So much baggage follows both candidates

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 27, 2008


Not that long ago, conservative cartoonists (and some not so conservative) were having a heyday with the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Panels showed her at airport counters, boarding planes and even moving into the White House with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, sitting on top of suitcases as extra “baggage” she had to overcome.

A truth about elections, especially these days, is the baggage that accompanies all the nominees.

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John McCain is probably correct. There’s nothing to fear, really, about Barack Obama. His presidency would not end America as we know it.

The problem is all the extreme leftists who would exude glee, even feel vindicated or think their beliefs were ratified if he wins.

‘Most know any presidential election may nudge the nation in one direction or the other, but we won’t become far left or far right.’

To list a few is to leave out many, but I’d start with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The House speaker and the Senate majority leader are not impressive people. Pelosi is shallow and vindictive. Reid is a perfect example of a politician who never has an original idea and spends all of his time making the case that to be a Republican is to be disreputable.

The list would also include all who believe government aid can do what individual initiative cannot. The extreme left in this country continues to cater to the poor and disenfranchised, seeking and winning their votes and enacting policies that perpetuate dependence. It’s just too hard to separate those who need and deserve a hand up from those who want a handout.

Obama is probably correct when he calls John McCain a national hero, worthy of respect and thanks.

But McCain’s baggage includes the far right. If he wins, those who insist America can impose its economic and social will on the world — or become isolated from world events — will get the impression they are correct.

This includes folks like Pat Buchanan, who can’t make up his mind whether he’s a journalist or a politician.

The leader of the loudmouths is Rush Limbaugh, who is not a journalist or a politician but is a skilled showman in the P.T. Barnum mode. I have no doubt that Limbaugh is sincere in his beliefs. My problem is that people don’t see through his gimmick. He reads newspapers and Web sites and watches TV, then mocks media reports that don’t agree with his outlook while never questioning stories from the same news organizations when they support his points of view. He says those of us in the mainstream media can’t be trusted — but reporters have provided the fodder for his whole career.

It’s probably safe to say most people who will vote on Nov. 4 take everything with the proverbial grain of salt.

Some are so tied to the left or to the right they will give no quarter. Some cling to a single issue like gun ownership or abortion or ending the war in Iraq or “free” health care. But most know any presidential election may nudge the nation in one direction or the other, but we won’t become far left or far right.

The best approach, then, is to isolate the candidates — to think about them in terms of what they’ve said and done — and blank out all the hangers on.

That’s hard to do, though.

There’s a lot of distortion out there from the far left and far right that regardless of the outcome it won’t be easy for America to become centered once again.