Based on their respective campaign positions and arguments I would suggest these possible ads or cartoons for McCain:
Obama depicted at one table with Ahmadinejad and another juxtaposed table with an empty chair and Obama's name on it and McCain sitting at the opposite end of the table.
Obama blowing air into his car's tire.
Obama Hiding Behind Speaker Pelosi showing her standing on a hill overlooking the ocean.
Obama at a card table seen throwing down a card with a black King of Spades face up.
Boomerangs carrying Obama's flip flops coming towards him with an above caption saying "Words Count."
and ads or cartoons for Obama:
McCain sitting under The Oval Office Desk chained to GW who is sitting in the desk chair .
McCain shown blowing out an enormous number of candles on a cake with singed hair.
McCain shown at a map of Iraq discussing troop withdrawals with the date 2015 on it.
McCain shown with a mop cleaning up an oil spill in ANWAR.
McCain shown with a gun protecting an underground Government Strategic Oil Storage facility
Looking at both candidates' energy arguments:
When it comes to Obama's energy program he wants to impose an excess profit tax on oil company earnings,then challenge the companies to produce more oil. Duh!
Obama attacks McCain for being in the Senate and doing nothing about energy independence yet Obama serves in the Senate and has done nothing as well but he has proposed that we use oil stored underground which is being saved for our national security in the event of a war.
Until this week, Obama opposed efforts to discover more energy on and off shore, as well as build nuclear plants. Then, while campaigning in Florida, Obama heard about a poll which revealed that over 60% of Floridians polled were willing to have their views obscured by oil rigs. Obama then changed his mind.
McCain has been reluctant to drill in Anwar because he felt an obligation to make nice with Greens even though all technical evidence demonstrated drilling in Anwar would not despoil the land. McCain has now meekly agreed to drill in Anwar.
McCain also proposes drilling off shore, digging for coal and building nuclear plants.
McCain's arguments are more persuasive if logic means anything anymore.
An intelligence source suspects something is going on between Turkey's Erdogan and Syria's Assad.
Because of Olmert's ineffectual governance, Israel is now perceived as another Gulliver and consequently, has lost critical initiatives on both the military and diplomatic fronts. War with Iran, Hezballah and Hamas is much nearer than it should have been. Israel could be paying the price that the U.S. might also pay following Obama's strategy of negotiate , negotiate negotiate.(See 1 below.)
An article suggesting what Obama's Foreign Policy may look like.
Former Senator Sam Nunn would make the perfect Sec. of State for Obama. Sam opposed the Gulf War, was not in the Senate during the Iraq War, has spent most of his adult political and professional life working against nuclear proliferation and providing Russian nuclear scientists with employment so they would not become like Pakistan's Kahn (Nunn-Lugar Act) and spends a third of his time with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Ga. Tech. Sam, along with former Sen. Boren, passed the Boren-Nunn Act which provides funding for students pursuing their language skills (National Security Education Program) and who subsequently work in the Defense Department and other government agencies lacking personnel with language proficiency as their pay back.(See 2 below)
Israeli Lebanon overflights may provoke Hezballah now that it may have missiles capable of striking IAF planes.
I ask what right does Israel have in flying over a sovereign nation's territory without permission? Israel claims it must for security and intelligence reasons.
Will Lebanon become the "tipping point or has Israel been checkmated by Gen Petraeus' surprise visit?(See 3 and 3a 3b below.)
Polling results suggest Obama's plane has stalled in mid-air. (See 4 below.)
In selecting a president Tony Blankley suggests "caveat emptor." (See 5 below.)
1)Ankara played key role in validating Damascus-Tehran pact and marketing a nuclear Iran
The intense exchanges afoot between Ankara, Damascus and Tehran in recent months burst into the open Tuesday, Aug.5 at the south Turkish Aegean resort town of Bodrum, when Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan entertained Syrian president Bashar Assad and a large party of notables.
