Problems and Opportunities

            I read an article recently where the writer suggested John Edwards timed his confession of adultery to coincide with the start of the Olympics because media attention would be diverted. If so, it was a smart move because the fewer details the public reads about it the better for the former senator.  Adultery is bad; adultery that comes years after condemning Bill Clinton’s adultery is hypocritical; adultery committed against a wife dealing with cancer is reprehensible.  On this last issue Edwards is maintaining that his infidelity only occurred while his wife’s cancer was in remission, which brings to mind two thoughts.  One, even if that’s true it really changes very little about the equation.  Two, it’s a difficult to completely trust Mr. Edwards’ statements on the issue because he is now admitting that he had been lying about it for months.  Oh, and he’s an adulterer, which also impacts the ol’ credibility.

            Russia’s invasion of Georgia has further removed Edwards from being the media’s main focus.  And—this might be cynical here—it could also be a plus for another politician: John McCain.  His belligerence, and the threat thereof, might be a more effective deterrent to Russia than Barack Obama’s negotiation-intensive approach.  High-level talks might seem like a reasonable option when dealing with the possibility of a future threat (like, say, Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons).  There are those who disagree with the idea of holding talks with Iran, but strong arguments can be made on both sides.

            However, when a committed empire-builder invades a country with the intent of expanding his borders, it’s kind of late for talking to accomplish much.  Ask the Czechs and Poles how much talking helped with Hitler.  One high-ranking Obama supporter said that the United Nations Security Council needed to pass a strongly worded resolution to get the Russians to change their ways.  Ignoring the fact that Russia is a Security Council member with veto power—and could thus stop the passage of any such document—resolutions don’t work when they are produced by a body that is so amazingly IRRESOLUTE.  How many resolutions did they pass against Saddam Hussein?  Over a dozen?  Then, when the U.S., Britain, Italy, etc. decided to do something about him, the Security Council didn’t cooperate.  Hopefully, Senator Obama’s ultimate position on this will include a more vigorous type of diplomacy.

            According to people who study such things, the public has tended to trust Republicans more when it comes to dealing with foreign threats.  Rather than sit back and watch his poll numbers climb, though, McCain said in a recent interview that even though the Republican Party is committed to the Pro-Life position, hey, some Pro-Choice individuals for VP wouldn’t be so bad.  If McCain actually pursues such a course, about 20% of the Republican base will stay home on Election Day, and Michelle Obama will have one more reason to be proud of her country.

            At times it’s almost as if Senator McCain wants to create a new, moderate type of Republican Party.  You know, Eisenhower tried to do the same thing back in the 1950s, but it didn’t work.  And people liked Ike.