A heartbeat away
by johnny venom, Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 11:09:50 AM EDT
Today we saw who John Airbus McCain picked for as his Vice Presidential candidate. The selection of Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin effectively negates further discussion about Barack's so-called lack of experience. The talking heads are say that at the end of the day it's who is at the top of the ticket that folks will be voting for. That is true, but I think that misses something very important.
We are living in an era where really anything can happen. Almost a decade ago if one were to tell me that two planes would slam into the World Trade Center on purpose, I would have scoffed at the idea. If one were to tell me that such an inept person as George W. Bush would be elected, and then proving to be such a failure but to be rewarded again with the job, implausible I figured. Almost a decade ago, watching this government slowly pay down the debt and build up its financial reserves, to witness the collapse of such fiduciary responsibilities would have seemed unthinkable.
But it is the unthinkable that we, as voters must start to take into consideration. The office of the Vice Presidency has taken on a new dimension with the ascension of Dick Cheney. Cheney has turned a once laughable position into something of real power; some say he instead of Bush has been running the government all this time. Whether we hate him (like I do) or not, the office that monster inhabits has changed, possibly permanently. It is with this new reality, that voters really should see who the other on the ticket is.
This brings us back to today and thinking the unthinkable. I suspect you know by now where I am heading with this. Death or incapacitation , obviously, could come to any of us at any time. But the two in question, the circumstances, heaven forbid, are somewhat unique.
John McCain, what with his age, faces a host of possible debilitations that could afflict him. The man may have gotten a good bill of health from his doctors, but that still doesn't mean that age-related illnesses could hinder him. Reagan started suffering from Alzheimers towards his second administration, and there is speculation that he was not in charge during this time. What if this were to occur again? McCain has a temper that is widely known. Anything has been known to set him off The office of the presidency will not really cater to his whims and he is bound to find similar dissapointments that brought about his anger in the past. What if such an episode brings on a heart attack? Absent of that, what about the state of his mental faculties? Senelity and other such things could quietly develop as he is in office.
For Barack Obama, this one is a real pain in my heart to write. We is in good shape, but you just never know. I had a friend, fit as can be and probably was at the gym more than Barack! But one day he simply dropped dead from a bursted vein in his head. What really pains me and saddens me is another possibility. In the past, America has seen some great men taken away from us because the actions of a madman. Lincoln, JFK, Robert Kennedy, all stolen from us. You know, I wish I didn't have to type this, I wish I could say that a President Barack will be with us for 8 years in Office and more as a statesmen. But I'm a student of history, and there are people in this country, evil terrible people who have other plans. Forgive me for bringing this up, trust me it was not such a thing I wanted to type. But, as a nation, we must prepare for such a horrible tragedy.
After that horrible moment
We as progressives look towards the future. We know and understand that what we do today will affect tomorrow. This is why we make better environmentalists than folks like Rush Limbaugh, because as open-minded folks we are willing to look at all possibilities. Some of the possibilities that we ponder on are often grim and terrible. But it is the reality of the situation that makes us proceed with the proper choices. The vice presidency, or the choice of such is also one of those things.
Do not think that Barack hasn't thought about what I've brought up. He is a man of the world, he is a realist, which is one of the reasons why he should be president. It is also one of the reasons he picked Joe Biden. Actually, Hillary and many other seasoned Democrats could also fill that role, but it is the great Senator of Delaware who is our Veep. Democrats know tragedy, and they know continuation of government. Unfortunately this is not something Republicans, despite their bluster about national security, seem to truly grasp.
Should John McCain win, and equally unfortunate, should something befall onto him that causes the 25th Amendment to take into effect, we as a nation would be in trouble. I truly believe that Sarah Palin would not be fit to replace McCain, should such an unfortunate turn of events occur. Palin's character may be good, but it is her abilities to run the most powerful office in the land that I question. Being mayor of a town of six thousand people, and then governor shy less than 2 years, and being President of the United States are completely different things. Indeed, this speaks volumes on the irrisponsibility of John McCain as it does his lack of foresight.
What a vice president needs
A vice president must be able to understand and deal with foreign policy. The US is currently engaged in two major military operations in Asia. There is the possibility of a confritation with Iran, or at least dealing with a possible fallout should the Israelis make some sort of strike. North Korea could act up again, already they are hesitating with their promises. The relation with Russia is also deteriating, and the next vice president must be able to handle folks like Putin; something that requires the Russian president to actually take that VP as a serious leader. The next vice president must be able to go toe to toe with foreign leaders. She or he must be an able negotiator and not a unilateralist.
The economy is melting down, from our banking system to our industrial base. Today the news reported a cutback on consumer spending, more evidence that the average American is facing a cash crunch. A vice president needsd to know what to do, or at least organize those who do. Which of the two VP candidates could handle trade deals such as another Doha Round? Who could handle the WTO?
Then there is the environment. A vice president must be an ardent promoter of new alternative means for energy, because it is here that will serve as building block to less pollution. Our natural resources are dwindling, fresh water is fast becoming the new "oil" if you know what I mean. Alternative energy must mean more than alernative drilling sites! What if some sort of environmental calamity strike us? Which of these two can handle the situation?
Finally, there is the social policy front here at home. A vice president must be able to coordinate efforts towards universal healthcare. A VP must be able to handle civil rights issues like same-sex marriage. The next Vice President must be able to deal with social security and the elderly and the disable. The list goes on and on for this one, but you get the idea.
Because of lack of investment, responcibility, and foresight, the next administration will have a much bigger task at hand. Indeed, the work ahead could just about be compared to the situation that Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced. So with all this in mind, we must demand that our next Vice President be able to meet these challenges.
The two veeps
Once again, I'm just taken aback at McCain's decision. His choice was more a pander to get the women's vote and appease the social conservatives in his party. I'm sure Sarah Palin is a good person, but she isn't fit to be vice president, let alone president. I truly believe, that should she become Commander-in-Chief, she would push towards a conflict with Iran. That one the economy, despite her claims of having union ties, that she was vetted by party insiders because she would play ball. By that, she would be no different on the economy, or on energy than George W. Bush. As social conservative, she would be no different. I find it insulting that she claims to be a feminist, but yet against a women's right to choose.
The nightmare scenario for me, is that McCain becomes President, but towards his last year in office somehow gets sick and Palin replaces him. Now we face the spector of not just a third Bush term, but a forth! This country, as often been said, cannot have a third Bush term, and we certainly do not need 16 or 20 year conservative reign (assuming Palin gets a second term).
This is why Joe Biden is the better person for the job. Sure Joe's getting on in age, but he's not McCain old. Senator Biden knows whats at stake. He's got the skills and experience to deal with foreign leaders. Biden understand the economy. On the social front, is there any question as to what policies he would pursue.
I honestly hope, and forgive me Joe, that you don't become president because of some tragedy. I especially hope Palin doesn't find herself in that situation too. But its crystal clear as who could better take the helm, should the need arise. Barack knows this, and unfortunately, McCain doesn't seem to give a damn.
So we're not just picking 'a' president, as the talking heads would like you to believe. We're picking possibly two presidents. And something else to keep in mind. Whomever is veep has often run for the Oval Office when their president's term has expired. There have been exceptions to the rule, if one reads up on American political history. Who knows if Joe Biden, should Barack get two terms, at the age of 74 would run. But if McCain wins this year and doesn't run next time, we could face a Palin who won't be the inexperience former small-town mayor/half-term-served governor, but a Vice President. As mentioned previously, could we suffer through a fourth and possibly fifth Bush term?