Assad came fresh from his triumphant talks in Tehran three days earlier. The two leaders’ Aegean lunch was followed on cue by Tehran’s announcement that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would visit Ankara for talks with president Abdullah Gul on August 14.
Screened by his role as broker of indirect Syrian-Israeli peace talks, Erdogan had been busy raising the Syrian president’s credentials from international pariah to respected regional player and partner in the secret dialogue between the United States and Iran.
This was not a solo venture into back door diplomacy. The Turkish prime minister was quietly cheered on by US president George W. Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert were also in on the ploy.
Sarkozy put the plan to them both in mid-June when they visited Paris. He asked Assad to mediate between Iran and the West on the nuclear impasse, a role which Assad was happy to accept. He made a point of snubbing the Israeli prime minister to show how far he had gone up in the world. Olmert went along with his part of the plan, indirect peace talks with Damascus, heedless of warnings from his intelligence advisers that he was being set up to serve Iranian and Syrian interests at Israel’s expense.
Assad may be sitting pretty internationally but his regime at home is far from steady. The large party he brought to Turkey was led by foreign minister Walid Mualem, the leading proponent of a pro-Washington foreign policy, and its fiercest opponent Buthaina Shaaban, who is especially resentful of any sort of dialogue with Israel.
That sharp division in Assad’s immediate circle has not been bridged.
Assad’s affectionate talks in Tehran Saturday were clouded by the assassination earlier in the day of a most trusted aide, Brig. Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, his key liaison agent with Tehran, Pyongyang and Hizballah. There are signs in Damascus pointing to Suleiman having fallen victim to internal rivalries in the Assad regime, which would show his murder as another symptom of a storm brewing up in Damascus.
The three lead players in this emerging scenario are now poised on a threshold with a number of options:
1. The Erdogan-Assad talks may end without agreement on the next moves.
2. Assad may have brought with him Tehran’s reply to the six-power incentives offer for suspending uranium enrichment, delivered three days late. Thus, instead of addressing its reply to the European Union foreign affairs executive Javier Solana, spokesman for the US, EU, UK, France, Russian, China and Germany, Iran would be relaying it through Assad to strengthen his position.
3. The next round of the trilateral discussions begun by Assad at Bordum will take place during Ahmadinejad’s visit to Ankara.
4. Assad will brief Erdogan on the next steps planned on the Syrian-Israeli track following the go-ahead he received in Tehran from Iranian leaders.
5. Assad’s large entourage in Turkey may signal a surprise development.
2) What Would President Obama's Foreign Policy Look Like?
By Joel J. Sprayregen
Samantha Power, the glamorous Irish-born Harvard professor, was booted from her formal position as senior foreign policy adviser to Obama for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." The candidate claims to have more than 300 foreign policy advisors, but it is clear that Power -- whose advice Obama personally solicited -- remains close to the candidate. They text each other late into night; there are hints that Obama would grant her a high position, even a cabinet position.
Power publishes in the current New York Review of Books -- a far-left journal in which prolix professors routinely savage the U.S. as a shameful country and grumble about our having won the Cold War -- an article titled The Democrats & National Security, which offers a look at the mindset likely to guide Obama foreign policy.
Power argues that American voters -- fools that we are -- have been bamboozled into seeing Republicans as superior guardians of national security:
"This faith in Republican toughness has had profound electoral consequences. Since 1968, with the single exception of 2000, Americans have chosen Republican presidents in times of perceived danger."
In Power's Manichean view, all Republican presidents bungled national defense, even Eisenhower (she doesn't mention Ike's ending the Korean War and warning about the military-industrial complex). She faults President Reagan for believing "that doing away with an evil regime was more important than preventing nuclear war." Power fails to comprehend that Reagan softened up Gorbachev by taking actions she condemns, i.e., "adopting a war-fighting strategy, beginning a civil defense program, researching a missile shield, increasing the military budget."
