Like a Breast of Fresh Hair
John McCain supporters loved it when he turned to That One and said: "Sen. Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I'm going to give a new direction to this economy and this country."
From then on, John McCain spent the night proving himself wrong.
As we say here in Banjo Country, "Good-looking, but not too bright."
Gotta give McCain credit, though. He could have turned to Barack Obama and said at Hofstra University: "I know George W. Bush. George W. Bush was a friend of mine. And, senator, I'm no George W. Bush." Good to know he has his wits about him.
A new generation of voters is learning about temperament, leadership and integrity as part of the great civics lesson that is the 2008 presidential race. People are learning about the volatility of markets, the vulnerable dollar, and that our government has to borrow from China to pay the Saudis and so on.
The closer we get to Election Day the more people are learning how much like Dubya that John McCain really is.
That's not the scary part; the scary part comes if he wins and America is led by another incurious president and ambitious vice president who know right from wrong but would choose wrong every time.
McCain supports Dubya's agenda, as Obama reminded us during the debate when he said, "If I occasionally have mistaken your policies for George W. Bush's policies, it is because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people, on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities, you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush."
McCain is even starting to act and talk like Dubya. The mischievous smirk, the snickering, the whole body language disconnected from reality thing — it's all there.
Like Dubya, McCain also laughs when nothing is funny. McCain did so at Hofstra after Obama explained why John Lewis was upset about the anti-Obama chants of "terrorist" and "kill him" at McCain-Palin rallies.
McCain also gets tongue-tied like Dubya.
Like Dubya, McCain invents his own reality. That's why he calls Palin "a reformer," even after a state ethics probe into the Troopergate scandal showed the governor violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. After the report, Palin then showed faulty logic when she claimed it vindicated her.
At Hofstra, McCain claimed to be "disappointed" that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson didn't make middle-class Americans a priority in the bailout. Yet McCain, just like Obama, signed the bipartisan compromise that then was taken to Paulson for consideration and signed by the president.
McCain World is like Bush World, a fantasy. It's where McCain pretends his fingerprints aren't all over that bailout — which, by the way, has more pork than an Iowa hog farm, certainly more than Paulson intended. So what did McCain mean at the debate when he said, "We'll cut out all the pork"?
You can tell that McCain is just itching to declare himself The Decider, which can only mean that neocons in his campaign are grumbling about Old Europe and how to divide the spoils from the next oil war.
What Michael Kinsley wrote about George W. Bush in "Slate's Field Guide to the Candidates 2004" could be said of John McCain in 2008.
"The characteristic Bush II form of dishonesty is to construct an alternate reality on some topic and to regard anyone who objects to it as a sniveling dweeb obsessed with 'nuance,'" Kinsley wrote in 2002. "If the truth was too precious to waste on politics for Bush I and a challenge to overcome for Clinton, for our current George Bush it is simply boring and uncool. Bush II administration lies are often so laughably obvious that you wonder why they bother. Until you realize: They haven't bothered. If telling the truth was less bother, they'd try that too."
Sound familiar? You betcha!
Rhonda Chriss Lokeman (RCLCreators@kc.rr.com) is a contributing editor to The Kansas City Star. To find out more about Rhonda Chriss Lokeman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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