Monday, September 01, 2008

Strike Up The Band. Cue The Jets For The Fly-Over. Here We Go Again.

I like reading Bill Kristol early in the day, before eating or drinking, so that when the bile rises, as it inevitably does, there is less of it.

But today I am happy with Kristol's New York Times op-ed piece, and I'll tell you why. Here is the salient paragraph:

The Palin pick already, as Noemie Emery wrote, “Wipes out the image of McCain as the crotchety elder and brings back that of the fly-boy and gambler, which is much more appealing, and the genuine person.” But of course McCain needs Palin to do well to prove he’s a shrewd and prescient gambler.

If my instincts are right, the American electorate has had it up to here with choosing fly-boys and gamblers for president. Knowledge, experience, and maturity have redeemed themselves fabulously in eight short years. If John McCain is worried enough about being perceived as an out-of-touch "crotchety elder" to exchange that persona for one of a reckless and impulsive fighter-jock, it makes the case against electing him that much stronger.

In 2000, Al Gore was the known quantity, the policy wonk, the Washington insider with decades of legislative experience. George W. Bush was the gutsy, daring, "outside the beltway" choice.

Today most Americans wish Gore had fought more forcefully for the office the people chose him for. We know deep down that he would not have staffed the government with unqualified, know-nothing cronies or thumbed his nose at longstanding allies and the United Nations. Many believe that a Gore administration would have gone after Al Qaeda on day one, and the 9/11 attacks would likely not have happened at all. There is more than enough evidence to suggest this.

Most importantly, Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq.

It seems the height of stupidity for Mr. Kristol, and Senator McCain, for that matter, to remind us of gutsy, risk-taking fighter pilots, of President Bush standing before that highly-orchestrated backdrop of a navy battleship at dusk, in full battle gear, proclaiming, "mission accomplished" in Iraq.

Today's Republican neo-conservatives, tasting their own blood in the 2008 electoral waters, somehow seem compelled to remind us of better days, when another gambling fly-boy's shameful and disgraceful jaunt into make-believe leadership had yet to be exposed.

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