Sunday, August 03, 2008

Speak for Yourself, John

In an election cycle where Republicans are reviled and the GOP candidate, John McCain, seems to inspire less excitement than a Droopy marathon on the Cartoon Network, it's hard for some people to understand how the race is still close.
--John Hawkins, Right Wing News

It may say something about my political inclinations that I would happily turn out with microwave bag of Trail's End Butter Light for a Droopy marathon. Especially if Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf opened for it.

*****
But seriously:
I've mentioned before that we has difficulty viewing YouTube without crashing our computer. A change in internet provider earlier this summer has eliminated that problem, so I can now fritter away all sorts of time goggling at YouTube vids. In the interest of giving this practice some redeeming social value, I have been making a point of watching speech clips and ads related to the Presidential race.

Last week I ended up at a cluster of McCain campaign ads, several of which have lately triggered some outcry because of their negativity. I don't see this negativity as necessarily a bad thing. If a candidate's actions and choices make his fitness for office questionable, it's only fair that voters be made aware of that fact.

While the ads are not exactly drawing-room conversation, I think the points they make are basically fair. Obama is about as far to the left as they come in the Federal government, and his governing resume is awfully thin. He has a demonstrated tendency to shift positions when it's politically expedient. He lacks humility. He seems, as I have said before, to have little compunction about turning on people close to him when it suits his purpose. Moreover, his obvious charisma, coupled with the apparent ease with which he exploits it, frankly scares the bejeezes out of me. (The last time any of my people saw somebody whip up crowds the way Obama does, my Grandma booked seats on the Havana-to-Miami and got her husband and daughter out of town one step ahead of la Revolucion.)

That said, I am annoyed by the ads--not only because they are a bit harsh, but because I think the campaign ought to be doing a better job. There is a fine line between airing unpleasant truths and embittered whining: some of these ads walk awfully close to that line. They also fail entirely to do something else that ought to be priority number one for the campaign: persuade the average voter that he or she really does want to see John McCain elected into office.

It has been said--and I think it's a valid observation--that the contest is a referendum on Obama--that the presidency is Obama's to lose. Given that, I don't think it's smart for the McCain campaign to shoot off its arsenal in swipe after feckless swipe at the opponent. Continuing this trend will ensure that the race remains all about Obama; consequently it won't be about McCain at all. Should Obama sometime in the next three months say or do something so abysmally stupid or inflammatory as to ruin his chances for election, McCain might get the persidency by default. But that's hardly a prudent strategy.

McCain is by no means in the catbird seat, and he needs to start acting as if he understood that. He is, by reputation at least, too liberal to be really enthusiastically endorsed by some conservatives; merely pointing out that Obama isn't much of an alternative isn't likely to turn them into fans now. Far-leftists are entrenched behind Obama or have defected to third parties. Moderate leftists may have loved McCain when he was a maverick senator, but that is no guarantee of their support. Undecided voters aren't likely to turn out for somebody who brawls with the opposition but fails to sell himself.

Many in the media favor Obama as it is, and McCain might as well resign himself to that. He should expect that Obama's record will continue to be viewed uncritically while his own is picked apart. He should not be surprised that negativity from the left is presented as legitimate criticism while negativity from the right and his campaign in particular is presented as evidence of his mean spirit and cynicism. But while the media will do what they will, they don't control the content of McCain's campaign ads. He can fulminate at them for apotheosizing Obama, thus giving them more than enough rope with which to hang him, or he can project his better qualities through positive messages that focus on his experience and his history of sticking to his guns and give voters a reason to support him.

It's not enough for the McCain campaign to persuade us all that we don't want to vote for Obama. Judging from the polls, there are still plenty of people who feel that way; it cannot be assumed, however, that they will all turn out for McCain. What the campaign needs to do is convince the undecideds on the right and in the center that they really do prefer him as president. Unless the campaign alters its direction to focus on what McCain has to offer as opposed to why we should all hate Obama and the fawning MSM, they might as well throw in the towel now. If they persist with the present course, Obama may not "win," outright, but McCain will certainly lose.

*****
Just for fun-- this circulating item arrived today via our brother-in-law. You'll have to imagine the Irish brogue for yourself.
Subject: An open letter from Ireland

An open letter from Ireland to all of their brethren in the States...a point to ponder despite your political affiliation:

"We, in Ireland, can't figure out why you people are even bothering to hold an election in the United States.

On one side, you had a pants-wearing female lawyer, married to another lawyer who can't seem to keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary against a lawyer, who goes to the wrong church, who is married to yet another lawyer, who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run !

Now...On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate 'Mc' terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship !!
What in God's name are ya lads thinkin' over in the States??!"


Anybody know where I can find a rim shot sound file?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

....

That's a little scary... My uncle-- McPatrick -- did the same line of reasoning... but phrased a little bit differently.

12:08 PM  
Blogger CMinor said...

Oh, gosh--d'you suppose he was the epicenter for that particular e-germ?

10:12 PM  
Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Since he's horrible at typing and doesn't much care for the internet, I think it's more like a classic Irish way of thinking!

I know it sure fits with most of the REST of Lakeview! (Place is about 50% County Cork or descended from 'em.)

10:16 PM  
Blogger DMinor said...

Does this mean we will soon see a name change for candidate O'Bama to court the Irish vote?

5:55 PM  
Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

((((on a serious note, if he'd stayed Barry O'Bama, I'd have much less trouble with him-- the change from what he grew up being called, when added to other behaviors, is a bad sign.))))

5:58 PM  

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