There is a serious problem with people choosing a president based solely on impressions. More serious yet are the misperceptions that the mainstream media do not attempt to correct. Everytime a newscaster says the words “McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama,” the perception is deepened, as if this were true. For example, you may hear
“50% of the American people believe that McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama.”
“Obama needs to change the perception that McCain is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises.”
“McCain is a decorated war hero and it is going to be difficult for Obama to convince the American people that he, Obama, is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises.
“McCain said today that he is more prepared to deal with a foreign policy crises. Obama is on vacation”
The press bombards us with these statements on a frequent and regular basis, and yet, if you listen carefully, there is nothing that offers new information that tells us that McCain is better prepared to be our next Commander-in-chief.
Dana Bash, the CNN reporter following the McCain campaign actually said that McCain’s new proposal, made in a July 15 speech, to send more troops to Afghanistan was “proof” that McCain knows how to win wars. Proof? Objective reporting? True? Not a chance.
Later that day, on his campaign bus, McCain clarified his speech by saying that we would need to take troops out of Iraq to put them into Afghanistan. Why that is odd, since this was Obama’s proposal. After all, the McCain proposal which Bash says offers proof that McCain knows how to win wars was actually Obama’s proposal! So, Ms. Bash, you need to revise your statement to say that it was actually Obama that offered proof that he knows how to win wars.
The results of all of these statements is the continued perception that McCain is actually better to deal with a foreign policy crises than Obama. The press should do their job and look more closely at the things McCain says. They should report the full and true stories regarding the candidates and their foreign policy credentials, for both candidates. It would become quite apparent that, in fact, the perception had been wrong all along and would clearly demonstrate that, in fact, McCain has shown some profound weaknesses in dealing with foreign policy. The American people would then see that Barack Obama has a far better toolbox for dealing with these most critical national security and foreign relations and policy.
Let’s take a look at some news items that have been buried, but are critical to understanding which candidate is the strongest in foreign policy.
Do you remember McCain’s advisor Charlie Black? He was the one saying that it would be helpful to McCain if there was another terrorist attack in the U.S. before the election. This remark was outrageous and the judgement to keep Black around for even a moment after this statement is one very serious error in judgment. It doesn’t just send a bad message, it sends a dangerous message. There is no room for these kinds of mistakes when it comes to foreign policy.
McCain’s pre-war predictions for Iraq were made clear as he stood by President Bush and his declaration that the “mission accomplished” banner meant that major combat was over.
Recall a more recent gaffe where he disclosed his complete lack of understanding for the relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran. Iran does not support Al Qaeda. The only Al Qaeda operatives that are in Iran are prisoners! He then continued to confuse the sunni and shiite, which is a most revealing error. Major conflict in Iraq is the violence between the sunnis (the sect of Saddam Hussein) and the shiite, which is the group friendly to Iran. If you had any profound understanding of a conflict you are purporting to be ready to command, you couldn’t possibly mess that up!
Despite those McCain campaign ads attempting to strut his foreign policy qualifications, telling us that he is ready to be commander-in-chief, you see live footage of McCain showing us that he is not ready. Let’s try to explain why McCain makes such errors.
He was tired.
He was confused.
He is just not as sharp as he used to be.
If John McCain had to answer the phone at 3 a.m., I imagine he would be tired, forgetful, confused or all of the above. Could he make the wrong call? “Take out those Shiite outposts” or “Take out those Sunni outposts.” Order given but which one is right? He is alone at 3 am. Joe (Sen. Lieberman) is not there to help him. Whoa!
Obama met with many foreign leaders last month, and the press just pounded out words like “He thinks he’s a celebraty.” Of course, Obama has never said “gee, I’m a celebrity” but the press uses this as a distraction so that the American public will not notice the intellegent manor with which Obama conducted himself. There were no gaffes reported, and during the public press conferences with the various leaders, it can be clearly seen that Obama has gained the trust of these leaders. But all the press wants to talk about is the big crowd in Berlin, as if that was a bad thing. How does that crowd indicate that Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief. It actually tells me that he has a strong influence on our allied nations, which is the strongest argument yet for saying that Obama is the stronger foreign policy candidate.