Regarding Swinegate and Political Controversy

So Sen. Obama referred to Sen. McCain’s reform platform as “putting lipstick on a pig.” Now, let’s take a moment to step back and decide whether or not that was intended to be malicious. The clear answer for me is no. Was there a vague intent to refer to Gov. Palin? Maybe. Did the crowd likely make the connection and chuckle a bit? Obviously. But to tell you the truth, I would probably laugh a little too if I heard a politician refer to something as “putting lipstick on the pig.” And indeed, the people who heard John McCain use that saying, did as well. Am I writing this to defend Sen. Obama? No. I am not. You see, the problem is that Sen. Obama did a pretty good job of that himself in a high school in Virginia this morning. Rather, I am writing this to motivate Republicans to steer clear of these dangerous political games. I want us to run a clean campaign that focuses on the issues because I think that is the only thing that can give us victory this year.

The American public is tired of controversy after controversy. Politically, Sen. Obama has suffered more damning controversies than one man should survive and yet he has. Not only has he survived them, but in some polls, he still leads. Is this because Sen. Obama is an untouchable, celebrity juggernaut? Well…partially yes. But mostly this is because American’s don’t care anymore. They do not want to see us bicker over petty things any longer. American’s want real political action; they want change in the White House and even more so in Congress. This kind of change only comes with bipartisan action and with real reformers at the helm like John McCain and Sarah Palin.

But that is not a sufficient enough argument in itself. So what battles do the Republicans need to win? Americans trust us with Iraq more than Sen. Obama. Let’s face the facts here. Ever since he declared that he would begin pulling troops out of Iraq on his first day as President, Sen. Obama has done nothing but provide himself with more and more room and excuses to do less and less when that day actually comes. For once, America is succeeding in Iraq. Do we need to pull some troops out? Yes. Do we need to force the Iraqi government to take more responsibility? Yes. But are we done there? No. We are still a vital peace-keeping force in an unstable region and Americans know that. We cannot afford to compromise victory by losing a series of political games designed to remove our presence as quickly as possible.

Now Americans, want to hear about the economy, education, healthcare and reform in Washington. Unfortunately, these are Sen. Obama’s flagship issues. Fortunately, all he has are a collection of big government plans that likely won’t be passed by Congress and certainly can’t be paid for. But that doesn’t mean that we get to enjoy a platform of “less is more” and “his won’t work.” Americans still expect us to get down to the nitty-gritty so to speak and give them a real plan of action. Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have more experience with the issues that matter. McCain certainly has a better grasp on national security, foreign policy and reform in Washington than Sen. Obama or Sen. Biden. And try as they might to dismiss it, Gov. Palin brings executive experience with her. Her time as governor, though short, has given her far more involvement with policy implementation on education, the economy and health care. And actually knowing how to enforce that policy and accomplish goals is what the presidency is all about. The President is, after all, the head of the executive branch, not a glorified member of the legislative branch. The 2008 election is easily within the grasp of the Republican party, but only if we start being the party of the people more than the party of the Republicans. We cannot afford to get carried away with Washington-style political games. We cannot forget that we are a party for the people, not for Washington. It is our very nature to make government smaller so that we can give people more freedom over their individual lives!

We gained a bit of a juggernaut ourselves in Gov. Palin these past two weeks, and I want us all to maintain that excitement. The momentum born out of the Republican National Convention is not something that can be easily stopped. But in the mean time, let’s ensure the longevity of that support by fleshing out our platform and showing America exactly what we can accomplish if they trust us with the presidency again.