Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Horse Race So Far

John McCain’s major intent in rushing his announcement of Governor Sarah Palin to be his veep last Friday, despite the paucity of vetting, was to steal the limelight from Barack Obama after his stirring convention speech and deny him any bounce coming out of his convention. It broke new ground for being classless but it was a clever strategy to get the jump on an opponent McCain knew would be eloquent and inspiring to the millions who turned on their TVs to watch him. Unfortunately, the Hail Mary pass proved to be too clever by half.

Sarah Palin did indeed dominate the news coverage over the weekend leading into the Republican convention. In fact since the GOP had to pretty much cancel their first night, Palin got more airplay than they bargained for and little of it very good. The lefty blogs excoriated her for her lack of experience and then came the pregnant daughter announcement, which caused even the mainstream media and ordinary moms to question her fitness for the VP office and McCain’s judgment for choosing her.

A quick glance at the polls also show that it didn’t even deny Obama his bounce coming out of Denver. Perhaps it could have been even bigger if not for McCain campaign’s determination to grab all the attention. But Obama has broken ahead, depending upon which poll you believe, by anywhere from 5 to 8 points. Here are the breakdowns from Lowell at RK.

Meanwhile, in a demonstration that the once straight talker and his campaign staff haven’t yet sunk to the lowest level of cynicism (the pit is apparently bottomless), Rick Davis, his campaign manager, has actually announced that they intend to make the election about personality rather than issues.
Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain's presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Post editors this morning.

"This election is not about issues," said Davis. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."
Davis added that issues will no doubt play a major role in the decisions undecided voters will make but that they won't ultimately be conclusive. He added that the campaign has "ultimate faith" in the idea that the more voters get to know McCain and Barack Obama, the better the Republican nominee will do.
So much for their hapless supporters in the blogosphere who have been begging the lefties to ease up and go back to discussing issues.

Actually, it’s what we prefer to do. Democrats are more comfortable being policy wonks than cutthroat go for the juggler attack dogs in the Rovian mode. And in an election where the general population is worried about the economy, unhappy about the war in Iraq, believes they are doing worse today than they did four or eight years ago, and wants to see the country go in a different direction, don’t you think it would actually be to the Democrats’ advantage to focus on issues not personality?

But I guess if Rick Davis forces us to, we’ll just have to keep talking about the airhead Alaska governor, her family soap opera, her lack of actual qualifications, and her beauty queen past. And her growing troopergate scandal. And the fact that she once was a member of a weird secessionist group and headed a committee to raise money for Ted Steven's Excellence in Public Service 527 fund. And actually never opposed the Bridge to Nowhere because she wasn’t yet governor when Congress cut off its funds.

Rick, Sen. McCain are you sure you don’t want to discuss the issues instead?


Anonymous said...

Politics 101. More people vote on how they feel about a candidate (personlity) than on what the candidate belives in (issues)

Lets talk about Obama and Biden

Lets talk about the earmarks and special projects for the Chicago hospital, Obamas wife, and for Biden's son

Lets tak about the hypocrisy of Obama flipping on FISA, being for and against Free Trade depending on the week, not supporting the 2005 energy bill and flipping and flopping so bad on energy I have no idea what his policy is week to week

Let's talk about the hypocrisy of having your campaign be about change and then picking a running mate who has been in the senate for more than 30 years

Let's talk about the hypocrisy of Biden voting against Gulf War I and for The Iraq Occupation

I agree with you that I would rather talk about issues so here are some question for you

1. What is the ultimate end game for democratic economic fairness. How high should the tax rates go on the upper end and how high should the handouts go on the lower end.

2. To go along with that where does personal responsibility and facing consequences fall under the democratic platform

3. At what point do you stop throwing money at a problem and instead change the approach to the problem

4. What is the plan if negotiation and tough talk fails. How do you know when someone is lying to your face.

5. Is there anything that government shouldn't be invovled in

6. Why is privatizing social s
security such a bad thing


AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Wow, so many questions, so little time - it's that pesky day job thing I mentioned elsewhere.

I'll try to answer a few at least, others require more thought and even some research, which I unfortunately don't have time for right now - don't mean it as a brush off; I think they're all excellent questions and I want to address them seriously and get it right.

I can't address the earmarks for Obama's wife, the Chicago hospital or Joe Biden because that would require more research than I have time for. But it's Sarah Palin and John McCain who made a huge deal over refusing earmarks and being reformers last night. I think her record, then, is pretty bad on this. I don't know if I oppose all earmarks (again, I need more research on the whole issue), but McCain/Palin are the ones making the big deal about it this week - and her record doesn't match the rhetoric in the convention hall in St. Paul.

As for the other questions, I'm not sure Democrats want to throw money mindlessly at problems -that's simply a GOP caricature of Dems. For all the talk about reform, it's the Democrats who want to change the direction of the country to improve the economy and restore prosperity to the middle class. The Republican are not offering any substantive policy that would do that. All they're offering is more of the same empty rhetoric we've heard for eight years while our nation has headed in the wrong direction - something most Americans believe, btw.

Reform, like change, are just words if you don't define what you'd like to reform and how you'd do it. Obama did outline what he means by change and what needs to be changed. I haven't heard yet what McCain would actually reform.

I'll give him credit for attempting to reform campaign finance law, which needed it. And for his stands on corruption. But he offers nothing new on the economy. Frankly, his policies are exactly what we've had to the detriment of the country for the last eight years. It is time to try something different. Rest assured, I'll be writing about the economy - economic policy is one of my loves.

What's wrong with privatizing social security - the volatility of the stock market. You're asking the most vulnerable people to gamble on it. If a 25 year old loses everything, he can earn it back and more. But can an 80 year old? The answer to that question is what's wrong with social security privatization and why Americans fear it.

Anonymous said...

First don't worry about the speed of writing back

I think this sort of hits on a major theme

Obamas reform is to spend more money on government programs

McCains reform is to eliminate earmarks and other government programs.

Now we can blow holes in both of these plans but its an important distinction to make

On Social Security the important point is that it would be a choice. Historically over almost any time frame the stock market has done better than Social Security rate of return. The Democratic line of thinking echos the familiar themes of government knows best for you and grandma will starve


P.S. This will be my last post for a while

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Too bad for the P.S. I will miss your comments and your challenges. Hope everything is ok with you and it's just a temporary absence from the comment sections.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm going on vacation :-D


AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Well, have fun then.