Reagan's policies enabled us -- without nuclear war -- to do away with a regime recognized as inordinately evil in most places other than university political science departments. Power attributes Republican policies to the false belief that our adversaries are "evil-doers" whom we must "roll back," coupled with our arrogant presumption of "exceptional American virtue." She is indignant that President Bush in his 2002 National Security Address "used the word 'liberty' 11 times and 'freedom' 46 times." In Power's sophisticated view, we should not take pride in our freedom and it was wrong to believe that Stalin, Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung -- who murdered millions of their own people -- were evil. Was there no "exceptional American virtue" in going to war to roll back aggression, without seeking territorial aggrandizement, twice in Europe and once in Korea?
Power believes that 9/11 was not a watershed event compelling our Government to radically revamp strategies:
"September 11 gave hard-line conservatives an opportunity to apply their pre-hatched theories and from the start they sought to unshackle the U.S. from international agreements and to reduce reliance on diplomatic engagement."
Preferring soft-line liberal responses, Power apparently would advise President Obama to complain to the U.N. in the event of a repetition of 9/11. She condemns President Bush for "consistently ridiculing" the U.N. She says that a correct (i.e., Democratic) response to 9/11 and Saddam Hussein's defiance of U.N. resolutions would have been continued reliance on "diplomatic engagement" and the U.N., notwithstanding its failures, exacerbated by veto powers of countries which enjoy seeing us bleed. This surely constitutes the triumph of flawed memory over hope. Her myopia is so advanced that she claims "the U.S.-led invasion brought savage sectarian killing to Iraq."
If you don't know that Saddam gassed Kurds and slaughtered Shi'ites, should you be giving foreign policy advice?
What soft-line liberal thinking refuses to countenance is the remarkable success of our country in thwarting subsequent terror attacks on our soil. Like the Bourbons who remembered nothing, Power overlooks the agonizing post-9/11 tension in which we looked upon London and Madrid, fearing when the next atrocity would strike us. Advocating a "rule-based liberal order" and indignant at powers assumed by the President to prevent further attacks, Power -- like most liberals -- refuses to acknowledge that surveillance of communications from overseas and harsh interrogation (e.g., of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned 9/11 and slit the throat of Danny Pearl) helped achieve that success. When it comes to how Obama will "expose once and for all the fallacies in the conservative approach while putting forward a convincing alternative," Power is deplorably vague. All she can come up with is "talking early and often about national security" with plans for "retrieving loose nuclear material in the former Soviet Union or for assisting Iraqi refugees in Syria." This is change we can believe in?
That Power does not draw correct lessons from history is proven by her omission of the Democratic President whose achievements refute her obsession with "soft power," i.e. Harry Truman, who defeated Japan with nuclear bombs and saved Europe with the Berlin Airlift. It is not too early to reflect on parallels between Presidents Truman and the incumbent. Both were reviled by media and professors.
I do not know how much of Power's thinking is shared by Obama; that is part of the enigma of Obama, a man who does not have enough experience to be assessed fully. But Obama did seek Power out, spent four hours with her in their first scheduled one-hour meeting; no one knows what they text about late at night. Power and Obama agree that the U.S. would somehow be more secure if Saddam had remained in power.
Power's worldview is the academic strain of the "Damn America" virus of those ghosts haunting Obama's campaign, i.e., Rev. Wright and William Ayres. The thought that this academic loose cannon, who has made other scandalous remarks, might be an influential advisor to a POTUS is unsettling to anyone concerned with our national security.
3) ANALYSIS / This time around, Hezbollah aims higher
By Amos Harel
Just as they were during the first three years after Israel quit Lebanon in May 2000, Israeli overflights of its northern neighbor now threaten to become the main point of Israel-Hezbollah friction. During the last round, however, Hezbollah had no weapons capable of truly threatening Israel's planes. This time, aided by Iran and Syria, it seems to be aiming much higher.
Israel deems the overflights essential
for intelligence purposes. While it halted them when it first left Lebanon, it resumed them five months later, after Hezbollah kidnapped three Israeli soldiers, and never stopped them again. It was these flights, for instance, that enabled Israel to learn the positions of the long-range missiles that it destroyed on the first day of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. They presumably also provide clues to developments in Syria.
