5.15.2008 | Everything’s going to be OK … eventually


McCain: Keeping hope alive
As our nation's problems continue to mount, it seems Reagan's "morning in America" has reached full noon.

After a speech today that paints a rosy picture of America's future over the next four years, Senator McCain seems to have joined Barack Obama as pretender to the title of the candidate of hope and optimism for the future (Obama has expressed admiration for Reagan's tone in the past).

So now both leading candidates for the presidential nomination are competing to become the focal point of America's optimistic spirit. Obama has "hope"; McCain foresees strong economic growth and troops out of Iraq in four years — or, as one satirical image put it, whatever your heart desires.

It's interesting to note that McCain made his promises in terms of a four-year window, not eight, perhaps a choice that, consciously or otherwise, gives deference to his age (if Obama can be criticized for being too young, then it's only fair to bring up the opposite about McCain).

But McCain was not alone in his optimism today. His sentiment seemed to be echoed by President Bush, who — in Israel marking the nation's 60th anniversary — predicted that in the next 60 years there will be "free and independent societies” across the region. “Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, where today’s oppression is a distant memory.” Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas “will be defeated.”

White House spokesman Gordon D. Johndroe defended the comments as being realistic, pointing out that "If you don’t set out a goal for what the region should look like, then what’s the point in anyone sitting down to talk at all?"
We all hope flowers will bloom across the Middle East, but they have to be cultivated first.


McCain had a similar response to a reporter who called his speech a "magic carpet ride," saying "I don’t think it has anything to do with fantasy; I think it has everything to do with setting goals and achieving."

Well yes, have lofty goals. But to predict that they will be reached is getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, isn't it? (Along with Hillary Clinton's "Yes we will," that may be a running theme these days.)

If nothing else, we would hope for a detailed explanation of how to get there. We all hope flowers will bloom across the Middle East, but they have to be cultivated first.

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