Thursday, October 02, 2008

How Does McCain Stop The Bleeding?

John McCain is going into the toilet in the polls. Call Quinnipiac an outlier but showing Obama up 54-39 in PA is a wake-up call to that campaign. This stuff is happening across the board, IN looks to be Obama and MO looks to be going that way. This isn't quite as stunning as maybe GA going Obama or an asteroid hitting NY,NY To be sure, McPOW had a rough week and some, what with the economy tanking and looking clueless and House Republicans telling him to **** himself and some particularly not very competent Palin without a script but that's what he's got. Every week won't be this bad, but there are 4 weeks to go and the economy isn't going to right itself in a month - probably that and a lot more so as an issue it isn't going to go away. I don't think he can get shot down again.

OK, he's got to do something. There are the Rev Wright and Ayers and Rezko and oh hell, his middle name and race. There is noise to be made there, stuff can be said that is nasty, and what does that gain? That is the trap for McPOW doing that, there is a down side; there are real problems staring us in the face, very real and very scary and to go to that well demonstrates a complete lack of anything else. Sure it would solidify the base, but that' stupid - they still support GWB. This would have to work with moderate Republicans and Independents and that just isn't likely. Moderate Republicans tend to be well educated and middle class and a large number of Independents fit that bill and further don't trust Parties. I almost hope he tries it - except for the aspect of the almost final debasement of US politics. Maybe his failure would finally discredit that game, but I hate to have to see it and the anger.

Sarah Palin cannot help McCain with anyone other than the GWB supporters and they have nowhere to go - certainly not Barr nor Paul, that is totally foreign to GWB, almost as bad as Obama. I don't care if she suddenly stops appearing incurious, unintelligent, unintelligible, and generally incompetent - it just doesn't matter. No voter she appeals to has anywhere else to go other than McCain. She could hurt him more, that is possible; that her pick portrays McCain as making a reckless political choice in the face of the security of the United States of America, to the potential real detriment of the country. It would be bad for the general perception to become "Country First" translates as "I'll do any damn thing for a vote."

If he could persuade GWB (or Cheney) to declare war or create some kind of foreign oriented disaster or terrorist attack on the US he might turn things around, might. This perception stuff gets set in cement if it lasts very long, a few more weeks of McCain going down or trailing badly in the polls is hard to reverse - that perception of failure is hard to shake. If he's down 7-9 points for a couple weeks, he's soon labeled as weak, a failure and that labeling spreads to things he's supposed to be good at. And if his reaction to such crisis is comparable to his on economics, people will run from him.

The McCain camp needs something big, a splashy plan oriented directly at average voters. Something with "I care" conspicuously plastered all over it and nothing for the wealthy. But, damn, that's a Democratic plan and who in this abortion of a campaign staff is supposed to come up with it? They all work for Obama - or would. Phil Gramm or Rick Davis??? It is really his only hope and no Karl Rove can do it, he's screwed, none of his people even know what the general idea would look like much less how to do it. Look, Republicans don't know what to do with this bailout/rescue except call for more deregulation which is about as popular as a porcupine in a condom factory.

Some really flashy foreign policy innovation might do the trick, but unless it was extraordinary and out of character it would only be seen as an exercise in distraction. Again McCain is constrained by himself and the Republican agenda. There's nothing there for him, anything he'd try would be a flip flop of such extreme nature as to be ridiculed.

John McCain is in a huge trap of his and the Republicans' construction. There are narrow limits to the Republican ideology and all the McMaverickism in the world won't get him forgiven for turning into a Democrat on foreign policy or domestic policy. It isn't as though the Democrats are sooooo right for what ails this country; it's that the Republicans suck soooo badly. I know, that's not a great choice, but what are you going to do? Sure, I like Obama a lot, but he isn't the guy I'd really want, whoever he is - he didn't run. He won't run, not in this climate. Maybe after two terms with Obama succeeding and getting a little more left with each success somebody could - or more likely I'm engaged in a generational struggle.

This country needs iconoclasts running and winning, people not afraid to smash stereotypes and drive straight through ideological barriers. Stupidity needs to be called exactly that and stupid supporters of stupidity need to be called out in plain terms. You think, well what is he talking about? Look here, I'm a gun-toting drag racing blue collar workers advocate Democrat with vast sympathies to the enrichment of the rights and privileges of all law abiding Americans. Yes, a distinctly heterosexual small town rural construction working advocate of treating gays as fellow citizens. That is what I'm talking about, putting the welfare of the citizenry ahead of narrow political and ideological and cultural interests. Why do we have a "War on Drugs"? To what possible purpose does this exist? I'm not talking about consequence-less abuse of drugs, people, jobs, the environment, etc; I'm talking about Prohibition as a recovering addict/alcoholic. Exactly, I haven't used any such substance for over 20 years because I destroyed my life with them, but that doesn't mean squat about anyone else and means I should use my head on the issue, not my emotional response. Where the hell are these people? Where the hell is the electorate that would elect them? MIA I'm afraid.

So what we've got is an almost middle of the road Barack Obama and a right John McCain who is caught in a trap and losing ground fast. Barack Obama's natural sympathies might be left but his intellect has taken the measure of the ground and formed him into a centrist. I have no idea what John McCain actually believes in or has sympathies with, I only have his votes, actions, and words to go from and he has no ticket to this electorate. If you know what McCain actually stands for other than militarism and wealth and whatever is convenient at the moment as long as it fits some sort of right ideology go ahead and tell me how he gets out of this trap.

I can shift gears because my core is solid, it doesn't vary, I stand up for the common person. I can be wrong, I backed NAFTA and I was wrong. I saw opportunities for workers to gain markets for their products and the reality was that the plutocrats rigged the game against them. There was a solid idea there, the problem was the execution was aimed at wealth and I didn't see it coming. Nobody that knows me thinks that my turning on NAFTA has squat to do with my core beliefs, I am safe there. Politicians can be safe, the same way for the same reasons; but they are not. They are not because they misrepresent themselves, they show too many faces to too many. I do not mean framing an argument, I mean lying. It is very simple, if you're for gun control you know I'm not, but you also know that the rest of the BOR and Amendments are safe with me and I won't impoverish you in the interest of a lobby -including gun manufacturers. You always know that we can disagree honorably, I will play fair. It isn't that damn tough. No, I'm not running for anything, I've done it and I've had enough of it. I could not win an election in this climate and I'll be damned if I'll be a sacrificial lamb. Maybe in 8-20 years I could and by then I'll be too old, so that's out.

What I can do is advocate. What I can do is help the best candidates. What I can do is be just exactly valuable enough to the right candidates to have some sort of reach to them - to get a fair and attentive hearing when I ask. What I can do is try to see that my candidates don't find themselves in the box McCain is in, that their political thrust keeps them from that box, outside of it and clearly on the side of Americans. G'night McPOW, I hope this is the death knell of this iteration of Republicanism.

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