For Hezbollah, the flights were a threat, but also an opportunity: They provided a pretext for continuing its "resistance to the Israeli occupation." It continued its anti-aircraft fire until summer 2003, when one such barrage killed a child in Shlomi, and Israel's fierce retaliatory bombardment caused the organization to desist.
Now, however, it seems keen to reopen this front, even at the cost of provoking a harsh Israeli response.
The aerial front was Hezbollah's principal weak spot during the Second Lebanon War. Israel's air force did as it pleased in Lebanon's skies, from destroying the Fajr missiles to dropping special forces in Hezbollah's stronghold of Bekaa. Now, according to both Military Intelligence assessments and recent reports in the Arabic media, Hezbollah is seeking to close this gap.
Should Hezbollah install advanced anti-aircraft batteries, accompanied by modern radar, this would cause significant problems for Israeli overflights. And that in turn would score domestic points for the organization, justifying its refusal to disarm. Smuggling in such batteries should not be difficult, given the massive quantities of rockets and antitank missiles it has already succeeded in bringing in from Syria.
Which missiles in particular Israel is worried about has not been publicized. But in 2005, when Russia was reportedly about to sell SA-18 missiles to Syria, Israel protested vehemently, on the grounds that such missiles can easily be removed from their carriers, making them highly suitable for use by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
3a) Lebanon a tipping-point?
Israel is sounding the alarm: The fragile balance of forces in Lebanon is unraveling. And the world is playing deaf.
The Israeli-Lebanese relationship is reaching another critical turning-point; and not just over how Lebanon and Hizbullah are melding into a single new entity, with Beirut set to formally confer upon Hizbullah the right to "liberate or recover occupied lands" - meaning any territory it defines as "occupied," whether Mount Dov (the Shaba Farms) or Galilee. Lebanon is metamorphosing from hapless bystander to willing Hizbullah enabler, a transformation certain to have devastating consequences.
The even more immediate crisis is that unless Hizbullah's runaway arms-smuggling is checked, the Islamists may soon possess weapons that could force Israel into preemptive military action to protect this country's deterrence.
In the words of Defense Minister Ehud Barak: "We are warning leaders, foreign ministers, defense ministers around the world of the consequences of destabilizing the very delicate balance that exists in Lebanon."
THIS WEEK, the four-member Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team, dispatched by UN Secretary of State Ban Ki-moon to assess "the monitoring of the Lebanese border with Syria" - or, in plain English, to expose rampant Hizbullah arms smuggling - wrapped up its two-week mission. It will now submit recommendations to the secretary-general. We should pray that its report is genuine, and that the powers-that-be will sit up and take notice.
Israel continues to insist that UNIFIL countries are choosing to disregard evidence of Hizbullah smuggling because they do not want to confront the muscular extremists. Still, Israeli officials have been sounding the alarm. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Barak both held meetings with Ban last week to press for action against Hizbullah's shameless violations of UN Security Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. Livni declared that Israel "cannot accept" the flood of Hizbullah weapons smuggling. Barak was equally blunt, saying 1701 "did not work, doesn't work, and is a failure" given that Syria and Iran have moved "munitions, rockets and other weapon systems" into Lebanon.
How Damascus expects Israelis to reconcile its behavior - not to mention Bashar Assad's weekend dalliance in Teheran - with intimations that Syria wants rapprochement with Israel is anyone's guess. It also begs the question of whether Israel's indirect talks with Syria have inoculated Assad's regime against international reprobation.
At any rate, after his meeting with US Vice President Dick Cheney last week in Washington, Barak remarked that Syria's hostile behavior had led, in the last two years, to Hizbullah doubling or tripling the number of missiles in its arsenal. Hizbullah's armaments are smuggled from Iran via Syria, though some are of Syrian origin. The most lethal weaponry is Russian-made.
