What Obama Should Have Said

What Obama Should Have Said September 27, 2008

I thought Obama was not stern enough with McCain last night, and we are left with the utterly bizarre outcome that McCain is seen as more serious on foreign policy. In particular, when McCain kept up his arrogant and condescending put-downs about how little Obama understands, a good response would have been something along these lines:

“I realize that John has been around a long time, a very long time, and that he has visited a lot of countries and has met a lot of foreign leaders (unlike his running mate). But that tells us nothing about John’s temperament and judgment when it comes to the ability to keep us safe. And in fact, on so many key issues, John has made the wrong call, often with disastrous consequences. He was George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s biggest cheerleader when raced into a stupid and wrong war in Iraq, a war that has made the world a far more dangerous place and puts our security in jeopardy for years to come. Where was his famous judgment and temperament when he swallowed– hook, line, and sinker– falsehoods about Iraq being connected to 9/11 and having WMDs? We know George Bush was a novice. But shouldn’t John McCain’s decades of experience have suggested to him, just maybe, things would not turn out so rosy?

So, this is the issue. John has proven that he does not have the temperament and judgment to lead or to face foreign and domestic crises with calmness, with common sense, and with nerves of steel. John is the still a member of the utterly discredited neo-con club that believes preventive war will solve our problems, when we know that it will only make things worse, and that military action must always be a last resort, when diplomacy has failed. On some issues, John is even more extreme than Dick Cheney. Think about that. His belief that all the world’s problems can be solved through the barrel of a gun are on display tonight when he talks about Iraq only in terms of the surge, forgetting that the surge was not an end in itself, but a means to an end- a durable political solution that remains in doubt in an increasing tense and ethnically-divided Iraq. But no, John doesn’t seem interested in that. He doesn’t know the difference between a tactic and a strategy because he can’t admit he was wrong.

He has also adopted George Bush’s legendary stubbornnesswhen it comes to not opening negotiations with America’s enemies, forgetting that treating them as outcasts only emboldens them, and makes problems worse down the line. Hasn’t be learned nothing from the past eight years? Are we bound for another four years of prancing around the world stage like a hot-headed adolescent?

But John never thinks of the future, can never calculate beyond the immediate horizon. We have a financial crisis, the most serious since the Great Depression. We don’t know where John stands on it, but we do know that his erratic and unstable behavior over the past few days raises very serious questions about his temperament and judgment. We need a strong and steady hand, both domestically and the world stage, not somebody who is rash and unpredictable. We’ve seen that before and we don’t need to see it again. We can’t afford four more years of bad judgment. We can’t afford a McCain presidency.”

What do you think?


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  • 1superdave

    you’re catholic?

  • Policraticus

    you’re catholic?

    Suggesting what Obama should have said on foreign policy engenders the suspicion that the he who issued the suggestion is not Catholic?

  • Oh, sorry, I should have said that if you don’t vote for McCain you will burn in hell. However did that slip my mind?

  • RR

    The whole reason why Obama is appealing is because he doesn’t resort to MM’s rovian tactics.

  • david

    You have to understand Poli, that your average Catholic is so horrified when Barrack O’Bama flaunts his perfect score from naral that all other issues pale. Rightfully so.
    My Opinion: O’Bama is a better candidate in every respect except one, and that one nullifies my support.

  • little gal

    “Oh, sorry, I should have said that if you don’t vote for McCain you will burn in hell.”

    I have been surpised at the continued statements of bishops(and priests) on the issue of abortion. They seem to have gotten the idea, that some Catholics think that being pro choice is one issue among many and that it doesn’t carry any special weight. These statements are more and more direct in stating:

    “For us Catholics, it is essential that we be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. Thus we cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion…In doing so we would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.

    The first temptation would be to consider all life issues morally equal and thus fail to • see that there is a hierarchy among them. We must keep first in mind that the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong. It is not just one issue among many and must always be opposed. Our support for the sanctity of human life is dishonest if it does not include opposition to abortion.

