A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How McCain lost

John McCain would not have been a bad president. Contrary to Democratic spin, he would not have been another George Bush.
While he would have kept America in Iraq and Afghanistan, at home, McCain’s policies would have been far more liberal than projected. Remember, he would have had a predominately Democratic legislative wing to deal with, and any hardcore Republican policies would have been seriously tempered.
In retrospect, McCain’s strongest argument against Barack Obama was experience. It was an argument that had wings, and would have mattered when people went to the polling booth. Would have, until he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Regardless of all that’s been said about Palin, the one thing she really did to the McCain campaign, was remove the “experience” argument from the debate.
Had McCain chosen a more experienced running mate, perhaps a woman such as Elizabeth Dole, or someone from the middle, such as Joe Liebermann, or a former governor with more experience, a la Mitt Romney, the experience quotion would have remained in play.
Unfortunately for McCain, he chose inexperience, and ideology, catering to the hardcore right of his party, instead of reaching into the middle. The moment McCain made that decision, he also eliminated another major component of what made him attractive as a candidate. That component was his status as a “Maverick.”
John McCain gave into pressure from the Republican base. Mavericks don’t give in!
John McCain also gave in to the Republican base when he chose to run a “dirty” campaign. When his surrogate, including the Governor of Alaska, starting throwing around names like William Ayers, questioning the Illinois Senator’s religion and family origins, red-baiting, and patriotism, he lost something he’s always had throughout his many years in the Senate. That thing was his ability to reach across the aisle. When you start calling people “commies” and questioning their patriotism you don’t exactly encourage them to work with you.
When McCain laughed with the woman who called Hillary Clinton “that Bitch”, instead of challenging her, he alienated almost every woman who has ever been called by that name. When Sarah Palin did not respond to members of her audience when they shouted racist slogans, or called for Obama to be assassinated, the electorate, or many of them were sickened.
John McCain went along with his base because he thought it would win him the election. Once in office, I’m sure he meant to pursue the same policies and legislation he has championed his entire political career, including protecting the people from overt political intrusion by government. He would have sought money for education, and done what he could for the environment. In foreign policy, he would have chosen moderate secretaries of state and defense. The judges he appointed would have been less ideologically driven than those appointed by Bush.
John McCain would not have been George Bush. But when he picked up Bush’s team, and spouted Bush policy, and chose a VP George Bush would love, and began the politics of division, the real distinction between him and Bush became indistinguishable.
In the end, the only person to blame for John McCain’s failure to become President of the United States, is John McCain. A metaphoric gunslinger all his life, this time he shot himself in the foot, and injured feet don’t win marathons like this election has been.
John McCain could have gone down in history as a great president. Instead, he will be remembered for a failed campaign that was wrought with some of the most divisive politics and disturbing negativity ever.
The good news is: The Bush Era is over. Finally.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home