I have to think that at least part of the reason McCain is down in the polls is because McCain and Palin rarely ever give you a reason to vote for them. They're too busy scaremongering about Obama. I saw McCain on TV this morning, out on the stump, talking about his own attributes and it felt like a positive change to me. It may or may not get the base fired up, but he comes off better for it when he's not spewing bile.
I have a hard time imagining how McCain and Palin would lead, if they were to get elected. Do they have a transition team ready? If so, is it going to be made up of the same people who are quoted as calling Palin a "whack-job?" McCain supporters, when they aren't calling Obama a terrorist, like to say McCain is the most experienced candidate possible. That some of them say this after being sent off to re-education camp *cough*Eagleburger*cough* is a completely different story. But the truth is that McCain has spent most of his time in the limelight as a senator. You can't credibly say that McCain has been a leader of anything for the last 8 years he's spent as Bush's repentant supporter. so the campaign is the best example we have of the actual leadership of these candidates. McCain is seeing defections left and right as a result of his decisions and erratic approach to leading a campaign.
As for tone, of course McCain is negative, to the point of ridiculousness. I don't particularly like that, but both parties engage in negative campaigning. McCain's campaign is overwhelmingly negative, and this seems to pull the base together. The evidence of this is that his biggest gains (where national "tightening" is occurring) is among red states that are very red. This tactic isn't working so well in the more purple areas. It almost seems as though McCain is trying hard not so much to win as to give Republicans reason to doubt an Obama mandate if Obama wins.
Negative campaign itself is a fact of life in politics, but the distortions are at a fever pitch at McCain rallies. Even for silly stuff, like Obama supposedly delaying the World Series (he didn't, although a football game was delayed when McCain's convention was going to preempt it). Stupid stuff, and it turns out to be lies.
The media, sensitive to the constant barrage of criticism from McCain, is going easy on McCain/Palin. I know this is against the conventional (conservative) wisdom, but in direct interviews, McCain is never asked tough questions about this claim of "socialism." I don't think McCain is getting it easier than Obama in the media, but McCain's ridiculous campaign themes offer so many opportunities for criticism that are being passed up. It's because the media is essentially easy on everyone.
On crying "socialism," the only question McCain is ever asked about that is "do you think Obama is a socialist?" McCain answers that some of the wording of Obama's answers hearken to the tenets of socialism. Since he refuses to answer directly, McCain should be asked a follow-up question: "If your advisers all agreed with a plan to save the economy, and some people felt that parts of it sounded like socialism, would you reject it or consider it?"
Even more simple, "Social security is, essentially, a redistribution of wealth for a social purpose. It could easily be described as socialism by someone like Joe the Plumber. Do you oppose this socialist program?"
Everyone knows that what McCain is saying is ridiculous, but it's painful to see him make such a fool of himself. And it becomes hard to take anything he says seriously.Posted by James at November 1, 2008 12:11 PM