Roger L. Simon

Chris and Barack: Zippitty Doo Dah!

It takes a lot of chutzpah to want to be President at the age of 46. I guess it take a lot of chutzpah in general, but, for me at least, the age problem is Obama’s, not McCain’s. In an era when 70 is the new 60, McCain’s age doesn’t seem a problem at all. [Aren’t you being a bit self-serving there?-ed. Maybe.]

What’s interesting in this, however, is that both men trumpet being able to cross the line into bi-partisanship but only one of them has actually done it. I have been thinking about that for some time and was pleased to see Chris Wallace digging into the question:

WALLACE: And we are back now with Senator Barack Obama. Senator, one of the central themes of your campaign is that you are a uniter, who will reach across the aisle and create a new kind of politics. Some of your detractors say that you are a paint by the numbers liberal and I’d like to explore this with you.

Over the years, John McCain has broken with his party and risked his career on a number of issues, campaign finance, immigration reform, banning torture. As a president, can you name a hot button issue where you would be willing to cross (ph) Democratic party line and say you know what, Republicans have a better idea here.

OBAMA: Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.

WALLACE: Such as.

OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation, I think that back in the ’60s and ’70s, a lot of the way we regulated industry was top down command and control. We’re going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.

Blablabla…. Actually, Obama has done pretty near Zippitty Doo Dah in this regard in real life – and what puny amount he did didn’t come within a country mile of “risking his career” on it, as Wallace described McCain. In fact Barack could be called a Profile in Extreme Liberal Traditionalism as opposed to a Profile in Courage, to channel that other forty-something who ran for President in a very different era.

Of course Obama hasn’t had the chance to prove himself at all in this. And therein lies the point. In this day and age, only someone of unbelievable arrogance would think himself qualified to be President at 46. You can tell me that Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War – the Cuban Missile Crisis and all that – but I was there then and I remember. We had nowhere near the divided country that we have now in the post-Vietnam era. Now… reaching across the aisle, which was once pro-forma, is far more difficult, while being if anything more crucial. Someone who has walked the walk in that regard has the potential to be an invaluable leader. Someone who has just paid it lip service and then walked the other way is suspect from the outset.

MEANWHILE: This should go viral, although I wish the tempo had been a little faster and they flipped a few more cards… oh, well…