On Saturday, 081608, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama-- the two nominees for the office of president of the U.S.-- shared the stage of a large church in California. The event was presented as an "interview," but was actually more like a forum. The two men never met face-to-face; there was no real debate. The moderator asked the two the same questions; this tended to highlight the convergences between their conjectures re the future. This, deliberately or otherwise, down-played some of the most important distinctions that separate the platforms of the Republican (McCain) and Democratic (Obama) parties.
Both men performed splendidly. Their answers were to the point, clear, and they both spoke from lucid minds. Their presentations were very similar. But the substances of their replies separated them: John McCain still supports an endless war, which he once said could last "another hundred years." He thinks that the war in Iraq, shamefully initiated by the U.S. against a small third-world country, can be "won with honor." (Shades of Viet Nam!) He was terribly challenged to define the "rich," while Obama rather quickly and neatly defined the group as a family earning over $250,000-- a cool quarter of a million per year.
McCain obviously wants to continue the tax-breaks given to the rich, and, reversing years of his own record, spoke in strong support of commercial drilling for oil in off-shore areas of America. McCain seemed smooth and relaxed, but you could easily tell that his message was designed for the large audience; it lacked the very personal marks of a more personal conversation used between Obama and the narrator. To "warm" up his rather cool way of speaking, sometimes, almost aloof, McCain used the affectation "My friends" several times during his one-hour address.
As usual, McCain tried to distance himself from the ingloriously unpopular George Bush, but, as usual, again, he managed to come across, in several policy-areas, as the same ol' "McSame."
If the United States is at all serious about getting rid of the terrible, hideous, nightmarishly incompetent government of the past seven years, we cannot afford a "bush-clone," or even a "bush look-alike." Obama is right when he identifies change-- and major change-- as the greatest need of our country, and our planet.