While Resolution 1701 demanded "the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon," Hizbullah has never been better armed. While it called on Lebanon to support the cease-fire, Beirut now explicitly threatens Israel. And while it demanded that "no sales or supply of arms and related material" reach Lebanon - Syria, Iran (and, less brazenly, Russia) are systematically flouting 1701.
WHY ARE Israeli officials raising the decibel level now given that Hizbullah has been violating 1701 practically from the get-go? And what to make of Hizbullah's menacing declaration last week that it would treat as "provocative" and "unacceptable" Israeli overflights of Lebanese airspace?
There is no denying that Israeli aircraft fly reconnaissance missions over Lebanon gathering imperative intelligence and monitoring Hizbullah's hostile intentions. Now that Lebanon stands poised to adopt Hizbullah's anti-Israel crusade as national policy, it would be ludicrous to treat Lebanese airspace as sacrosanct.
Hizbullah appears set to receive a new generation of anti-aircraft missiles that would jeopardize the IAF's intelligence-gathering capabilities. If, for instance, Syria facilitates the delivery of these Russian-manufactured, SA-8 self-propelled anti-aircraft missiles - or, more ominously, the SA-15 now operating in Iran - Israeli decision-makers may have to consider a preemptive strike.
No weapons at all should be reaching Hizbullah; but channeling dangerously destabilizing surface-to-air missiles that could blind Israel to the threats emanating from the north is simply asking for trouble. Responsible actors in the international community need to take Israel's warnings with the utmost seriousness and act to close the spigot spewing weapons into Lebanon.
3b)US general’s surprise Lebanon visit ties Israel’s hands against Hizballah
The US Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus, soon to be promoted to Central Command chief, arrived unannounced in Lebanon. Military sources report that he came to check out the strategic ramifications of Hizballah’s seizure on behalf of Syria and Iran of two strategic Lebanese peaks, Mt. Sannine and Mt. Barukh. Petraeus also sought the exact import of the Lebanese government’s policy decision of Aug. 4, to let Hizballah stay armed (in violation of UN Security Council resolutions) and continue its war against Israel.
Sources stress American intervention in Lebanon closes the door once again to any Israeli action against this new threat - in the same way Washington vetoed effective action against Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb and the buildup of Hamas’ war machine in Gaza.
Military sources question the value of yet another Israeli defense cabinet meeting on the crisis building up on the northern border, when Hizballah has been allowed to brazenly flout UN Security Council resolution 1701 of 2006 by taking delivery of quantities of smuggled Iranian and Syrian weapons and redeploying in South Lebanon.
During that period, the Israeli government stood by and failed to interfere with this unfolding menace and Lebanon’s takeover as a Syrian-Iranian outpost.
Wednesday, an Israeli security source ‘”revealed” that Hizballah had amassed 40,000 rockets.
Military sources first disclosed that Hizballah had built up its rocket arsenal to three and-a-half times its pre-2006 Lebanon War stocks. “Some of the 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israel targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away from the Shiite terror group’s launching pads north of Lebanon’s Litani River.
“Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them cover most of Israel except for its southernmost tip at Eilat. Using these two surrogates, Tehran can therefore make war on Israel and keep its hands clean. End of quote.
On June 12, the Israeli military intelligence research director Brig. Yossi Baidatz reported that Hizballah had constructed a subterranean storage system, partly in south Lebanon, for tens of thousands of rockets. Military sources added that they had been proofed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards against aerial attack.
From then until now, the Israeli military has not been called upon to take any action.
Then on Tuesday of this week, Israeli security circles were revealed to be at odds over whether Hizballah had already emplaced radar and anti-air batteries on Mt. Sannine - or not yet. (I reported, in an earlier memo, Hizballah had already deployed them on Mt. Sannine.)
Then on Aug. 2, after Israel made no move, the Lebanese Shiite terror group seized a second strategic peak on Mt. Barukh, thus acquiring its first capability to shoot down Israeli Air Force flights.
And still, the Olmert government sat on its hands.
