This post by Ross got me thinking--why is McCain running a campaign based on the opposite of what the polls say, what common sense says, and what McCain himself has said on any number of issues? I don't think it's impossible for the GOP to win this election, but McCain's frame on the Iraq issue is terrible. By presenting the Iraq War as a choice between a summary withdrawal and staying in there for 10,000 years, he's making the summary withdrawal option much, much more attractive. Hell, even Bush has avoided saying stuff like that, even though he probably feels it. And most people, of course, want to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy.
Is it that McCain, despite (or perhaps because of) his favorable press coverage every time he voted against a Republican cloture motion, is convinced that being as against the conventional wisdom as possible is a ticket to victory? Has he started to believe the "Maverick" BS? Most people don't care about national honor in the same sense that McCain does--his conquest-oriented honor is more suited to the era of Napoleon than today. Most people don't think a failed invasion will be the end of America. I do suspect that he thinks that, deep down in his gut, most Americans don't want to lose this war. And maybe they would prefer not to. But most just don't care any more because they realize that it never had anything to do with protecting us, and the calculations to get into this war were less than honorable to begin with.
This is why I don't think McCain is a very good politician. He's gotten lots of favorable press, but surely he could come up with a better frame than this, and especially a frame that targets people other than himself? There's a very strange solipsism to John McCain--he seems to think that deep down, most people are like him--which manages the singular feat of being more simplistic than the Bush worldview. He's never really been in a close race for anything, so he lacks that experience. On the other hand, he has a lot of experience with getting beaucoup press for voting against the GOP caucus for kitten immunization or whatever, so he probably thinks that people really want to hear what they don't want to hear. He's made a name off of doing it, after all. Evidently getting beaten in Kansas and Louisiana and very nearly getting beaten in such religious right enclaves as Washington State and Virginia hasn't taught him that not all people like being told how to feel and how to be. McCain is a lecturer. A solipsistic lecturer. Plus a bad campaigner and all the rest. And I'm reasonably sure that he's not going to win this year. But we'll see.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.