    There are some things we must never do, because they are so deeply flawed that they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such “intrinsically evil” actions can never be justified and must always be rejected and opposed; they must never be supported or condoned. Examples are the intentional taking of innocent life, as in abortion and euthanasia; direct threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as human cloning and destructive research on human embryos;”

  • David Nickol

    I wish Obama had said, “Yes, Republicans always promise less spending and smaller government. Ronald Reagan promised less spending and smaller government, and left the biggest deficit in the history of the United States. George Bush promised less spending and smaller government, and even John McCain admits he has violated that promise. And now John McCain continues in the Republican tradition of promising less spending and smaller government. I think the American people have earned the right to be skeptical of these kinds of Republican promises.”

    Of course, he can say it in the next debate, where it might be more appropriate anyway.

  • TeutonicTim

    But, it’s Obama, so it’s OK.

    Obama should have said:

    “Sorry John, I’m out of my league. I cannot match up with you on military matters, considering you are a graduate of the best military learning center in the world, and you have looked our enemies in the eye. I’m just a community organizer, who’s been running for office since I was chosen by my communist and terrorist benefactors, and consider running my valid executive experience.

  • David Nickol

    There are some things we must never do, because they are so deeply flawed that they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such “intrinsically evil” actions can never be justified and must always be rejected and opposed; they must never be supported or condoned.

    One would have thought that all evil actions are always to be avoided and are incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Can someone please provide me with a list of evil actions that I may sometimes do, as opposed to those evils (the intrinsic ones) that I must never do?

    I know lying is intrinsically evil. May I vote for a candidate who has one or more televisions ads that amount to lies, especially when the candidate comes on afterwards and says, “I approve this message”?

  • David Nickol

    TeutonicTim,

    You think too small. You could have had Obama say, “Jim, allow me to tell the truth . . . for the first time in my life. I realize listening to this great hero, who I am not worthy to share the stage with, that I must drop my bid for the presidency and throw my support to John McCain, not because I am in any way noble, but because hearing him describe the foreign threats to the country, I realize that I am afraid that I might actually win. That’s right, I am a coward who wants to cut and run. I shall turn myself over to the authorities, seek to be convicted of infanticide, and be put safely away in a maximum security prison where my former supporters, the communists, terrorists, and other liberals cannot get their hands on me for abandoning their cause.”

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    McCain is close to treasonous, as he “knows how to get ’em” (Bin Laden), but has not yet done so.

    He’d rather win an election and allow Bin Laden to run free than capture Bin Laden and loose an election, it seems.

  • David, let me add one thing to this fantasy Obama speech:

    “Oh, and John, I really have to go. There is a fetus who against it’s mother’s wishes was born alive and stubbornly clings to life. They need me to crush it’s skull with a rock”.

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    McCain would accomplish NOTHING more than Obama to protect the unborn, legislatively, judicially or executively.

    In fact, Obama’s economic policies would most likely reduce the # of abortions far more significaantly than McCain’s…

  • Actually, from his play-acting in Washington, it seems McCain is willing to destroy the economy to win an election.

  • Mick

    McCain would accomplish NOTHING more than Obama to protect the unborn, legislatively, judicially or executively.

    This is a misinformed statement. Um, didn’t Obama say his first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice act, which would effectively remove all restrictions on abortion in this country. In addition, he supports government funding of abortion. Maybe McCain will do nothing (which is doubtful, at the very least he will appoint 1-2 supreme court justices, hopefully in the mold of Alito and Roberts), but Obama will directly act to harm the unborn.

    This blog is disgusting.

  • David Nickol

    David, let me add one thing to this fantasy Obama speech . . .

    Tony,

    Why only one thing? While you’re making things up, why not just go on and on with all the sick stuff you can think of?

  • digbydolben

    There is no reason for us Obama supporters to worry: by almost all scientific polling results, there are enormous odds now in favour of our candidate winning the election.

