Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Courtesy of Senators

Senators Barack Obamas and John McCain jointly visited the site of the Wolrd Trade Center attack last week, to commemorate the seventh anniversary of September 11.

Their united effort was a model of senatorial courtesy, and a moment of brotherly love, I would say, seeing these two warriors with their heads bowed solemnly.

Too much has been said about the executive experience of Governors -- you would think Senators don't do anything at all. And yet, with complete certainty, we know that our next President will be a Senator - either Obama or McCain. We hear them refer to each other as "my friend," and sometimes they mean it. It is a long-held custom of the Senate to maintain cordiality.

A Governor can run his own ship and say that the buck stops here. but Senators work in a group. One hundred men and women, representing each of fifty states, come together to debate and decide our nation's laws. Sometimes, one man, among the Senators, can hold his ground, and by filibuster bring this body to a halt -- one man. Or sometimes one woman can make the entire Senate pivot over to her point of view.

But those are exceptions -- because nothing happens in the Senate by individual decision, but by the group, the Committee of the Whole, or the various subgroups. You work together with other people, or nothing gets done at all.

And courtesy is the tradition, so that when Senator Obama invited Senator McCain to meet in Manhattan on September 11, 2008, McCain responded. News sources say that Obama spoke directly with McCain on the phone, and they quickly worked out the details.

This was senatorial experience at work, and that's what we need right now in America -- people who can come to an agreement. Such matters as energy independence are not questions of principles, but require a pragmatic compromise solution. Governors don't have that skill, but Senators do.

As the campaign continues, Obama can take great pride in the flattery that McCain has shown toward him. I say flattery because McCain is largely imitating the major themes of Obama's candidacy.

"We need change," Obama said, and McCain agreed, "Yes, we do."
"We need to achieve energy independence," Obama said, and McCain agreed, although not in the details.
"We need to open opportunities for minorities and women," Obama said, and McCain heard that, so he named Sarah Palin as his Vice-President.

Obama has already accomplished a great deal, because his ideas have set the agenda for whoever becomes the next President.

And, to say something about the horse-race aspect of this campaign, McCain and Palin are peaking now, in September. I say let them, because my man, Obama, will peak in October, and he will win.

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