Now that John McCain is the all-but-certain Republican nominee for president, there is one thing we know for sure about how the general election will play out: The Democrat is going to be at a serious disadvantage in the media. This will be true even if that nominee is Barack Obama, who has gotten better coverage thus far than Hillary Clinton. Reporters find his candidacy a compelling story, but that attraction has its limitations. When it comes to John McCain, however, it's pure love.
Our economic dominance may be threatened by China, India, and the European Union, but when it comes to the instruments of war, nobody else is even close. And it will stay that way no matter who, Democrat or Republican, gets elected.
In 1947, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, which in addition to creating the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency, consolidated the Army and Navy into a new department, first called the National Military Establishment and finally renamed as the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1949. The Department of War, which had been established in 1789, ceased to exist. As actual threats to American territory grew dimmer and dimmer, we eventually stopped thinking about what the word "defense" actually means -- or what a distant relationship the war-making machinery we constructed really bore to any sane notion of what "defending" our country would require.
Pick your tired metaphor -- take-no-prisoners, brass knuckles, no-holds-barred, playing for keeps -- however you describe it, the Clinton campaign is not only going after Obama, they're doing so in awfully familiar ways.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in Las Vegas after Hillary Clinton was declared winner of the Nevada Democratic caucus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
For the past few years, progressives have been saying that one of the most important things Democrats needed to do was to get tough. Republicans had been kicking sand in their faces too long, and the time had come to hit back just as hard. In my own contribution to this chorus, I started a chapter in my last book by quoting Sean Connery's character from The Untouchables: "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way."