In American politics, there's compassionate vision, trying to stop a gathering storm in its tracks nearly a year before the US government begins to address the problems. There's confronting complicated issues of race and class head on.
For those of you who didn't grow up in the South and have no idea what it's like dealing with racial prejudice on a daily basis, Mike Huckabee - yes a conservative Republican - sums it up pretty well:
"...And one other thing I think we’ve gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say “That’s a terrible statement!”…I grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack — and I’m gonna be probably the only conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you — we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told “you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus…” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me."
Meanwhile the pastor at the church that Hillary Clinton once attended has expressed public support for Wright. He said it is a "grave injustice" to make a judgment on Wright based off of "two or three sound bites" and criticized those who would "use a few of [Wright's] quotes to polarize."
Last week, Dean Snyder, the senior minister at the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington D.C. -- which the Clintons attended while in the White House -- released a statement offering a sympathetic defense of the totality of Wright's work.
"The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader whom I have heard speak a number of times," Snyder wrote. "He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize."
Spinning out of control
There's failure to accept responsibility for your actions or your words, then when challenged, flippantly dismissing the impact of false claims made repeatedly. Hillary Clinton told the Philadelphia Daily News: "... you know, I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement." See related videos here showing the "misstatement" was made on numerous occasions, including in prepared remarks. And then there's trying to get your rich supporters to pay for a re-vote in Michigan. Uh, hello - doesn't that smack of trying to buy an election?
And now Hillary's telling reporters that pledged delegates aren't really pledged - they can switch! Sounds eerily familiar - oh, yeah, remember when Bill Clinton said it depends upon what "is" means?
Grasping the basics
There's not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shite Muslims, yet claiming to be an expert on Iraq. On a taxpayer-funded trip to the Middle East, Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that the predominantly Sunni terrorist organization Al-Qaida was receiving training from the predominantly Shia Iran. He told reporters in Amman that he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." Moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
McCain made the same false statement, confusing the Shite and Sunni sects on two other occasions, which prompted the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Communications Director Karen Finney to release a statement: "After eight years of the Bush Administration's incompetence in Iraq, McCain's comments don't give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward. Not only is Senator McCain wrong on Iraq once again, but he showed he either doesn't understand the challenges facing Iraq and the region or is willing to ignore the facts on the ground."
Breaking the law
Meanwhile, McCain has violated campaign spending limits, breaking the law. And in London, a private fund-raiser was held for McCain, raising eyebrows about the legality of accepting foreign campaign donations.
And then there's complete and utter stupidity, aka rushing headlong into war without a legitimate reason and without a plan. Watch the PBS Frontline series "Bush's War" online.
Which qualities do you want in your next president?