This Close to a Chest Full of Medals

Barack Obama is in full panic mode. His poll numbers are down. John McCain’s are up. Way up. For the first time, McCain’s advantage is outside the polling margin of error. McCain’s got a running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has vexed her opponents. Her poll numbers are higher than Obama’s (and McCain’s.) The attacks on her have backfired, and she’s giving her ticket tactical air support. And also for the first time, poll numbers show Americans now trust Obama and McCain equally on the economy, an issue on which Obama had previously held a double digit advantage.

Mayday! All hands, battle stations!

Faced with increasing signs of doom, Obama threw a bizarre Hail Mary pass. While appearing last Sunday on ABC’s "This Week," he told George Stephanopoulos that he had thought about joining the military: "You know, I actually did. I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii. And I have friends whose parents were in the military. There are a lot of Army, military bases there," he said. "And I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and, you know, honorable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam war had come to an end. We weren’t engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it’s not an option that I ever decided to pursue."

This is all kinds of wrong.

First, for a guy who supposedly poured his whole life into the pages of not one but two memoirs, there is not a single mention in either of them of a desire to serve in the military. Well, at least he didn’t dodge the draft. Maybe because there hasn’t been one in his lifetime.


Second, he says he decided against it because the Vietnam War was over and we weren’t involved in a hot war. So I guess Obama thinks peace and freedom just sort of happen by themselves. That we don’t need a military in times of peace, because, you know, there’s not a lot of stuff going on. That we only need a military when stuff does go down in the world, when the threat is on our doorstep, then by golly, we’ll whip a military in no time! He doesn’t seem to get that peace and freedom happen BECAUSE of a strong, deterrent force.

Just when you think you’ve heard all possible naivete from this guy, he hits you with more.

If this whole "I always wanted to join the military" schtick sounds familiar, it’s because in April, Bill Clinton reprised an old story about Hillary wanting to join the military: "I remember when we were young, right out of law school, she went down and tried to join the Army and they said, ‘Your eyes are so bad, nobody will take you,’" he said. This was Bill’s version of Hillary’s story about allegedly trying to join the Marines (not the Army) in 1975. Keeping the lies straight is exhausting.

What’s obvious is that when Hillary or Obama are feeling the heat, they trot out some ridiculous story about having wanted to go to boot camp. Hillary had Bill do it in April because she wanted to reinforce that she was more ready to be Commander-in-Chief than Obama was. Obama is now spinning a similar yarn because he’s losing traction to his war hero opponent.

When in doubt, Democrats put on an imaginary uniform and spin a wispy fairytale of "almost" heroics.

Somewhere on the campaign trail, John McCain smiles.