Monday, October 13, 2008

The Contradictions of McCain's campaign

It seems that Sen. McCain cannot quite find a way to connect with average Americans during the last days of the campaign for President. He has yet another new stump speech, desperately trying to find any sort of message that will change the momentum of the race with Sen. Obama. First, neither he nor Sarah Palin have mentioned Obama's name or any reference to Bill Ayers the past two days. They realize that version of a stump speech and strategy was counterproductive and actually turned off some swing voters because the people want to hear what will be done for the economy, not personal attacks about things that happened a decade or more ago. Obama was smart to stay on the issues side, and rightly stated McCain simply wanted to divert voters' attention from the issues. Obama appeared more concerned for the average American, and he appeared more presidential staying away from character assassination.

So now McCain is back to issues supposedly, but that may be a war he cannot win at this late date. This past week of trying to bring Obama down instead of raising himself up could have been the last bit of precious time McCain had, and ended up wasting it. McCain is only adding on to the view he is erratic, with no clear strategy or message in a crisis situation that requires leadership, not speeches given after polling data is available. Contradictions galore now have enveloped the McCain campaign.

He was a major force for deregulation for decades. Now in the heat of the campaign and down in the polls, he wants us to believe he is a lifelong fighter for regulation and oversight. He was running on experience, but when that became inconvenient with the economic collapse, he is now a fight for change. He puts country first as a slogan, but chooses a running mate that was clearly a campaign first action. Just days before the crash of the market, he said the fundamentals of the economy are strong - The next day he says things are a disaster. He wanted an honorable, issues campaign, and we saw what that turned out to be in the past two weeks. He continues, even today, to insist Obama is simply going to tax us back to the stone-age, when Americans have paid attention and know that is an utter lie; Obama will give tax relief to 95% of taxpayers and also proposes a bigger tax cut than the McCain plan. He suspended his campaign to work in Washington (on committees he was not a member of...), then came back and said things would pass when suddenly that evening his Republican friends in the House did not pass the bailout; should a President not be able to handle multiple issues and crises at a time? Obama looked strong by staying engaged via technology, working Democrats to vote for the bailout plan, while still campaigning, and came in when appropriate and helped get the deal done. And Sarah Palin's line today was,

"There's anger about the insider dealing of lobbyists. Anger about the greed on Wall Street. Anger about the arrogance of the Washington elite,"

She is correct about the anger. But consider this: McCain's elite campaign staff is almost entirely made up of lobbyists (some 60 throughout the campaign), while Obama does not have any paid lobbyists. Greed on Wall Street was able to flourish in part because of the deregulation McCain has advocated and supported for decades. Is not a senator who has been in Washington for 26 years not part of the definition of Washington elite? I am not sure this is a good line to use since it works against Palin's own party candidate.

We'll see if his latest 'plan' and speech does anything, but with all the contradictions I will predict not. Next week, or perhaps sooner, we are likely to hear an entirely new message and plan. Americans are apparently seeing through all the pandering and desperation, which has been helping Obama.

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