    I suggest that we just let Barack Obama win the election his way. He knows what he’s doing–knows that every single day of this election he’s walking through the racial minefield that is modern America, knows that he must never play the “angry nigger” no matter how much the Republicans lie and distort, knows that there are certain things he MAY NOT SAY, no matter how badly they need saying, knows that he must look his angry old warmongering opponent in the face and be respectful of him, no matter how much contempt and subliminal racism are displayed by the old warhorse’s demeanour and tone.

    Obama is a master at this: he’s gracious and courageous and reacts to the unfairness with civility and a judiciously cool temper–exactly what Americans now know they need in a President whose tenure will be a crisis period. They are becoming aware of McCain’s dangerously mercurail temperament, and the momentum for Obama’s election is building and will continue to build. Just let Barack do what he does best: out-think and out-smart his opponents, as the clock on his basketball court winds down. He’ll be a great President because he has the cool temperament of a John F. Kennedy.

  • digbydolben

    Oops, I misspelled “mercurial”; now we’ll have the bigots SB and “little gal” saying I have no business being a “Lehrer” in an “internationale schule.”

  • digby:

    Do you have any comments on the thuggery that the Obama campaign has engaged in to attempt to silence critics, most recently in Missouri?

    Does that make you wonder at all what the priorities of a Justice Department under an Obama administration would be?

  • SB

    No, that’s not quite as humorous as misspelling “ignoramus” and then offering the excuse that you’re used to the British spelling of “frivolous” (as if Americans spell it “frivolus”).

  • digbydolben

    Hey, jack-ass, I made a SPELLING mistake, and I THOUGHT it was because of all the confusions in spelling between the British and the American versions of the English language which you encounter whenever you live outside of the United States.

    My self-esteem does not ride upon YOUR estimation of my scholarship or lack thereof. In fact, unlike a lot of the commentators here, I’m perfectly able to agree that I’m no genius. Your constant harping on this ridiculous matter suggests you THINK you’ve found a “button” to “push.” You haven’t, get over it.

  • digbydolben

    Gary, the “Obama campaign” is not always Barack Obama, just as the “thuggish,” largely deceitful ads often being run by the McCain campaign do not necessarily represent John McCain, even if McCain’s contemptuous demeanour and manner at the debate DOES suggest they might.

  • digby:

    What about Obama’s flip-flops on missile defense, etc.?

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Digby,

    Your spelling errors are easily correctible, with the simple connection to and usage of Spell-Check.

    Others’ problems may be much less susceptible to such an easy remedy.

  • Hey, jack-ass, I

    That’s “jackass”. Unless you’re implying that he has a behind that looks like a car jack. 🙂

  • HA

    Others’ problems may be much less susceptible to such an easy remedy.

    Have they openly declared themselves as having “apostacized” from Catholic teaching the way digby has?

    (Then again, perhaps a declaration of apostasy is only valid if the word is spelled correctly, in which case, digby is better off not relying on spell-check.)

  • digbydolben
  • Be afraid, very afraid!

    On Pakestan Obama Says Bomb ‘Em

    And that is before we get to just war concerns.

  • David Nickol

    On Pakestan Obama Says Bomb ‘Em

    Hank,

    So let me get this straight. McCain will follow Bin Ladin “to the gates of hell,” and he will capture him and bring him to justice “no matter what it takes,” But Pakistan — into which you note the United States is already launching missiles and killing people — should be off limits? So we should go with the more cautious John McCain rather than the reckless Barack Obama?

    Somehow critics of Obama can describe him, on the one hand, as more interested in reading terrorists their rights than stopping them and, on the other, as being so aggressive in their pursuit that he wants to start a war with Pakistan.

  • little gal

    Digby:

    There is a 54 day novena taking part “For an outcome of the November election which is pleasing to Almighty God, and which best serves the eternal and temporal interests of all of His children.”

    Although we may have preferences and think that our choice is the best, I believe that prayer that God’s will be done will elect whomever is best for America at this time.

  • David Nickol

    Well Senator Obama’s comments were unexpected given much of the previous dialogue.

