The Officer And The Gentleman

The calm and the storm: Senator Barack Obama as the gentleman and Senator John McCain as the officer, during the second presidential debate.  The final debate is on Wednesday.  (Photo: Getty Images)

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
October 14, 2008

The officer graduated 894th out 899 students at the Annapolis Naval Academy in Maryland and was a prisoner of war for almost six years in Vietnam.

The gentleman graduated first in his class at Harvard Law School and was president of the Harvard Law Review.  He then taught constitutional law for 12 years at the University of Chicago.  He was a community organizer in Chicago, fighting to eliminate asbestos from communities and fighting on behalf of churches.

In an interesting foreshadowing to say the least, the officer had a bone to pick with the gentleman, more than two and a half years before they would end up battling it out for the presidency of the United States.  For example, look at and note the contrast in the tone of the letter that the gentleman wrote the officer on February 2, 2006 and the response letter from the officer to the gentleman dated February 6, 2006.

The only base that McCain-Palin '08 is appealing to is the baser instinct within the wackos, racists and assorted ignoramuses -- the deeply hateful, cowardly and insecure elements lurking within Archie Bunker's closet. 

Archie Bunker at least was half way smart -- he didn't pick a wife the way the officer (or at least his camp) picked a running mate -- after meeting with her just twice (once in person).

And at least David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who ran as a Republican candidate for president in 1988, didn't run nearly as racist, hateful or dishonest a campaign as John McCain has here in 2008. 

During their only vice-presidential debate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, whose state is number one in rape, child molestation and incest, chided Joe Biden about "pointing backwards" but it is Alaska's governor and Arizona's senator who are doing just that, in true Alice In Wonderland through-the-looking glass fashion. 

Pointing backwards to the not-so-distant days of lynch mobs, riled up pitchfork crowds and the wayward, violent street justice of 1950's and 1960's America, in both the North and South.  In 1964 three civil rights workers went down to Mississippi to register people to vote, and were killed for their efforts to bring additional American citizens into the most cherished thing of all: democracy.  (A flawed film, "Mississippi Burning", featured the murders of the three workers in its opening few minutes.)

Today, the officer's camp is pointing backwards and disrupting democracy in America by falsely accusing a predominantly black community organizing group ACORN of registering black, white, middle income and poor voters in a fraudulent way, when in fact the officer's camp has been actively confusing prospective voters and engaging in anti-democratic methods by sending out confusing and misleading absentee ballot applications to voters in battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado and Michigan, engaging in voter suppression.  The officer's campaign has even sent e-mails to blacks in Philadelphia warning them that they would be arrested for outstanding traffic tickets if they showed up to vote on November 4, election day.  The mainstream corporate media is also doing the officer's bidding by helping to further confuse voters about ACORN, when in fact ACORN is trying to weed out any voter fraud.  The electronic media also isn't reporting what hundreds of local newspapers and even the New York Times is: widespread voter suppression by the Republican party.

ACORN, a 38-year-old organization that for each of those years , has registered 1.3 million new voters this year.  Most of these voters are likely to vote for the gentleman.  This is precisely what the officer's campaign is afraid of.  These properly obtained new registered voters are whom the officer's campaign is most likely to challenge on November 4 and beyond.

The officer shouts country first, but the reality is he's putting country dead last, not only with these scurrilous tactics to suppress predominantly Democratic votes the way that George W. Bush's campaigns of 2000 and 2004 did, but also by saying that if they continue to talk about the economy they will lose the election.

The officer's camp has avoided talking about the economy -- the very issue that Americans are most concerned about.  Hardly an example of country first.  Hardly an example of concern for the way the country's citizens feel about the issues that matter most.  After all, the officer's campaign manager said that this election "isn't about issues."

The officer has trumpeted support for veterans but he has voted against veterans issues many times, getting a grade of "D" from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against The War. 

The gentleman received a "B" grade, as did the gentleman's running mate.

(Photo: Corbis)

The officer's running mate has a husband who was a member of the Alaska Independence Party for seven years until 2002 -- a party which preached separation from the rest of the United States, just like the South wanted to secede from the Union in the 1800's, which brought about the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil -- the Civil War.  The AIP's now-deceased founder Joe Vogler, who either blew himself up with explosives in 1993 or was killed in during a sale of plastic explosives, once said that "the fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government . . . and when I die I don't want to be buried under their damn flag."  The officer's running mate appeared at the AIP's conference in March 2008, telling them to "keep up the good work". 

