Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tell Us What You Really Think, Mr. Will

George Will writes the column that the New York Times should have reported about John McCain:
Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Such certitude is, however, not merely an unattractive trait. It is disturbing righteousness in someone grasping for presidential powers.
I expect politicians to be intellectually ambiguous, ethically dysfunctional individuals. Success in politics requires it. But George Will's varnish remover reminds us all just what a long shot McCain's election is.

The sad fact is that John McCain has a paper trail. Barack Obama does not. This gives Obama, someone whom we all suspect may be enormously talented but who is otherwise untested by a single difficult decision, a huge advantage.

Leaving aside my preference for a president who will be as obstructive to legislation as possible, I wonder what precedent an Obama election will create. In 2012, will we have nothing but candidates with no record? And will that be an improvement to the American political process, or a catastrophe?

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