By Brigitte L. Nacos
Senator McCain and Governor Palin make great efforts to
exploit a perfectly prudent remark that Senator Biden made about his running
mate. Biden suggested that Obama would be tested internationally early in his
presidency. McCain and Palin want us to believe that Biden’s comment laid bare
Obama’s inexperience and the country’s vulnerability if the Democrat wins the
presidency. Nonsense! Biden was right in pointing to the likelihood that the next
president will be faced with a foreign crisis. After all, history has taught us
that new presidents tend to be tested early on by international foes. Convinced
that Barack Obama will become the next president, Biden did not speak
generically of new presidents but mentioned his running-mate—although his
comments were as applicable to McCain.
Since the Senator of Arizona is very much into the “war on
terrorism,” he should know that transnational terrorists in particular are eager
to force U.S. presidents to deal with major terrorist incidents shortly after they take
office. And in this respect, terrorist foes do not distinguish between
Democrats and Republicans. Thus, the attacks of 9/11 occurred less than eight
months into George W. Bush’s first term, and the first terrorist strike against
the World Trade Center
One could also argue that the downing of PanAm Flight 103 on December 21, 1988–exactly one month before then Vice-President George H.W. Bush succeeded President Reagan—was not only meant as a parting shot for Ronald Reagan but just as much as an opening salvo for the elder Bush’s presidency. After all, it fell on the new man in the oval office to deal with the horrific terrorist incident that caused the death of 270 persons—most of them Americans.
Unless he suffers from extended senior moments, McCain would
surely remember. Unfortunately, his much younger running-mate is unable to
refresh his memory.