November 1, 2008

Vote on Records, Not Rhetoric

By Donald G. Mashburn

Good football officials have a cardinal rule: Don’t call what might be, call what you see. Expanding that idea to something far more important, such as electing a president, would lead to a Voter’s Rule: Vote on records and facts you know, not on rhetoric and grandiose promises.

We should all keep that rule in mind when we vote on November 4.

Voters have many solid reasons to vote for John McCain. The record of the naval hero who withstood five-and-a-half years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war compound, refusing early release unless the Viet Cong agreed to release all prisoners who had been captured before McCain.

His distinguished naval career of 22 years, from pilot to commander, included commanding the Navy’s largest training air wing. His hands-on, decision-making experience as a combat pilot of aircraft carrier-based aircraft, was no small achievement, as any experienced pilot can attest.

But reasons for voting for Sen. John McCain for president go far beyond honoring and choosing a war hero. Even one whose story is one of great courage, suffering, and winning the battle for recovery, capped by 26-years in the U.S. Senate where his record shows he was always willing to put principle and country above partisan politics.

Let’s take a look at the comparative records:

Leadership qualities: On leadership, alone, McCain towers over Barack Obama, like a giant oak towers over a spindly willow sapling. McCain has been a leader. He has commanded. He has built a record of accomplishment in the U.S. Senate.

Obama has virtually no record in his first and only term as a senator, half of which has been spent running for president. He had no accomplishment of note during his time in the Illinois state legislature, except voting “Present” more than 130 times!

Know the candidate: McCain is an open book, and a known quantity. Obama is a man of mystery. Even liberal journalists who have covered him for two years have written they don’t really know him, or much about him.

Record of achievement: McCain has documented military records of his achievements, his battles, his missions, and his decorations for courageous service to his country, capped by 26 years in the Senate. Obama has produced only his own version of his early years. And, reportedly, the three – known – colleges he attended will not release his records.

Medical history: McCain has produced literally volumes of medical history, military and civilian. Obama produced a one-page statement signed by a doctor.

Medical histories may not reveal early habits and criminal activities, but as a naval pilot, John McCain would have shunned drugs of all kinds. Obama, on the other hand, by his own account, according to published reports, did multiple hard drugs, which were illegal!

Moving from the personal side of the life sketch, let us look at the experience and battles fought that help shape and build character in a man.

Courage and discipline: John McCain has fought for us, has suffered torture and many broken bones for his country. He has commanded men, including other commanders, and was honored and decorated by his country for his courage and devotion to duty.

Barack Obama has never run or commanded anything of consequence. Before he began his run for the White House two years ago, he was never in a position of making executive decisions, such as would be required of the head of a company, a military commander, governor of a state, or president. Obama worked as a community organizer in the southern part of Chicago.

People around the candidate: McCain’s associations with others have been largely of public record. His early life, and his military career, were heavily influenced by people with a strong sense of duty to country. His father and grandfather were Navy admirals. His loyalty to his fellows POWs is poignant, powerful, and revealing.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has had numerous associations that are troubling to many objective observers. The most troubling aspect is that the associations show a strong pattern of Obama being drawn to, consorting with, and being exposed to radical ideas from some very unsavory characters.

The more prominent Obama associations of concern – that are known – include his pastor and “spiritual advisor” of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of a black liberation theology church in Chicago. Rev. Wright’s hate-filled rants are well known by now, especially his accusations that whites brought the AIDS virus to America to wipe out the black race here, and his claims that America’s terrorist acts were worse than those perpetrated on this country on September 11, 2001.

It’s beyond sensible belief that Obama could, as he claims, sit under Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled, anti-American, anti-White teaching and preaching without hearing, and possibly absorbing, some of Wright’s ideas.

But Obama’s association, over several years, with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers is potentially more dangerous. That’s because Ayers was part of the Weather Underground, a terrorist organization that Ayers belonged to that planted bombs in several public buildings and banks.

Ayers, in more recent times, said he did not regret his terrorist activities, and said, “I wish we could have done more.” This is a man that Obama served with in leftist organizations. This is also the man who hosted a fundraiser in his home to kick off Obama’s run for the Illinois legislature.

Vote for a record of loyalty to America: No American politician has served his country more faithfully or gone through as much torture and hardship in the service of his country as John McCain.

If a president were to be chosen on his record of courage, character, and steadfastness, John McCain would sweep into the White House with a record vote.

By contrast, Barack Obama’s “record” has huge gaps, and his campaign handlers have gone to great lengths to keep it that way. Obama has, by his own admissions, associated with those on the far left who spouted Marxian verbiage about the overthrow of our government, the conflict with “imperialism,” and redistribution of the income taken or taxed from those that produce, to be spread among those that don’t produce.

From a summary of Obama remarks, gathered by Human Events, from his campaign comments and his books, Obama has been quoted as saying, “I chose my friends carefully, …the foreign students, the Marxist professors, the punk-rock performance poets”

The man: In voting for McCain, voters would be choosing a man of great character and courage, and one who for 55 years, served his country in the highest tradition of true American heroes and statesmen.

A vote for Obama would be a vote for a mystery man, largely unknown until he was plucked out of obscurity for a speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Before that, he was in the Illinois state legislature, prior to which he was a community organizer in Southside Chicago.

Hillary Clinton got it right in the Democratic primary, when, referring to qualifications to be president, she said, “I have a record. John McCain has a record. Barack [Obama] has a speech he gave in 2004.”

This nation’s future is too important, and the times too perilous, to entrust it’s leadership to someone with so many unanswered questions regarding his background, his lack of experience, and how his ideas and character have been shaped by some of the unsavory people he was drawn to over the past 20 years.

American would do themselves, and our great country, a great service by voting on records – and for John McCain – not rhetoric.