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Paul Hayden

The Bear is Still in the Woods

August 25, 2008

As Barack Obama continues to remind voters in those equivocal yet reassuring tones of his why he is completely unqualified to be president, John McCain shows why he should win this election by a landslide.

The contrast between the two men during the forum at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church was stunning. As usual, Obama was tentative, vague, stammered through his answers and was simply wrong on every issue. McCain was surprisingly quick, sure of himself and knew exactly what he believed - and why. When Obama was asked what he thought about the nature of evil in our time, instead of talking about terrorism, the invasion of Georgia or the danger of a nuclear suicide state in Iran, he rambled on about child abuse in America. Asked the same question, McCain immediately pointed to Islamic extremism and naked Russian aggression.

In view of that Russian aggression, as well as the other international minefields that will be waiting for the next occupant of the White House, the McCain campaign should give serious consideration to running the 1984 Ronald Reagan "bear in the woods" commercial.

Here is a transcript of the simple but effective commercial:

"There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don't see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it's vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear..."

The commercial ends with Ronald Reagan's picture and the words, "President Reagan, Prepared for Peace." Change that to McCain's name and photo and you have a commercial that would only have to run once in order to have the tongues of every pundit and political hack in America wagging.

It would also highlight Barack Obama's weak, pathetic first reaction to the brutal invasion of the democratic republic of Georgia by Vladimir Putin's Russian Army. Obama, caught like a deer in the headlights, first responded by telling the invader and the invaded that they should both "show restraint." (Is it any wonder Obama has boxed himself into a corner on the issue of Iraq and cannot tell - or won't admit - the difference between invasion and liberation?)

When looking at the Obama and McCain candidacies, consider the hot spots brewing in the world:

Iraq - A fragile, still-struggling democracy, the only one in the Arab world.

Iran - A country run by crazed Islamic extremists with nuclear material, thumbing their noses at the civilized world.

North Korea - A starving people ruled by a despot who has already figured out how to split the atom.

Venezuela - A South American nation run by an America-hating tinhorn dictator sitting on a sea of the world's most precious resource - oil.

China - An emerging economic and military colossus which, despite our best efforts to bring about reform, persists in persecuting its own people and supporting America's enemies around the world.

Russia - A third world nation with an aging arsenal of nuclear weapons, run by a cold-blooded former KGB bureaucrat who thinks he is the next coming of the last czar.

And then there is the shadowy specter of Islamic terrorism, most visible in the form of al-Qaeda, still run by the malevolent hand of Osama bin Laden, a seventh century barbarian who sees the struggle in terms of decades instead of the nanoseconds that characterize the American attention span. We demand that our McWars be over in the blink of an eye so we can return to watching the Super Bowl or the latest reality show; otherwise we whine until a naïve "leader" like Barack Obama arises to tell us what we want to hear.

On January 20, 2009, either John McCain or Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. Setting aside all of John McCain's aggravating faults, which of these two men do you think is prepared on day one to deal with the bear still lurking in the woods?

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Copyright ©2008 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.