The officer's running mate was found to be in abuse of her power as governor of Alaska on October 10, 2008.

The officer's campaign slogan is reform-prosperity-peace, but the only things that have prospered over the last two weeks are fear and hate.

Correction: the entire campaign of the officer has prospered in rank hate, racist innuendo, fear-mongering, division, extreme dishonesty and the condoning of name-calling. 

In fact, the officer has shown intolerance to others throughout his entire political career.  His temper is hotter than Tabasco sauce.  His judgment is cloudier than a typical San Francisco day.  No one has to tell you that fellow Republican colleagues of the officer, most notably Thad Cochran of Mississippi, one of most conservative members of the senate, have waxed poetic about the officer's hair trigger temper.  Kenny Rogers would be proud of the 72-year-old officer, because the Arizona tantrum-meister loves to gamble. 

The officer has a history of treating women (including both his first and his second wives) with contempt, making crude "jokes" declaring that Janet Reno is Chelsea Clinton's father and that a woman would love to be raped by a gorilla.  One of his significant contributors in Texas, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, once "joked" that rape was like the weather: that a woman should just relax and enjoy it.  The officer voted against the gentleman's running mate's Violence Against Women Act in 1992 and voted against the Martin Luther King holiday in the 1980's.  The officer voted against equal pay for women saying that women needed more training and education before they could merit an equal paycheck as men.

The officer once admitted in late 2007 that he didn't know much about the economy and in early 2007 admitted that he never really loved America until he was deprived of her company.

The officer said that he suspended his campaign to try to help negotiate the bailout bill, even though he didn't suspend campaign ads or offices anywhere.

The officer told David Letterman that he had to cancel his appearance on the New York-based show to fly to Washington, when in fact he went eight blocks west in New York to live on Katie Couric's news show on the same television network at the very same time that Mr. Letterman's show was taping.

The officer once told a group of union workers in 2006 that he bet they wouldn't pick lettuce for $50 an hour in Yuma, Arizona.  They booed and heckled him.

The officer ran ads that did everything but call the gentleman the "n"-word. 

The officer ran false ads that all but called the gentleman a kindergarten child molester. 

The officer ran false ads that accused the gentleman of hanging out with terrorists, stopping just short of accusing the gentleman himself of being a terrorist (even if several of the officer's audience members didn't stop short, and other members shouting out "kill him" and "off with his head".)  After a week -- well, months -- of such vitriol, the officer who ran these ads all along, finally-- if reluctantly -- told the more unstable audience members at his rally that the gentleman was "a, a good man, a family man, a citizen . . . "

The officer treated the gentleman with disrespect in debate number one, refusing to look at him, save for a brief fleeting glance when the gentleman, who had the temerity to mention his name, acknowledged him. 

In debate number two the officer referred to the gentleman as "that one".

The gentleman has spent almost five months praising the officer as a genuine American hero, honoring the officer's service in Vietnam, even as many people who support the gentleman were upset at the gentleman for repeatedly doing so.

(Photo: Polaris)

The gentleman tried to kindly steer the officer from obstructing the second debate moderator's teleprompter last Tuesday in Tennessee.  The officer refused to budge, so the gentleman also walked into the moderator's line of vision in order to not make the wandering officer look foolish by himself.  The officer and his beer heiress wife left the debate about two minutes after it concluded, while the gentleman and his prospective First Lady stayed for more than 40 minutes after the debated ended, talking to the audience of undecided voters, taking pictures with them and signing autographs for them.

The gentleman has avoided heated and hateful rhetoric even as the officer continues to do anything but.

The gentleman told his own supporters "no, we don't need that," when his supporters began booing the mentioning of the officer.

The gentleman has continued to look presidential while the officer has continued to look pathetic. 

When the officer was asked this month by an editorial board at The Des Moines Register if there was a time where he hadn't been covered by a government tax-payer health insurance in his political career, he responded with a rambling response which included that he "never wanted to be an astronaut."   

And the officer who never wanted to be an astronaut, never answered the question.

The gentleman has never lost his temper in 20 months of campaigning.  The gentleman has graciously kept his head above the fray while some of the most vicious, negative attacks have been launched against him.

The gentleman, whom in his original August 28 convention speech had the line "failed Bush presidency", changed the line to "failed Bush policies".

The gentleman unveiled an expanded economic plan on October 13, 2008.

The officer, after his campaign surrogates said he would do the same, did not.

Can you guess who is the officer and who is the gentleman?

(Photo: New York Times)

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2008.  All Rights Reserved.
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