In spite of their differences, both obvious and subtle, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have some things in common. For one thing, they both have the confidence to think they ought to be our next president. And, as the presumptive nominees of their political parties, they are both being dogged by vociferous elements of their respective parties.
Among other shortcomings, McCain is seen as insufficiently “conservative” for the Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party. Specifically, it's hard to tell what their beef is, except that McCain has occasionally opposed the wishes of Karl Rove and the neoconservatives in the Bush White House. That, while some from the oily bidness wing of the GOP seem to be worried that McCain won't show them the same deference as has the Bush administration.
After all, Halliburton stock holders have to feed their families, too.
Back in the winter Barack Obama was seen as insufficiently black by some, since then he's been cast as both a closet Muslim and a longtime member of the wrong Christian church. Which is to say he may be too black.
Now Obama is under attack from some supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton for being a usurper and misogynist. This group, every bit as strident as Limbaugh's Dittoheads, has come to be known by the acronym PUMA – standing for Party Unity My Ass.
The problem for the PUMAs seems to be that Obama is not sufficiently female.
With the conventions still several weeks away there's plenty of time for the ruffled feathers in both parties to be smoothed out. But that's no guarantee they will be.
That's because so much of what is driving the Republican McCain bashers and the Democratic Obama bashers has little to do with the two winners of the primary season. Their actual stands on current issues and their qualifications aren't really what is wrong with them, either.
However, what it does have a lot to do with for the bandwagon tire slashers in both parties is not having it their way. That's it -- they just didn't get their way.
Since the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have been beaten to death by post-Cold War hidden agendas, they no longer apply to politics in 2008 the way they did decades ago. For instance, who, other than someone in the Bush administration, really sees our sitting president's record as being particularly conservative?
So, are the Dittoheads, who dutifully voted for Hillary in primaries, really to the right of McCain? What about supporters of Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, are they right or left of McCain? Are the PUMAs to the left of Obama, or to the right?
No, pure ideology hasn't got much to do with most of the carping about the results of the primaries, or the coverage of politics by the media. What the Dittoheads and the PUMAs have in common today is their screeching spoiled child, foot-stomping attitudes. Since they weren't chosen as homecoming queens they have chosen to throw stink bombs at the pep rallies that precede the big game.
While there's nothing new about this phenomenon, there is something new about how much attention the bitter homecoming queen losers are getting from the press. Bloggers are playing a role, too.
Here in Virginia, there are anti-McCain Republicans and anti-Obama Democrats lobbing stink bombs into the political blogosphere with dogged regularity. (A cursory look at Waldo's VA Political Blogs aggregating site will confirm this.) Yet, other than being an odoriferous annoyance, it's hard to see what they are accomplishing.
Then again, being extremely annoying is frequently the chief goal of spoiled foot-stompers ... and, so it goes.