Not sure how much I agree with Spenger’s analysis, but it’s the best-thought-out I’ve read so far of Joe Biden (Obama’s pick for Vice President) and Sarah Palin (McCain’s pick for Vice President). Â Â
My own thoughts have been based on Biden’s and Palin’s relative accomplishments. Â Joe Biden would have gotten us out of Iraq and destroyed our enemies there (that is, won) years earlier. Â Sarah Palin is hot. Â I get the benefits of both, though both candidates could have done more by thinking outside the box. Â If Obama wanted someone who really knew foreign policy, and was right on both Russia and Iraq, he should have gone with Hillary Clinton. Â If McCain wanted a hot woman, but one who at least had a husband who could coach her on the right things to say, Hong Le Webb would be the perfect choice.
Spenger’s reaction, though, is deeper…
Asia Times Online :: Asian News, Business and Economy.
McCain doesn’t have a tenth of Obama’s synaptic fire-power, but he is a nasty old sailor who knows when to come about for a broadside. Given Obama’s defensive, even wimpy selection of a running-mate, McCain’s choice was obvious. He picked the available candidate most like himself: a maverick with impeccable reform credentials, a risk-seeking commercial fisherwoman and huntress married to a marathon snowmobile racer who carries a steelworkers union card. The Democratic order of battle was to tie McCain to the Bush administration and attack McCain by attacking Bush. With Palin on the ticket, McCain has re-emerged as the maverick he really is.
The young Alaskan governor, to be sure, hasn’t any business running for vice president of the United States with her thin resume. McCain and his people know this perfectly well, and that is precisely why they put her on the ticket. If Palin is unqualified to be vice president, all the less so is Obama qualified to be president.
McCain has certified his authenticity for the voters. He’s now the outsider, the reformer, the maverick, the war hero running next to the Alaskan amazon with a union steelworker spouse. Obama, who styled himself an agent of change, took his image for granted, and attempted to ensure himself victory by doing the cautious thing. He is trapped in a losing position, and there is nothing he can do to get out of it.
Obama, in short, is long on brains and short on guts. A Shibboleth of American politics holds that different tactics are required to win the party primaries as opposed to the general election, that is, by pandering to fringe groups with disproportionate influence in the primaries. But Obama did not compromise himself with extreme positions. He did not have to, for younger voters who greeted him with near-religious fervor did not require that he take any position other than his promise to change everything. Obama could have allied with the old guard, through an Obama-Clinton ticket, or he could have rejected the old guard by choosing the closest thing the Democrats had to a Sarah Palin. But fear paralyzed him, and he did neither.
In my February 26 profile, I called Obama “the political equivalent of a sociopath”, without any derogatory intent. A sociopath seeks the empathy of all around him while empathizing with no one. Obama has an almost magical ability to gain the confidence of those around him. Perhaps it was the adaptation of a bright and sensitive young boy who was abandoned by three parents – his Kenyan father Barack Obama Sr, who left his pregnant young bride; his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetero; and by his mother, Ann Dunham, who sentÂ 10-year-old ObamaÂ to live with her parents while she pursued her career as an anthropologist.
I don’t think Obama is that smart, but otherwise Spengler seems sensible. Â Obama is a cypher, a man with few friends, few positions, few accomplishments, and (critically for a failure-avoidant political system) few mistakes. Â Biden continues Obama’s “try nothing, do nothing, change nothing” politics. Â McCain’s pick is riskier.