A Commander in Chief

Unless he stages it, this will never happen to Obama:

At John McCain’s rallies these days, the talk is of taxes and Joe the Plumber and the financial crisis and mortgage relief and an end to wasteful federal spending. Those are all perfectly fine things for a campaign to emphasize; polls show voters of all stripes are overwhelmingly concerned about the economy. But at McCain’s events, you’ll also find people who’ve come for another reason, one that is slipping in the polls of voters’ concerns but is deeply personal to them: the war in Iraq.

“I just gave John McCain my Purple Heart,” Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks told me a few minutes after McCain finished a speech at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday. “I said, ‘I want to give this to you, sir, as a reminder that we want you to keep your promise to bring us home in victory and honor, so it will mean something.’“

“We fought over there, and we want it to mean something,” Eubanks continued. “We don’t want to come back and it just be all for nothing.”

Eubanks, 22 years old, knows as much about the war as anyone. On October 3, 2005, he was in a Humvee on patrol near the Syrian border when an IED went off. “I was thrown from the vehicle, took some shrapnel, landed on my spine and mashed it up a little bit,” Eubanks told me in a remarkably good-humored way. He was injured much more than just a little; it took him eleven months to recover. And then — then he volunteered to go back. In August 2007, he was hurt again in a strangely similar way. “Hit by a mortar, thrown from a vehicle — the same situation,” Eubanks told me. Now, he’s teaching recruits at Marine Corps Base Quantico — and walking with a cane.

These days, as he ponders the war and the meaning it has for him — he says he saw remarkable progress in Iraq between his 2005 and 2007 tours — Eubanks’s overwhelming fear is that it might all be for naught. “I think Obama’s just going to pull everyone home as soon as he can, despite what’s going on over there,” he told me. “I just don’t want it to turn into another Vietnam or worse where everything we fought for, and all my buddies who died over there, it was just for nothing.” Eubanks believes McCain — he called McCain “so inspiring” and said he was in awe of the senator during their brief meeting — will prevent that from happening.

“Hope and Change” just can’t match up to this – all Obama is just a bunch of hokum; McCain is for real, and those unknown, unpretentious heroes and hard working people sense this, and gravitate towards McCain. To be sure, Obama has suckered a few decent people into his ranks – following Lincoln’s dictum that you can fool some of the people all of the time – but for the most part it is elitists coupled with grievance-mongers joined up to African-Americans who are, understandably, solidly behind one of their own potentially rising to the top.

Never before in American history – and perhaps in the history of the world – has such a substantial man as McCain had to square off at a disadvantage against a lightweight like Obama. In a normal world – not crushed by lies as our modern world is – this never would have been a contest. And not because McCain would beat Obama easy in a fair fight, but because in a normal world Obama wouldn’t have won the Democratic nomination and would now have his hopes set on becoming Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should Hillary pull off the win. Its not that Obama doesn’t have many gifts – its that he doesn’t have anything in his background which indicates an ability to take on the awesome, global responsibility of being President of the United States.

McCain has it – from day one, we can all rest assured that the hand at the tiller knows the ways of the world and the possibilities and limitations of American power in all its forms. The soldier in the field, the business owner struggling to make ends meet, the mother wondering what sort of society her children will grow up in; all of them can count on McCain not necessarily to deliver the goods (no one can assure that), but that he’ll fight for them and keep fighting for them no matter what. And so a soldier hands McCain his Purple Heart, the gesture of a hero to a hero – of a man to a man. And I think that on November 4th, the people of America will choose the real man John McCain over the con job known as Barak Obama.