Obama’s been in the news courting faith voters, talking to evangelical leaders.

McCain? He’s been visiting Colombia and Mexico. Ho hum. Yawn.

I was bemused when one political writer wondered if the hostage rescue in Colombia had been “timed” for his benefit. Tres estupido.  What if the rescue had gone wrong? But of course, the rescue merely points out that those of us with family there know: That FARC is hemorrhaging and dying, and that repeated amnesties and reforms have done more to weaken them than most Americans are aware. This was merely another sign of their weakness, although, they have been busily morphing into pure drug thugs and will be around for awhile.

Indeed, for those who notice, the drug war in Mexico is getting mean. There’s quite a bit going on at the border, again getting little publicity, and it’s not all about illegal immigrants trying to sneak over to find a job but in a minor war of drug gangs against the Mexican police .

McCain’s visit to Mexico will probably not win him votes: indeed, a lot of the flash point of the right against Bush (and McCain) are their failure to hyperventillate against people without papers who just want jobs. Yet his support of immigration reform gets him little support in the Mexican Hispanic community.

But some Mexicans said they were still suspicious of McCain, despite his role as the author of the ambitious Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which failed in Congress.

Another issue is free trade. One problem with “protectionist” talk is that it could ruin the emerging ecomonies in both Colombia and Mexico. The Democrats are holding up a free trade bill in Colombia. McCain talking about free trade, and enabling Mexicans and Colombians to get jobs without resorting to emigration or growing drugs is a good thing. But in the press, no one seems to be noticing these things.

Finally, while Obama is getting headlines discussing religion with “evangelical leaders”, McCain is visiting Guadalupe. Some of the press made a big thing about going there with Jeb Bush (whose wife is Mexican American) but the visit again sends a message.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is visited more than Lourdes and almost as much as the Vatican, and the Virgin is a powerful symbol of Mexican religious sentiments.

But for Catholics, it has another more subliminal message: The Virgin is pregnant in the image, and so has become the symbol of the pro life movement.

All of this is political of course, but interestingly enough, McCain did not make any statement at the visit, and the press just shrugs and moves on.

Indeed, the press, who is making a lot out of Obama’s statement that he doesn’t feel late term (i.e. of a viable baby) abortions should be done for emotional needs is busy painting him as a pro life alternative.

So there you have it. An extreme left Obama gets the headlines, and a mainstream McCain is underplayed and criticized by right and left.

How much of this is bias in the news and how much is inept campaigning, it’s hard to say. But I watched as the press decimated Hillary with every minor defect criticized while ignoring that Obama is a light weight, so one doubts a Republican will do any better.

So far, the election is about Obama, and if you dare criticize him, you are a racist.

Yet when it comes to issues, I suspect that most Hillary supporters would back McCain, who is closer on issues to the moderate wing of the Democratic party than to the right wing of the Republican party.

The Obama machine however will prevail, since not only has the “move on/daily kos” types behind him, he seems to have co-opted the Clinton war room attack machine and a compliant media.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes about human rights issues at Makaipa blog.

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