Monday, October 20, 2008


I was the recipient last Monday of one of those yuckky GOP robocalls, "alerting" me that Barack Obama had terrorist affiliations with William Ayers and was a danger to this country, and besides, he would raise my taxes. It came the morning after the final debate, in which Obama had squarely refuted both assertions publicly to John McCain, in front of millions of viewers. What's it gonna take, I wondered while I seethed, to get these liars off my back, hopefully forever? A big dose of truth serum laced with a jigger of Milk of Magnesia, maybe?

So you can imagine how pleased I was, having waited on the edge of my seat for "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, to hear Colin Powell wholeheartedly and passionately endorse Barack Obama. He was blistering about the reasons he felt he had to abandon his old friend John McCain and, in less than seven minutes, managed to lay waste to the Republican Party and it's campaign tactics of fear-mongering and divisiveness. About McCain's negative ads, he said: "It troubled me. Those kind of images going out on Al-Jazeera are killing us around the world." Yow!

Powell never used the word "vile," but I will. About McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate, Powell left no doubt that she was not exactly presidential material. And he soundly reprimanded both McCain and Palin for their Muslim-bashing: "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America." Bravo, Colin!

Sarah Palin, however, doesn't agree. When asked in an interview this weekend with CBN Senior National Correspondent David Brody, if she was still "okay with the 'pal around with terrorist line' or wanted to reign that back a little?" Palin responded: "No I would say it again, I would say it again because again it, it, according to the information that we have, the association that he's had with Bill Ayers wasn't just one or two time sitting on a board together where, No, there's been quite a few associations and events and meetings and discussion and emails and calls and to not disavow that too, I think is troubling." Whoever said Sarah Palin makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero was on the money--Sarah's syntax is iffy, to put it mildly. No wonder she needs fencing.

Another conservative, David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times who has praised Obama lavishly at times, and not long ago declared Sarah Palin a cancer on the Republican Party, continues to play cat and mouse instead of offering his unequivocal endorsement of Obama. Brooks just can't seem to bring himself to go whole hog, like Powell did. After praising Obama's calmness under pressure, his current reservation is that Obama lacks fire and seems averse to risk.

Averse to risk? What about running as a relative unknown against the most powerful female candidate in the US, and winning against all the odds? What about that risky trip to Europe and the Middle East to meet with world leaders, with so many people watching and waiting for him to fall flat on his face? What about his decision to give a (history-making) speech on race, instead of throwing his pastor under the bus? What about the decision to rely exclusively on donations from his supporters instead accepting public funding for his campaign? Not risky enough? What about the choice never to attack Sarah Palin, and forbidding his staff to do so, no matter how vicious or sneering she became? It seems like maybe it is David Brooks who is averse to risk, not daring to leave the safety of his Republican Party niche and take the plunge into full endorsement.

But perhaps his reluctance has some good reason--given the avalanche of venom that came raining down on poor Christopher Buckley, a columnist for the National Review (conservative magazine founded by his late father, William S. Buckley), who got sacked from the magazine because of his wholehearted endorsement of Obama. "I haven't left the Republican Party," Buckley said. "It left me." What Buckley meant by that remark was that the party to which he has had a lifelong alliance was no longer recognizable to him. In good conscience he could no longer give its candidates his support.

Last week 20 national newspapers endorsed Obama. So did The New Yorker, whose editors should get the last word here: "The election of Obama--a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first century America--would, at a stroke, reverse our country's image abroad and refresh its spirit at home."

Now that's an endorsement which, together with Colin Powell's of yesterday, that I, because of their truth and goodness, can wholeheartedly endorse!

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