Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. Negative

Pay attention to the candidates for a week. One of them is laying out ideas and plans for the future, talking about what needs to be done both in America and around the world and what he will do.

The other candidate is mainly talking about his opponent.

Guess which is which?

John McCain actually caught a break this week when the New York Times refused to publish his letter to them after they had published Senator Obama's letter. The reason was because McCain's letter was not, unlike Obama's, a thoughtful treatise on how to improve things, but rather was just another attack. And if it had been published it would have gone together with the rest of the steady stream of attacks that Senator McCain has been leveling (instead of actually plugging himself) over the past week or so. In fact the refusal by the NYT became a net plus for McCain. There is nothing that seems to rally the nutbag right behind a candidate faster than being attacked or otherwise dumped on by the New York Times. But had the letter been published it would have made it clear that McCain's main tactic in the election is to impugn Senator Obama, with little else he can say.

Now, granted this is a campaign and attacking your opponent when you are behind is standard strategy and is as old as politics itself. And while Senator Obama has refrained from more than a passing mention of Senator McCain most of the time, he certainly has surrogates (as does McCain) out there doing the job for him. The difference is that it is ununsual for the candidate himself to personally get out in front on the mud wrestling. That may be why McCain is toying with the idea of choosing his running mate early. But my guess is that he won't but will instead just continue launching the spitwads himself.

It also says volumes about McCain's lack of anything meaningful to say. His plans for the economy and continuing to stay in Iraq are virtually the same as George Bush's, a President who if he were running today would lose in a landslide. He's praised Bush's Supreme Court appointments and said he would appoint the same kind of judges. I wrote a post three months ago pointing out that McCain's website never even mentions the words "social security" one time. I went back there the other day and it still doesn't. The man is devoid of new ideas, other than to continue the present path of the Bush administration on virtually everything. So I understand why he doesn't want to talk about any of that, so what's left is to attack Obama.

Is Obama vulnerable to attack? Sure, all candidates are. But at least he has some new ideas and some new plans for doing something in the next decade that is different from what we've done in this one.

In the meantime though I don't think these attacks will succeed. McCain has been called a 'grumpy old man,' and he's doing everything to live up to that rap. Maybe after the election Bob Dole (another guy famous for going on the attack himself) will let him co-star in another of those Viagra commercials.

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