Weak Messages from Weak Leaders

View from the province — the “Tip of the Sock,” San Diego, California. The election season is debilitating. Everyday, Americans send our sons to do the nation’s bidding, yet we are being bombarded with diatribes against our doing so, how wrong our elected leaders are — at least as regards the administration; and we’re offered nothing from the new Congress whose approval has fallen to 17%. When was it lower, the Revolutionary War?

The pundits lambaste the Iraqi government while ignoring the fact that it took us thirteen years to get a constitution, with follow-on years for amendments. And only Indians and Barbary Pirates were taking a toll on our deployed forces. Did we clamor not to expand westward or stop international trade in the Mediterranean? No, “Go west, young man” and starting a navy were our answers back then. We didn’t flinch, we attacked. We didn’t flinch when Great Britain continued to pester our maritime trade — leading to the War of 1812. President Jackson, far from a militant, raised the naval squadron that finished off the Mediterranean Muslims demanding payoffs and taking people as slaves — and with little help from Europeans who wanted to continue ransom. Neither have changed much over the centuries, have they, Europeans or Muslims?

The electioneering speeches are tiresome. None has risen to the forefront in terms of charisma or message. Proven steadfastness under pressure is only historically evident in Rudy Giuliani. Hillary Clinton throws lamps when the pressure increases — her experience limited to dusty roads in Arkansas and dust free rooms in the Waldorf. Obama’s student council experience sticks by him. Other Democrat candidates are impressive for past service not future potential.

Few congressional candidates have much precedent for success: JFK didn’t accomplish much before his regretful assassination; Les Aspin got booted as Secretary of Defense by another late century incompetent. And, sorry, poor Lyndon was over his head from his emergency swearing in to failure in Vietnam. So, which remaining Democrats impress with a potential future as a world leader? Universal healthcare is a phrase. Getting out of Iraq is no solution to future combat, which will surely follow. Business doesn’t need lawmakers to do its job. The stock market tops 14,000 and Ms. Clinton wants to take profits away from companies. Huh? Where is this permitted in our constitution?

On my side of the political fence, there is a similar weakness of national message beyond Giuliani’s call to arms in the continuing war on terror. Whether or not any will achieve resonance with the greater majority remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s all tiresome and especially dangerous the way the anti-war kill support for our troops in harm’s way. Any time you quit a war, you lose something. Too many want to compare Iraq to Vietnam, but they’re dead wrong. The Vietnam conflict started in the 1930s; the Islamic contest started centuries ago. It will be longer and more deadly if the extremists gain control of another safe haven, like the Taliban had in Afghanistan. And should the radicals take over Pakistan, a nuclear event will occur. Finally, let us not forget Iran; which potential candidate has a plan for that troublemaker?

No, the election cycle has burst its tolerance limits. It’s too much, too soon, and too sad to contemplate where the country will go if certain candidates succeed.