    The dichotomy I was pointing to was not the willingness of the two candidates to chase down Osama bin Laden. It is the method.

    In the debate McCain was talking about running him down in a difficult situation, trying to leave things better than we found them, or at least not worse.

    Obama’s comments were to the effect of give them an ultimatum and unilaterally escalate with a doubtful prospect of defense and complete disregard to what collateral damage we leave in the area, and perhaps leaving are troops no way home because we no longer have a road home we control.

    Senator Obama may not have realized the consequences of what he proposing, is that in itself not a reflection on is qualifications.

  • That should have been

    doubtful prospect of dsuccess

  • david

    Fascinating, well produced video that could be pursuasive to simple minded folk like me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5tZc8oH–o.

    Ignore after the 8:55 mark, so to take the first eight at face value.

  • 1superdave

    pro life is one thing, but every other evil is also lined up solidly behind the dem side. I’m not catholic but was shocked to see a so-called catholic blog in favor of aboma!

  • 1superdave

    Little gal God’s providence let horible kings rule Israel and several times let/ sent them into captivity.

  • David Nickol

    Although we may have preferences and think that our choice is the best, I believe that prayer that God’s will be done will elect whomever is best for America at this time.

    little gal,

    You are not really saying, are you, that as a result of this novena, God will determine the outcome of the election?

  • Somehow critics of Obama can describe him, on the one hand, as more interested in reading terrorists their rights than stopping them and, on the other, as being so aggressive in their pursuit that he wants to start a war with Pakistan.

    David, since Obama’s positions change almost on a minute by minute basis depending on his geographic location and/or his polling data, it’s very possible to describe him both ways, and possibly on the same day.

  • Obama is incredibly softspoken. He hopes to persuade the American people by sweet reasonableness, with no additives.

    Happily, McCain is dismantling his own campaign hourly with no need of help from his opponent.

    The ineffable comedy of a President Sarah may sill be served up however. We Europeans are rolling the aisles laughing.

  • Sadly, I think Sarah Palin fell in to a trap by saying yes without being given the time needed to be credible in the election itself. She could be better than what we see here, but I think, ultimately, the political-grab-for-power she now has herself under shows exactly why she didn’t. I also believe she has been led by her spiritual advisors to believe she is something special, a chosen vessel of God, who must rule.

  • TeutonicTim

    I also believe she has been led by her spiritual advisors to believe she is something special, a chosen vessel of God, who must rule.

    Because that’s the only logical conclusion of course, and you have plenty of evidence to back it up?

  • little gal

    David/1superdave:

    I don’t know quite how to respond to your comments except to say that I believe that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His Will. Angels also intercede for us. Here is a rather famous example of St. Michael (I know this is off topic) answering a prayer that was documented/investigated by a chaplain:

    http://www.40daysofprayerandfasting.org/Intervention.htm

    Has either of you ever made a novena?

  • I don’t know quite how to respond to your comments except to say that I believe that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His Will.

    That’s a far cry from claiming that the power of prayer “will elect whomever is best for America at this time.” That’s essentially saying that whoever wins is God’s choice. I’m of the mind that God will let americans get the president that they deserve and are stupid enough to vote for. (Proof: G. W. Bush.)

  • little gal

    Michael:

    If you reread my orginal post and the subsequent one, my statements are consistent. I think the question your post and the others’ raise is what you and they believe that prayer does and if God answers prayer.

  • David Nickol

    little gal,

    God may hear our prayers and answer according to his will, but that doesn’t mean he is obliged to choose a winner in the presidential election just because someone has prayed for it! Even the grade school nuns I was taught by said God’s answer to a prayer can be no. If all of America prays that God will somehow see to it that the better candidate is elected, God can still refrain from getting involved in American politics. To assume that God will cause the best candidate to win because you have prayed for it is to assume that you can compel God by saying a prayer.

    I am sure that millions of people pray for their favorite sports team, or pray to win the lottery, or pray it won’t rain on the day of their outdoor wedding, or whatever. Do you believe when fans of two competing teams pray for their own team to win, God decides the outcome of the game? Or when (famous grade school example) when the farmer prays for rain and the picknickers pray for sun, God changes the weather?

