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by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Coronado The Democrats surely have a death wish. By several measures, the Bush administration has been a train wreck. Illegal immigration, already out of control during the Clinton years, combined with the anchor baby policy, has produced an avalanche of unskilled, uneducated and poor immigrants who have put enormous strains on emergency rooms, schools and social services and drastically altered the demographic balance of America, all without the informed consent of its citizens. The Iraq War, launched for the ostensible purpose of overthrowing a dangerous enemy of America thought to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction, turned into a five-year land war designed to create a bastion of democracy in the un-democratic Middle East and, oh, by the way, Osama bin Laden is still free. The Bush administration failed to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. It failed to reform Social Security or Medicare, both of which are headed for financial disaster. Millions of Americans are still without health insurance and the size of the national debt is beyond the ability of humans to even comprehend. Our schools are graduating children that can barely read, write or compute. To be sure, Congress deserves much, if not most, of the blame, but that won’t help Mr. Bush’s legacy much. It’s the president that history remembers, not a do-nothing congress. I am under no delusions regarding the ability of a Gore or Kerry administration to have done any better nor am I sanguine that a new administration will. My point is that 2008 presented the Democrats with a golden chance to take back the White House and control both branches of government. So what do they do? They nominate a freshman senator with a boyish face, a great speaking voice but no substantive experience in running anything besides a subcommittee. Not a city. Not a state. Not a business. He barely out-pointed Sen. Hillary Clinton in a food fight of a campaign for the nomination mostly on the basis of oratory skills, a vague message of change that resonated with a public disgusted with politics as usual and with the help of a media whose undisguised infatuation turned him overnight into a celebrity. Clearly the more experienced candidate, Clinton was the logical person to head the ticket and probably would have had not the press pre-anointed Obama, who could have waited his turn and perhaps learned something about the executive branch while serving as Vice-president. A Clinton-Obama ticket may well have been unbeatable. An Obama-Clinton ticket might have been also, keeping Clinton’s bitterly disappointed backers in the fold. We’ll never know now. We do know, however, that a recent poll shows her beating McCain in a simulated match-up while Obama’s lead over McCain has all but disappeared. Instead of selecting Clinton, his only serious competition for the nomination and ensuring the enthusiastic support of her backers, the candidate of change instead chose a distant runner-up, veteran Washington insider, Sen. Joe Biden. Biden doesn’t bring much of a dowry in terms of electoral votes from his home state. He’s from reliably Democratic Delaware. I’ve seen bigger traffic jams than Delaware. The average voter would have difficulty finding it on a map, even with a large magnifying glass. Mr. Biden will undoubtedly run a vigorous negative campaign playing bad cop to Mr. Obama’s good cop role. He relishes the attack mode. He has a reputation in some circles for exaggerating the truth and sometimes even inventing it. If he talks too long, which he often does, he sometimes manages to put his foot in his mouth. Examples abound and have been reported elsewhere. Obama reportedly picked Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to compensate for his own lack of foreign policy experience. But who will compensate for their combined lack of business, executive, economic or military experience? Mr. Biden is a legislator, too. What has he ever run besides a committee? Mr. Obama’s momentum has slowed noticeably and Mr. McCain’s campaign is capitalizing on the doubts being raised over Obama’s readiness to assume the most powerful and responsible office in the world. Much of his support comes from younger voters but this segment of the population has historically not been a reliable source of actual votes on Election Day. Their enthusiasm may well peak before then and they just may not bother to show up at the polls in the numbers expected. As Election Day approaches, more Americans may realize that in a dangerous and complex world, experience and judgment matter most. Oratory, optimism and youth may win media attention, but experience and judgment matter more in the real world. CRO copyright 2008 J. F. Kelly, Jr.

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