Saturday, April 12, 2008

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

When we were younger, there was no such thing as “too much of a good thing.” How could we have too much candy or ice cream? But, as we grew older, we realized that even the good things in life can backfire, and that we must try to achieve balance. We balance the good with the bad and the mundane. If we don’t, we loose sight what makes the good valuable. This election has often come to the question of experience and whose has the most and/or the best. And for me, and many other voters, it’s not the size of the experience, but the quality, that counts.

John McCain is a Cold Warrior. He came of age in a militaristic time and he was a POW in a hot war of cold war principles. He was raised to believe in idea that there are only two sides to any issues; the US versus the Soviet Union, Democracy or Communism, War or peace. This is his fatal flaw. He is simply not equipped to deal with the modern world. He has not honed his skills in discerning shades of gray, and the geopolitical situation today is anything but clearly defined. He will constantly fail, as he has already begun to do, when he tries to dilute complex issues into two sides.

I overheard a political advisor on the Bill-O circus the other day (don’t think I make a habit of watching that clown show) say that all McCain has to do to make Obama look weak on Iraq is hold his “stay the course” stance. The advisor stated that when Obama tries to explain his position, he will appear to “flip flop.” I vehemently disagree with this position (but, I encourage McCain to keep it). The longer that McCain sticks to the black and white situation, the more people will realize that he’s not equipped to deal with the complex issues facing the next president. Just as Bush has gooned everything up because of his refusal to address multi-faceted situations, McCain will be a monumental failure when he continues that policy.

And for the past two days, we’ve been shown what “experience” can give us. Obama speaks the truth about people’s opinions of Washington and points out wedge issues for what they are, and then the “experienced” politicians try to jump in and tell us that we don’t feel bitter, that we’re being condescended towards. If anything, it is condescending to tell us how we feel. If their experience has taught them anything, they would be listening to us, reading our letters and realizing that we are bitter. We don’t want to hear a pretty picture of how they will make it all better. We want someone who is willing to address the issues truthfully.

Because the world is complex, we need a president who is willing to face that reality head on (hell, we need a president who’s willing to face reality head on). No more of this doctored intelligence crap or the politicizing of every issue. We need a leader who has the mental agility to absorb many points of view while keeping the best interest of America, not his checking account, in mind.

So, McCain especially, but increasingly Clinton, have failed my experience test. Too often they have shown themselves to be entrenched in the past, stuck in their old ways. And, all I can see is that their experience will not move us forward. Their experience is only good for how things used to be, not what they are or what they will be. They have not shown themselves to be open to the change we need. McCain and Clinton are the old dogs, and right now, we need some new tricks.

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