  • little gal

    David:

    You appear intent on misunderstanding what I said.

  • David Nickol

    You appear intent on misunderstanding what I said.

    little gal,

    Actually, I am trying to understand. But if you prefer not to clarify, that’s okay.

  • little gal,

    I think David (and I) are simply puzzled by the fairly direct statements you have made about the effects of prayer on the election. I’m not sure that there is any room for severe misunderstanding in what you have said.

  • 1superdave

    Was Jimmiy carter and Bill Clinton the results of prayer. The bible says God sets up rulers and pulls them down. If your interested there is a treshold of humility that has to be met to get God’s ear. In second Cronicles it says”If my people who are call by my name will Humble themselves, and seek my face , and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear their prayers and heal their land”

  • 1superdave

    David Nickol If a Christian can’t expect that the fevent prayers of a rightous with avail much, then why pray at all. In fact why expect heaven to be waiting. What do you do with the times it’s recorded in His word ” I have heard the crys of my people. The missunderstanding here is that people are lead to believe that it’s not a necessity to be right with God, And your neighbor, for God to hear us when we pray. Not every leader God ever raised up was good, But how does one reconcile the abortion stance of a canidate and they are for him being elected to Nominate Judges more liberal on abortion than He.

  • Saying that one believes God answers prayers does not mean believing that God appoints presidents of the United States of America.

  • 1superdave

    Romans 13:1 Says ” there is no power but of God:the powers that be are ordained of God”. The passage goes on to talk about paying taxes and custom dues; clearly talking about civil government.

  • 1superdave:

    Try reading Romans 12 too. No, read the whole letter. You’re prooftexting.

  • 1superdave

    Michael, If you read my other comments above, you will see that I said answers to prayers come to humble confessed up people, but if your open to the rest of the book of Romans, just read Romans 1. That was my other point that Christians should be mindful of a canidates platform. Aboma’s includes the Pro Choice view of course, but also includes the powerfull Pro Homo-exual, trans-sexual, by-sexual, Nambla, aclu, Communist,etc…. I was just saying that a blog that calls itself Catholic, should take issue with all of these planks. My other point is that I Think God is capable of
    setting up the rulers he thinks we deserve(not because of our goodness but our badness) In spite of the so call will of the people. For instance the jews didn’t have a choice about being ruled by the Romans, But Ceaser’s decree placed Mary in Bethlehelm so that Jesus would be born there.

  • Obama is a communist? That’s funny.

  • 1superdave

    Micheal, Read this in context. Which side does the communist/socislist far left of this country support. Think back to the hearing on supreme court justices. You don’t think nationalizing heathcare is not a communist move

  • Which side does the communist/socislist (sic) far left of this country support.

    Communists and/or socialists tend to support communist and/or socialist movements and/or politicians (imagine that!!). Not the Democratic party.

    You don’t think nationalizing heathcare (sic) is not a communist move

    Of course not. Canada, for example, has “nationalized” health care and it is a thoroughly capitalist country.

  • 1superdave

    Socialist. By definition in truly capitalist country the government doesn’t own what should be private. That’s what nationalized means. So you want the same people that have missmanaged Social Security, Medi-care and Fannie May-Fredie Mac,running heatcare. Realy?

  • David Nickol

    David Nickol If a Christian can’t expect that the fevent prayers of a rightous with avail much, then why pray at all. In fact why expect heaven to be waiting.

    1superdave,

    I would be fascinated to read a good book on the theology of prayer of petition, but it is clearly a fact that good people praying for good outcomes is far from a guarantee of good results. And I don’t think when people pray for good outcomes and bad outcomes happen that it is because God is punishing anybody or putting them to the test.

    Here is what Cardinal Ratzinger said in 1997 when asked if the Holy Spirit selects the pope: “I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator…leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us…. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined. There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked.”

