National Commentary

McCain Hijacks Obama’s ‘Change’ Theme




WASHINGTON – The American people will have a clear choice in the Nov. 4 presidential election, now that both parties have picked their candidates.

The choice is between Republican John McCain – once a “maverick” but now a conservative turncoat pandering to the evangelical right-wing of his party – and Democrat Barack Obama – a liberal and the first black person to win the presidential nomination of a major political party.

McCain has, incredibly, tried to hijack Obama’s slogan – “change.” This is an audacious McCain tactic that tries to separate him from President Bush, most of whose policies McCain has solidly supported for the past eight years.

At last week’s Republican national convention, McCain departed from his previous practice of keeping silent about his excruciating POW experience during the Vietnam War in order to express his support for Bush’s duplicitous policies in conducting the war against Iraq. At this point, McCain has flip-flopped on so many issues, one wonders if he has any steadfast principles.

I liked his impassioned statement that he hates war, but he is the militant hawk who said the Iraq War could last 100 years. And, of course, McCain has got to be kidding when he tries to portray himself as running against “Washington,” whatever that means. He has spent 26 years in the nation’s capital and has accrued a record that is hardly unblemished.

Now we come to McCain’s stunning selection of Alaska’s governor Sarah Palin, a vastly unprepared politician, to be his running mate. Her political views are to the far right. She supports the National Rifle Association, the teaching of creationism side-by-side with evolution, rejects women’s’ rights to reproductive choice, and promotes abstinence above sex education in schools.

There is an official inquiry underway in Alaska looking into Palin’s drive to fire a state safety commissioner after he refused to fire her former brother-in-law, a state trooper who was in a messy custody fight with her sister. She also put pressure on a librarian in Wassila – where she was mayor – to censor some books, but happily the librarian stood her ground and refused to do so.

The fact that 72-year-old McCain knew so little about Palin before selecting her for the Republican ticket calls into question his judgment. Palin would be a real amateur if she succeeded to the presidency, especially in foreign and domestic policies. McCain obviously thinks anyone can be president.So when McCain speak of “change,” it represents a giant step backwards. The Republican ticket offers no solutions to the Iraq war – the war without end. McCain, who once called Christian conservatives the “agents of intolerance,” truly made a strange choice for his running mate in view The new occupant of the White House – Obama or McCain – will face problems of rising unemployment and more expensive fuel, food, and health care. There is the disastrous increase in home foreclosures, a collapsing infrastructure and numerous educational challenges at all levels.

The Democrats do not have a quick and easy solution for all these national troubles, but they are framing sound policies, including higher taxes on wealthy individuals and moving toward universal health care.

American voters who choose the Republican ticket will be dooming the nation to more of the same failed Bush Administration.

Haven’t we had enough?

(c) 2008 Hearst Newspapers

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