With all of the hullabaloo accompanying the craziness of the Bush v. Gore general election of 2000, people often forget about the two runners-up in the primary season — Sen. John McCain on the Republican side and Sen. Bill Bradley with the Democrats. I longed for these two distinguished, principled men to face off in an election that they vowed— in a written, signed compact, mind you — that would be about the actual issues without special interests dictating the discussions.
I truly believe that those two men could have mostly lived up to their promise of a principled general election campaign — although whether they really could have is a moot point since Howdy Doody and a talking tree got the party nods. I hate that we never got to see that McCain v. Bradley campaign materialize, and politics has gotten uglier ever since. Citizens United threw even more gasoline on that fire.
They had very different views. Bradley’s big issues were universal health care (looks like he was a little ahead of his time on that one) and gun control, while McCain was focused on a strong defense and bucking the political establishment and D.C. power brokers. It would have been interesting — and we would have been much better off with either of them as president.
I don’t agree with many of his political views, but I respect Sen. McCain as a war hero (yes, Mr. Multiple Deferment Trump, McCain is a war hero) and as a principled politician, not a pandering demagogue. More than once during the 2008 campaign against Barack Obama he put his own supporters in their place when they said they were “scared” of Obama or accused him of being Muslim or being born in Kenya.
(By the way, I always wondered why Obama’s parents would have put a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspapers if he were born in Kenya; perhaps they were laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign from day one.) Continue reading
We can disagree on politics. We can disagree on building a wall or tearing down Obamacare. We can even disagree as to whether CNN is a fake news outlet. (Well, actually, no we can’t. It’s not.)
But we absolutely cannot disagree on which of the first families — the one leaving the White House or the one coming into it — has more class, decency and the kind of family values that so many evangelicals and others purport to espouse. The Obamas have handled unprecedented and unjustified disrespect with a grace that I’m not sure any other presidential family — Democrat, Republican or Whig — could have mustered. Donald Trump can’t even handle an SNL joke.
What’s most striking about the photo collage that I created above is the double-standard at play. Can you imagine the vitriolic hatred that would be spewed had the Obamas been pictured in the exact same way that the Trumps are as they were coming in to the White House? Flip-flop the roles in the photos, and the Trumps would be seen as restoring decency to the White House from a disgusting, trashy family. The problem is that even without flip-flopping the photos, many Trumpists still see decency being restored.
But that’s the kind of double-standards the Obamas have faced all along. It comes from the same people who thanked President Bush for “keeping us safe” but would have called for Obama’s head had 9/11 happened on his watch. I didn’t blame Bush then or now for 9/11, but you know that Obama would have been dragged out of D.C. by pitchfork-toting right-wing nutjobs and actual fake news consumers had it occurred under him. These are the same folks who would have hurled the worst kind of insults at Michelle Obama — perhaps the coolest first lady ever — if she had posed for the kinds of photo shoots Melania Trump has done.
I guess those kinds of folks look at this picture and see a “privileged” Obama family juxtaposed with simple, decent folks who relate to common Americans, a family led by a man who scratched and clawed and wisely bankruptcied and smartly tax-dodged his way to the top starting with a mere $1 million loan from daddy and a third wife who fell in love with Donald Trump for his charm and good orange looks.
Fact is: If you can put politics aside and still prefer the family on the left over the family on the right, fake news is not your biggest problem — that, my lost friend, would be delusion.