Roger L. Simon

News form the Front: Of Sniffer Dogs and Jon Voight

It’s a rainy day here in Kauai (I know – tough gazook!) so I have had a chance to cruise around the Net a bit.  ABC is reporting an uptick in terror concern: U.S. Headed for ‘Heightened Alert’ Stage.  Since all politics is local, I can report that I noticed something odd myself when journeying back and forth on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle ferry last week – a heightened presence of bomb-smelling sniffer dogs. These cute fellows were a heavy presence, nosing out the trunks of the cars lined up for the ferry on both ends.  Being an interloper from LA, I can’t be sure if this uptick was significant, but there were more dogs in evidence than I can remember, having traveled the route on over a dozen occasions now.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama seems to adopting a foreign policy best described as “McCain lite.”  Technically, Obama doesn’t get intelligence estimates until he is officially nominated but does he know something we don’t know?  Or is he just reading the normal tea leaves and sashaying to the center for election purposes?  Certainly the latter, but possibly the former.  But what does this make Obama the man?  Who is he really?

Jon Voight, one of Hollywood’s more outspoken figures on the center-right, is skeptical: “Sen. Barack Obama has grown up with the teaching of very angry, militant white and black people: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Rev. Michael Pfleger. We cannot say we are not affected by teachers who are militant and angry. We know too well that we become like them, and Mr. Obama will run this country in their mindset.”

Jon has a point, but actually I think Obama is more confused than that.  We have all been subjected to various influences – it becomes a question of how we process them, how we decide to react.  Obama appears to be one of those guys who stands back, waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, then he sways one way or the other according to the moment, masking his vacillations with high-flown rhetoric. I wouldn’t call him a socialist, as Voight does elsewhere in his oped, or anything else.  He doesn’t have a real opinion. There is, in the words of Gertrude, no there there.