Deciders

August 17, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Fresh off his Hawaian vaca, Barack Obama was back at Saddleback Church Saturday night, this time to answer questions posed by Pastor Rick Warren. John McCain then aswered the same questions. Evidently he was in a closed room and unable to hear Obama’s answers.
Rick Warren did a fine job questioning the candidates. The network moderators should take note. None of this summers “debates” has provided voters with as much relevant information as tonight’s event. Good stuff.
I thought McSame handled himself fairly well. He seemed confortable with the format. He provided viewers with somewhat clear presentation of his flawed policy proposals. The most important question was handled in very different fashion by each candidate. Here is the transcript from each (Obama in blue, McBush in red)…
 
   Q: OKAY WE’VE GOT ONE LAST TIME — I’VE GOT A BUNCH MORE ABOUT LET ME ASK YOU ONE IN EVIL. DOES EVIL EXIST AND IF IT DOES DO WE IGNORE IT, DO WE NEGOTIATE WITH IT, DO WE CONTAIN IT OR DO WE DEFEAT IT?
   A: EVIL DOES EXIST. I MEAN, WE SEE EVIL ALL THE TIME. WE SEE EVIL IN DARFUR. WE SEE EVIL SADLY ON THE STREETS OF OUR CITIES. WE SEE EVIL IN PARENTS WHO HAVE VICIOUSLY ABUSED THEIR CHILDREN AND I THINK IT HAS TO BE CONFRONTED. IT HAS TO BE CONFRONTED SQUARELY AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I STRONGLY BELIEVE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE ARE NOT GOING TO, AS INDIVIDUALS, BE ABLE TO ERASE EVIL FROM THE WORLD. THAT IS GOD’S TASK. BUT WE CAN BE SOLDERS IN THAT PROCESS AND WE CAN CONFRONT IT WHEN WE SEE IT. NOW, THE ONE THINK THAT I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT IS FOR US TO HAVE SOME HUMILITY IN HOW WE APPROACH THE ISSUE OF CON FRONTING EVIL, BUT YOU KNOW A LOT OF EVIL HAS BEEN PERPETRATED BASED ON THE CLAIM THAT WE WERE TRYING TO CONFRONT EVIL.
  Q: IN THE NAME OF GOOD?
  A: INTO THE NAME OF GOOD. AND I THINK ONE THING THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT IS HAVING SOME HUMILITY IN RECOGNIZING THAT, YOU KNOW, JUST BECAUSE WE THINK OUR INTENTIONS ARE GOOD DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE DOING GOOD.    
 

   Q: HOW ABOUT THE ISSUE OF EVIL? I ASKED THIS OF YOUR RIVAL IN THE PREVIOUS THING. DOES EVIL EXIST AND IF SO, SHOULD WE IGNORE IT, NEGOTIATE WITH IT, CONTAIN IT OR DEFEAT IT?

  A: DEFEAT IT. COUPLE POINTS, ONE, IF I’M PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MY FRIENDS, IF I HAVE TO FOLLOW HIM TO THE GATES OF HELL, I WILL GET OSAMA BIN LADEN AND BRING HIM TO JUSTICE. I WILL DO THAT AND I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. I WILL GET THAT DONE. NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN — INNOCENT AMERICAN LIVES. OF COURSE EVIL MUST BE DEFEATED. MY FRIENDS, WE ARE FACING THE TRANSCENDENT CHALLENGE OF THE 21-CENTURY, RADICAL ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS. NOT LONG AGO IN BAGHDAD, AL-QAEDA TOOK TWO YOUNG WOMEN WHO WERE MENTALLY DISABLED AND PUT SUICIDE VESTS ON THEM, SENT THEM INTO A MARKETPLACE AND BY REMOTE CONTROL, DETINATED THOSE SUICIDE VESTS. IF THAT ISN’T EVIL, YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT IS AND WE’RE GOING TO DEFEAT THIS EVIL AND THE CENTRAL BATTLE GROUND ACCORDING TO DAVID PETRAEUS AND OSAMA BIN LADEN IS THE BATTLES — IS BAGHDAD, MOSUL AND IRAQ AND WE ARE WINNING AND WE ARE SUCCEEDING AND OUR TROOPS WILL COME HOME WITH HONOR AND VICTORY AND NOT IN DEFEAT AND THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING. WE HAVE — AND WE FACE THIS THREAT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. IT’S NOT JUST IN IRAQ. IT’S NOT JUST IN AFGHANISTAN. OUR INTELLIGENCE PEOPLE TELL US AL-QAEDA CONTINUES TO TRY TO ESTABLISH CELLS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MY FRIENDS, WE MUST FACE THIS CHALLENGE. WE CAN FACE THIS CHALLENGE AND WE MUST TOTALLY DEFEAT IT AND WE’RE IN A LONG STRUGGLE, BUT WHEN I’M AROUND THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE SERVING THIS NATION IN UNIFORM, I HAVE NO DOUBT, NONE.

 
The contrast in the candidates’ logic is crystal clear. Barack Obama recognizes that America must confront evil to succeed. We must confront evil by understanding its roots, message, spread, goals, and tactics. An honest assessment must be presented to the American people. We can then decide as a nation how we wish to deal with “evil” and evildoers.
John McSame couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a page from the Bush playbook when answering the question. He immediately proclaimed that America must defeat evil to succeed. This represents the tired, unsuccessful logic of the neoconservatives. In their view, there is no need for examination of terrorism and other forms of evil. Their philosophy ignores this necessary analysis and jumps straight to the part that lines the pockets of their defense industry chums. We must hunt down and kill or capture every terrorist on the face of the earth, they say. Many of us realize that this is simply not possible. We must focus our efforts on those individuals and entities which pose a threat to America. And the case for military action and government funding for such actions needs to be presented to Americans in a straightforward manner. Only then can we as a nation begin a successful campaign against evil. Barack gets it, McCain clearly does not.
 
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