There’s a common thread here, as Sen. Obama is very popular no
matter what, McCain is quite unpopular no matter what, and the war
can’t be called popular by any stretch.

The Weekly Standard has this piece
about what the response of these two men may indicate for their
potential presidency. Read the whole thing, it’s more revealing than
sound-bite campaign speeches or news briefs. Here’s Frederick
Kagan’s conclusion:

For any voter trying to choose between the two
candidates for commander in chief, there is no better test than this:
When American strategy in a critical theater was up for grabs, John
McCain proposed a highly unpopular and risky path, which he accurately
predicted could lead to success. Barack Obama proposed a popular and
politically safe route that would have led to an unnecessary and
debilitating American defeat at the hands of al Qaeda.

The two men brought different backgrounds to the test, of course. In
January 2007, McCain had been a senator for 20 years and had served in
the military for 23 years. Obama had been a senator for 2 years and
before that was a state legislator, lawyer, and community organizer.
But neither presidential candidates nor the commander in chief gets to
choose the tests that history brings. Once in office, the one elected
must perform.

Analysis like this and serious discussion of the ramifications of
the different policies have been largely missing in this election so
far. We want to see more of it, to help us think through some complex
issues about where we are in the world right now, and where we’re
headed.

One place we are is in Iraq, and there’s no going back to redo the
whole thing. The best policy in light of current realities is what
we’re after.

There are plenty of us for whom neither political party (in their
current makeup) has the answers that represent our values. Congress is
doing nothing much that resembles leadership and noble government. They
have a chance to do something in the current version of the troop
funding bill. If opposition to the war is based on concern for life,
then this is a no-brainer.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....