Some weeks ago the Economist (June 7th-13th) had on its cover a picture of John McCain and Barack Obama, accompanying the story entitlted “America at its best.” But as July 4th approaches, most folks I know are, au contraire, dumbfounded that these two men are the best we can do for Presidential candidates in a nation of 300 million: in one corner, a naïf with fewer than 2 years in the U.S. Senate and dangerously liberal views; in the other, a cantankerous Abe Simpson clone who’s hated by probably half of his own party (when my six-year-old son told me recently that McCain was going to win because “he scares Bin Ladin,” I replied “Son, sometimes he scares me”). What we need is someone who combines the charisma, global savvy and intellect of Obama with the tenacity, think-outside-the-box experience and ability to take a beating—literally—of McCain. There’s only one man I can think of who fits that bill.
Dr. Henry Jones, Junior. The guy who’s named after his dog.
How does Indy stack up against BHO? Well, he’s no less charismatic, appealing to the same college demographic as does the Democratic candidate—although Dr. Jones’s appeal would seem to be most effective in smaller venues, such as classrooms, where co-eds have been known to express their ardour for their favorite archaeology professor on their own eyelids. And whereas Obama’s cosmopolitanism is impressive—Kenyan father, grammar school in Indonesia, high school in Hawaii—Indy’s is no less so—Scottish father, travels as a youth in Europe and the Ottoman Empire, then of course his sojourns as an archaeologist all over the world, from Peru to Egypt to India. Finally, while Obama may have a Harvard JD, Jones has a University of Chicago Ph.D.—that’s at least a tie. And while Dr. Jones has no political experience per se, his years of maneuvering academic politics no doubt honed his political skills, such that by the end of his last adventure obtaining the crystal skull he had been named an associate dean at his college. Indy is no liberal, either: he has been a noted supporter of Republican Presidents (“I Like Ike” is one of his catchphrases), and his distaste for Communism is famous, such that he has been known to refuse to shake hands with Soviet military officers and in fact even once told one to “drop dead, Comrade.”
As for how Indiana Jones would stack up against John McCain….well, it’s hard to top McCain’s surviving 5 ½ years in a tiger cage in Vietnam. But not only has Jones come out on top in fist-, sword- and pistol-fights with Nazis, Thugees and Commies, he’s survived poisonous snakes, ancient booby traps, loincloth-clad Indians, runaway mining cars and even a nuclear bomb blast. McCain also has nothing on Dr. Jones when it comes to unconventional thinking and crossing the aisle: the former may have worked with Democrats, but the latter has worked with Arabs, African merchant captains, Chinese youth, Indian village leaders and his own estranged family members to outwit—as well as outslug—all the aformentioned villains. As for taking a beating and keeping on ticking: Indy has taken punches, and returned the favor, from bald Nazi muscleheads and Soviet spetsnaz, that would have killed your average pencil-neck academic quicker than a bad book review or even denial of tenure.
Many are huge admirers of John McCain’s military service, since he retired after 23 years in as a Navy Captain (0-6); but Henry Jones, Jr. served in the military in both World Wars I and II (albeit in the Belgian Army in that first one), and after the Second World War Dr. Jones got out as an Army Colonel, the equivalent rank to McCain’s Navy Captain. He was also highly decorated, like McCain, for as his Army General friend told some suspicious FBI agents “do you have any idea how many medals this son-of-a-bitch won?” Admittedly McCain, unlike Jones, can not only fly but also land a plane, but it is unlikely that this ability will prove decisive in choosing our next President. Unless terrorists take over Air Force One—in which case, who you gonna call? I’d say, the guy who keeps a bullwhip and 45 ACP Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector 2nd model revolver near him at all times, Secret Service rules be damned!
Finally, while no doubt a conservative, Dr. Jones is a highly-educated, multi-lingual, flexible one, giving the lie to the stereotype of the “anti-intellectual Republican.” (Actually, that myth has already been exposed by the likes of Dr. Newt Gingrich, Dr. Phil Gramm, Dr. Dick Armey—but the Left persists in denigrating the intellectual firepower on the Right.) Many on the Left might decry his seeming membership in the Orientalist camp of scholarship, but many more Americans—both Republicans and Independents—would see that as a plus, figuring a man with formal training and experience in Middle Eastern history would be the perfect leader for this time of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and globally against Islamic terrorists. While a President Obama would have tried to set up “talks without preconditions” to the black-clad Arab warrior flashing his scimitar, Indy simply dispatched him with one pistol shot. You tell me: which man would you rather have answering the White House phone at 3 AM? The choice is simple: Jones in ’08!