CBSN

Column: Obama's Attack On McCain's Age Immature

This story was written by Joshua Sharp, Daily Trojan

In his new attack ad, Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama goes after Republican nominee Sen. John McCain for not using e-mail often enough. The ad opens with pictures of a disco ball, a clunky cordless phone and a Rubik's Cube (not sure why that's included).

Obama apparently didn't know, or didn't care, why typing an e-mail is a particularly arduous task for this war hero.

McCain can't type on a computer because of the torture he endured and somehow survived as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He also can't raise his arm above his head, can't comb his hair and can't tie his shoes.

That's what five and a half years of torture ropes and merciless beatings will do to a body.

Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer justified the ad by saying cyber-security is "one of our most serious national security threats," trying to tie in policy issue instead of admitting age was the issue they were really trying to raise. (A silly smear at best from a ticket carrying Joe Biden, who's served a decade longer than McCain.)

And there is a real vulnerability for Obama in making this shameful attack, launched in the now-annual return to partisan politics the day after 9/11.

As the National Review's Jonah Goldberg mocked, "The McCain campaign can just as easily say Obama can't understand first order national security issues because he's never fired a rifle, flown a plane, commanded men in battle or faced an enemy."

Are these things petty? Yes.

Do Americans have real issues to discuss? Definitely.

But since Obama can't bear to ignore it, let's finally address this age issue. As America's youngest eligible voters, we college students should be the most skeptical.

First of all, McCain has proven himself plenty capable in the Senate and in ways Obama hasn't. Just as issues matter more than distractions, results matter more than method. McCain's preference of pen and paper has not stopped him from being involved in almost every major national security decision this country has faced in the last 25 years -- a laundry list of major bipartisan reforms, Senate compromises and numerous fights against corruption in both parties.

Obama might know how to IM his BFF Jeremiah Wright, but he's still a rookie senator who wants to play commander in chief.

Second, the worst-case scenario argument. Obama supporters, who only a month ago were insisting experience doesn't matter, would today point to McCain's vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. They say she doesn't have enough experience in Washington and is new to the national scene, and if anything happened to McCain, she wouldn't be a good first female president.

The hypocrisy is laughable. Until Obama is at the bottom of the ticket, their criticisms of Palin only insult their own presidential nominee. After all, nobody has to die in order for the country to be in Obama's hands if that ticket wins the election.

(Oddsmakers say the odds are strongly in favor of McCain living past 80 -- in other words, two terms. McCain's mother, by the way, is 96 years young and still going strong.)

Even still, Palin's experience in public office -- balancing multi-million dollar budgets, leading her state's top government regulator of a massive Alaskan energy industry and fighting for a new, long-delayed pipeline as governor -- has everything Obama lacks, including executive experience and a willingness to buck one's own party on the basis of principle.

Obama might be chairman of a Senate subcommittee on Afghanistan, but as he admitted in the primaries, he hasn't held any meetings. He's been too busy running for president.

Fially, McCain has plenty of energy. He's been working the campaign trail for almost 18 months, crossing the country for town hall meetings, primary debates, fundraising dinners and media interviews, while holding campaign strategy meetings and tending to Senate business on the Hill.

The days are long and hard, never mind the jet lag. If that isn't the most rigorous job interview process in the world, I don't know what is.

If McCain can handle that, he'll have no problems keeping up with the rigors of being president and understanding the issues facing this country, by e-mail or otherwise.

Final word comes from Goldberg:

"I guess it's an outrage that the blind governor of New York David Paterson doesn't know how to drive a car. After all, transportation issues are pretty important."