So it is not surprising Hizballah has moved on to considering how to dispose of a fresh batch of Israeli prisoners from downed warplanes, or that the Iran-backed group was cocksure enough to manipulate the new Lebanese government into endorsing its continuing armed battle against Israel.
Had prime minister Olmert and his three likely successors Tzipi Livni, foreign affairs; Ehud Barak, defense; and Shaul Mofaz, transport - all of whom claim to be seasoned defense tacticians – resolved on proactive measures to curb Hizballah’s march from strength to strength, Israel would have been less susceptible to American pressure on Lebanon and Iran.
Above all, Iranian and Syrian officers and their guns would not now be ensconced atop Mts Sannine and Mt. Barukh.
4) Obama stalls in public polling
By DAVID PAUL KUHN
In the two months since Barack Obama captured the Democratic nomination, he has hit a ceiling in public opinion, proving unable to make significant gains with any segment of the national electorate.
While Obama still leads in most matchups with John McCain, the Illinois senator’s apparent stall in the polls is a sobering reminder to Democrats intoxicated with his campaign’s promises to expand the electoral map beyond the boundaries that have constrained other recent party nominees.
That gap between expectations and reality comes as Democrats enjoy the most favorable political winds since at least 1976. At least eight in ten Americans believe the nation is on the wrong track. The Republican president is historically unpopular. From stunning Democratic gains in party registration to the high levels of economic anxiety, Obama by most every measure should have a healthy lead. Yet in poll after poll, Obama conspicuously fails to cross the 50-percent threshold.
Or as ABC News polling director Gary Langer asked, “If everything is so good for Barack Obama, why isn’t everything so good for Barack Obama?”
Obama remains ahead, depending on the national poll, by low to high single digits. The Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, which randomly interviews at least 1,000 voters each day, has recently found that Obama leads by 3 to 4 percentage points.
In the first full week of the general election, June 9 to 15, Obama led by between 2 and 7 percentage points. Just short of two months later, registered voters have not significantly shifted their view, as Gallup finds public opinion still fluctuating between roughly the same margins.
“What’s remarkable this summer is the stability of this race,” Gallup’s director Frank Newport said. “In a broad sense, it is similar to previous elections.”
In Gallup’s last national poll prior to the 2004 party conventions, for example, John Kerry led George W. Bush 47 percent to 43 percent. In 2000, also in Gallup’s last national poll prior to the party conventions, Bush led Al Gore 46 to 41 percent.
Three demographic groups have generally kept Obama ahead in the past two months: African-Americans, youth and Hispanics. But a lead based on those groups is a tenuous one. The youth vote, notorious for not meeting expectations, must turn out in significantly higher numbers than in past elections. Obama must continue to win the black vote nearly unanimously and still turn out new African American voters. McCain must continue to underperform with Hispanics by about 10 percentage points compared to Bush in the summer of 2004.
McCain might also be said to have hit a ceiling himself. At best, he has only statistically tied Obama for fleeting periods this summer.
Yet in this Democratic year, the subject that dominates chatter among pollsters is Obama’s stubbornly slim lead.
If there is a primary explanation as to why the race has remained close this summer, it is that Obama has failed to make gains overall with white voters, who still cast about three in four ballots on Election Day.
Like Gore in 2000, Obama nearly splits white women and loses white men by a large margin, according to an aggregate of polling in June and July 2008 and 2000 polling by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.
Depending upon the week in June or July, by Gallup’s measure, Obama has roughly fluctuated between splitting or, at worst, trailing by about five percent with white women. In that same period, Obama has only won between 34 and 37 percent of white men.
In general—and with men in particular—Pew's data shows that Obama's gains with young whites compared to Gore in 2000 are offset by a weakness with older whites.
Obama also seems to have hit a ceiling with Hispanics. Latino support fluctuates between 57 percent by the latest weekly measure to 68 percent the week before—roughly the margin of Hispanic support that has marked the entire summer, by Gallup's measure.
