As the build-up to the Iowa caucuses develops and poll results become more closely scrutinized, one thing is becoming all too apparent: biases and “favorites” are quickly (and sadly) trumping rationality.
As I support this argument, I implore you to understand that I am doing my best to set my own affiliations aside. That is to say that while I wear my Republican association on my sleeve, I am also willing to concede that there are Democrats who would clear the filter that I am about to present; for example, Joe Biden.
Point being: petty politics of much too little value continue to hold too much significance in the context of the harsh environment that will confront whomever becomes our next president.
Unfortunately, while that sentiment seems all too plausible to me (and others), for some* (*many) the dangers of reality simply are not important enough to surpass the “significance” of political influence.
Allow me to put forth a premise that I believe should be perceived as true universally: the single most important issue in this upcoming election will be national security. All things considered, national security is the foundation in which all other issues develop. For example, the hot button topic of the recent debates has been illegal immigration. However, illegal immigration, at its core, is essentially a national security issue. At the topic’s fringes, it is an economic and moral issue. Even so, without sound national security, the most devastating of economic or moral conditions matter naught. Nothing will demand the attention of the next President with so much regularity as the continuous protection of the citizens that he governs. National security is the issue.
For the sake of argument (and, more importantly, because I genuinely believe that I am correct), let us hold this premise to be true. If candidates are more or less equal on all other issues, national security should be the delineating factor. At the very least, let us not support candidates whom express vast weaknesses in their national security abilities. It blows my mind that six years removed from September 11th, 2001 and the American people are rallying behind Presidential candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama.
And let me state this forthright: the opposition to Huckabee and Obama is not the product of some long-steaming bias. For example, it is not the case with either of these candidates that I would suggest that I would forego my continued career in the military because of their hypothetical Presidencies. This is to suggest that, in short, neither of these two individuals is as bad for our country as Hillary Clinton. In fact, I will even go so far as to suggest that in a different time and environment either of these men could make for a fine President. Albeit, they would both be Presidents with traits (in one case socially and the other fiscally) that I disagree. But I imagine that in a world with far less prominent threats to America, these gentlemen could successfully lead the nation.
But not now.
Seriously, I spent nothing more than a couple years in the Middle East and South Korea and have studied international/religious affairs as an undergraduate. Yet, at 24 years old (yesterday) and wet behind the ears, I truly believe that I could hold my own in a debate against Mike Huckabee on foreign affairs. Senator Obama would probably fare better. “Better” in the sense that a Senator-turned-Presidential-candidate would only satisfactorily defeat a snotty kid in a debate focusing on the quintessential issue of the upcoming Presidency.
This is ridiculous.
And please, do not lob the “homer” title at me yet. I am not suggesting unequivocally that Fred Thompson is the strongest candidate on national security. In fact, if the measurement is international policy knowledge alone, I am sure that Duncan Hunter is the most qualified candidate. Of course, Senator McCain is also extremely strong on national security. And even from the Right, I must admit that there is merit to be given the man that is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, (D) Joe Biden. And, surely, I do feel that Senator Thompson is also fully qualified. Any of these candidates could ably navigate America through the turbulent waters ahead. There is no proof absolutely to suggest the same optimism for Obama and Huckabee.
And, as an aside, I do not believe that successfully upholding a community and, yes, a nation following the worst terrorist attacks to be launched against out country necessarily makes one a strong defender of national security. Mayor Giuliani has been successful at turning his ability to crush Mafiosos and heal a city with rhetoric into some sort of amazing foreign affairs guru-type image. This immediate association that is so apparent to others escapes me.
Nonetheless, the “momentum” of national security juniors Huckabee and Obama builds. A voting bloc so ignorant to the enormity of the national security issue at hand has me screaming from the roof tops in confusion, “Am I taking crazy pills?!?!?!”
PERSONAL SIDE NOTE:
To those that follow with any regularity, I am spending the holiday season in the D.C. area and am, in fact, staying on Capitol Hill currently and until the 27th. It is nice to have a change of the season’s weather for Christmas, and it is also nice to find a politically charged climate in which to engage in lively discussion.