s inability to get the NCRP to pull the ad is indicative of his leadership ability. Ostensibly, Obama does not know that in our federal system there are national politics and state politics. Since it's really none of his business how state parties conduct their affairs, he may object all he wants, but he has no leadership authority over those parties. McCain may be the presumptive leader of the Republican Party, but he’s not the Party dictator – neither at the national lever nor (certainly!) at the state level.

0 comments:

About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
View my complete profile

Blog Archive

Capitalism