    Now, for Catholics, I would imagine, if there’s any election they would expect God to have a strong hand in, it would be the election of the pope. But Cardinal Ratzinger’s answer made it clear, it seems to me, that the pope is selected by the College of Cardinals. I would be amazed if God exercised more influence on tAmerican presidential elections than he does on the election of the popes.

  • 1superdave

    David, do you not believe that the holy spirit directs those who pick your pope. Yuor previous statement seems to say that illegitimate Popes have Been selected. Then on the other hand did God indeed put that person there inspite of the wishes of your church. because he had a reason for it. Did God select Mary?

  • David Nickol

    Which side does the communist/socislist far left of this country support.

    1superdave,

    If you are going to judge the Democrats and Republicans by who supports them, you have to acknowledge the fact that the Republicans in large part get the votes of the KKK, the American Nazi Party, the Aryan Brotherhood, and other far-right and/or white-supremacist groups. If the far left and far right want to vote for one of the two major presidential candidates, the far-right will vote for McCain and the far-left will vote for Obama. This doesn’t mean Obama is a Communist and McCain is a Nazi.

  • 1superdave

    David also the other point I have made is that as christians we should use our vote to try to seek God’s will. Should we then vote for a canidate who will select judges that will futher the liberal agenda that has corsened or society. One who has the suport of naral, the aclu, the far left, and in general those that want every mention of God removed form our lives. If neither is perfect , shoudn’t we then choose the least of two evils.

  • 1superdave

    Oboma suports the policy’s that lead to socialism. Infact the repulican’s were responsible for the passage of the civil right act. the democrats were oposed to it.
    The Democrat party has as a core value to try to nationalize as much of our economy as they can. Their tax policies are weath redistribution. What is communism. From each as he has, to each as he needs. Come on guys. that’s communism.

  • David Nickol

    1superdave,

    How people should vote strikes me as a very complex topic, but in general I think people should vote for the common good. I would not go so far as to say “God’s will,” since some may feel it is God’s will that nobody should gamble, and others may feel it is God’s will that nobody should fight in a war, and others may feel it is God’s will that nobody should drink alcohol (and you know what that lead to), and so on, and so on.

    And even if we vote for “God’s will,” some people are going to believe the best way to seek God’s will is to vote for McCain and others to vote for Obama.

  • 1superdave

    Sir! Is there good and evil? When confronted with evil should we examine it the see if it may somehow promote good, or should we reject it?

  • David Nickol

    1superdave,

    If then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, doesn’t believe God selects the popes, I don’t feel I am on dangerous ground saying I don’t believe God selects the popes or the American presidents.

    Credit for Civil Rights Act of 1964 goes largely to Lyndon Johnson, who was of course a Democrat. It had bipartisan support, with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats voting for it. More Republicans than Democrats did vote for it, but that is because southerners voted heavily against it, and there were many more southern Democrats than Republicans. It was an extraordinary act of political and moral courage for Johnson to push for passage of the Civil Rights Act, because he knew the Democrats would never be able to count on the “solid south” again.

    God has not stated a preference when it comes to capitalism and socialism, although the recent popes have been very critical of capitalism.

    Returning taxation policy to the way it was during the Reagan administration does not constitute redistribution of wealth.

    The Democrats are not against private enterprise.

  • 1superdave

    I now understand. This is the Teddy Kenedy wing of the catholic church. The CINOs. Christian in name only. My prayer is may God help us. What ever happened to the Great commission. I understand better now how the priest pettifile scandal happened in the Catholic Church. You guys were the watchmen. I have a lot of respest for Catholics of old. I am sorry that I can’t say the same for Ya’ll. I thought this was a forum where ideas were debated. I am soorry it is not.

  • thought this was a forum where ideas were debated. I am soorry it is not.

    Do you not feel you are in the middle of a debate? Looks like a debate to me.

  • 1superdave

    looks like liberal idealgoes, acting like catholic Christians. I know political hacks by the way they double speak. There is good and evil. God gives us the wisdom to know the difference.