What all this suggests is a general election that is much tighter than many analysts predicted and defined by far more stubborn levels of support.
As it stands, on August 3 the RealClearPolitics average of national polling had 46.6 percent of the public supporting Obama, putting him narrowly ahead of McCain. Exactly two months before, on June 3, that same average had Obama at the exact same level of support—46.6 percent.
5) He Is Who He Is
By Tony Blankley
It's getting tricky to know how to refer to he who presumes to be the next president. It was made clear several months ago that mentioning his middle name is a forbidden act. (Pass out more eggshells.) Then, having nothing honorable to say, Obama warned his followers last week that Sen. McCain would try to scare voters by pointing to Obama's "funny name" and the fact that "he doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills."
Now, putting aside for the moment the racial component of His warning, what are we to make of the "funny name" reference? Many people have "funny" names. Some people think my last name -- being very close in spelling to the adverbial form for the absence of content -- is funny.
Certainly, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's name is funny. Many on the left have had great fun with President Bush's last name. But we all have found our names perfectly serviceable and would expect people to call us by the names by which we identify ourselves.
But He has made it clear that the mere use of His name would be freighted with coded innuendoes of something too horrible to say straightforwardly. One has to go back to Exodus 3:13-14 to find such strict instructions concerning the use of a name. Moses explained: "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I Am has sent me to you.'"
So perhaps we can call Him, for short, Sen. I Am (full code name: I Am who you have been waiting for).
Another aspect of the now-infamous dollar-bill incident that has gone unmentioned is Sen. I Am's choice of the dollar-bill reference itself.
He could have just said He doesn't look like other presidents. Even that is a little too cute for the nasty little point He slyly was trying to make, but at least He would be identifying Himself merely with the universe of American presidents. But His overweening pride found such company too base and demeaning for Him. So He needed to include Himself in the grander company of George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Jefferson and perhaps Andy Jackson. (I doubt He had in mind Woodrow Wilson on the $100,000 bill or Grover Cleveland on the $1,000.)
Perhaps I shouldn't dwell on these matters, but the more I watch this man the more stunned I am at His overconfidence and towering pride. I have known a number of great and powerful men (and read biographies of many more), and they surely don't lack confidence or ego. But who among the great would have answered the question posed to the junior senator from Illinois a few weeks ago as He did? Asked whether He had any doubts, He said "never."
Is He so foolish as to think He has the world figured out to the last detail, or is He so proud of His intelligence that He cannot confess to ever having any doubt? Either explanation renders His judgment of dubious presidential caliber.
Here is a man who talked almost contemptuously of Gen. Petraeus. Explaining His differences with the general, He said that His "job is to think about the national security interest as a whole; (the generals') job is just to get their job done (in Iraq)." Of course, right at the moment, the junior senator from Illinois doesn't yet have "His" job, while Gen.
Petraeus, as confirmed Centcom commander, has direct responsibility for both Afghanistan and Iraq and everything in between and around them. But in the mind of Sen. I Am, He already is, while He thinks the man who is perhaps our greatest general in two generations is just another flunky carrying out routine orders. It is repulsive to see such a mentality in a man who would be president.
All of us have our shortcomings, of course. But there is none so dangerous both to a man and to those for whom he has responsibility than the sin of pride. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great recognized that pride breeds all the other sins and is therefore the most serious offense. St. Thomas Aquinas reaffirmed that pride is rebellion against the very authority of God.
Let me quote a private e-mail correspondent, who states the case better than I could: "Pride indeed is the cardinal vice -- it swings open the door to most of the other theological vices, and undermines the classical virtues of prudence, courage and justice. It thrives, not on what one has, but on what others do not have. And even when one has diligently practiced the most admirable virtues, there always lurks the danger that at some moment one will look in the mirror and say: 'Oh my! What a wonderful person I am!' Thus does the vice lunge from its hiding-place."
For a man, his personality is his destiny. If he becomes president, his flaws become the nation's dangers. The voters must judge carefully both the personalities and the ideas of those who would be president.