Monday, August 11, 2008

Tire pressure guages and character

So, we've had an interesting incident. Barack Obama was asked what people could do to reduce energy use, and he pointed out that if everyone kept their tires inflated to the proper pressure and kept their engines tuned, we'd save more oil than Bush and McCain are talking about being able to get via offshore drilling.

And it's true, of course. But what was the McCain campaign's reaction? To insist that "inflating tires" was Obama's energy plan.

Now, the Republicans like to talk about "character". Well, what kind of a person creates a caricature of his opponent's energy plan, just so he can mock it?

Well, maybe someone who's afraid of a healthy debate on the issues. Creating a caricature is great for avoiding honest debate. Or someone who think he sees a vulnerability, regardless of the truth of the matter, and wants to attack.

But... wasn't John McCain some sort of "straight talker" or something? Someone who didn't play the standard Washington games? Didn't he stand by the Democrats when they had good ideas?

Well, maybe this is the same John McCain who wasn't afraid of calling the most rabid, intolerant evangelicals "agents of intolerance"... er, until he wanted their endorsement this year. Maybe when he says "straight" talk he means he talks straight out of one side of his mouth, and then straight out of the other.

More importantly, wasn't he going to be different from the other Republicans? Wasn't he going to be able to reach across the aisle, rather than engage in pettiness, like the Bushies have done? But what do you call the entire tire-pressure gauge thing, if not petty? Isn't it the kind of petty gamesmanship done by cliqueish groups in elementary school? Is that what we want in our political process?

Now, before any brings it up, sure, I know that Obama has taken shots at McCain. But has he ever stooped to this level of pettiness?

Who is showing respect, not just to his opponent, but to the American poeple?

Character does matter.

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