Palin shmalin — it’s about McCain

Here’s my (admittedly evidence free) take on the current media obsession with Sarah “rock star” Palin: it’s hogwash. I don’t buy for a second that Palin was primarily responsible for McCain’s post-convention surge in the polls. McCain himself was. Sure, Palin has helped McCain in important ways, especially in revving up the far right that makes up, not just the base, but the corrupt heart and soul of the Republican Party.

But I’d bet a year’s supply of moose burgers that McCain’s poll bounce isn’t primarily her doing.

More than 40 million people watched McCain’s acceptance speech. My guess is that at least 80 percent of them had never before heard the details of his captivity in Vietnam. Yeah, they knew he’d been a prisoner of war and had been tortured — but to most people the details were new. And this goes in particular for the story of how, when offered the chance to go home early, he refused, following, instead, the unwritten rule among the POW’s that no one would voluntarily go home before his turn.

Heroic stuff, no doubt about it.  And it makes a hell of an impact on you when you first hear the story.

My guess is that hundreds of thousands — perhaps even millions — of undecided voters, the sort of people who are not particularly committed to any political viewpoint, declared right then and there: “This guy deserves my vote.”

The good news for Obama supporters, of course, is that this long ago history of heroism, while certainly compelling, appears to be about the only thing McCain has to offer the voters this year — other, that is, than offering them one of the slimiest campaigns in memory.

And now McCain has played the hero card — played it for all it’s worth. And all it got him was a statistically tied race, or perhaps a lead of a point or two.

You see, the problem with running on a heroic résumé is that, at the end of the day, most undecided voters vote based upon their own self-interest (even if they can at times be tricked into misjudging where that self-interest lies). Winston Churchill is widely credited with saving England during the World War II (talk about heroic). Yet, when the war was over, the English people, wanting the social and economic reforms offered by the Labour Party, promptly sent Churchill and his party packing.

The list of American war heroes who have crashed and burned (sometimes unfairly) in elections goes on and on: John Kerry, Bob Dole, Max Cleland, and Douglas MacArthur and Wesley Clark represent just a few examples.

None of this means McCain won’t win, of course. But what it does mean is that when all is said and done, the vast majority of Americans are going to cast their ballots based, not upon who they think is most deserving, but upon who they think can most improve their lives (and this year that will primarily involve economic issues).

What this means for Democrats, of course, is that our job over the next 60 days is to show more effectively than we have to this point why that person is Barack Obama.

(By the way, right now is when the campaign needs support the most. I’ve sent him some money today: you should too.)

6 Responses to “Palin shmalin — it’s about McCain”

  1. juliinjax Says:

    Hurrah! This is sanity! This is the rational approach. Quit talking about the molehill that is Sarah Palin. Talk McCain, McSame, McBush, McCheney, McNeoCon. WE AIN”T STOOPID!! Or in the words of Dubya: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… We won’t be fooled again”.

    We’re not buying the used car salesman’s rusted out jalopy, no matter how many balloons and “homemade” Palin signs you drop on us. The POW emperor wannabe has got no clothes. The debates are coming, and so is the reckoning.

    It’s time for the ownership society to own up to their failures, and John McSame is the poster boy for their brand, by his own choice.

    Thanks, Steve, for not playing Their game by Their rules. Game’s OVER. It’s the End of the Day. And a New Day is Dawning. Obama Biden 08. Small donors welcome. Wear your T-shirts and buttons proudly. We’re taking our country back!

  2. ictjoe Says:

    Steve, good to see you back again with your humorous, over-the-top rightous indignation and commentary in which all Republicans are evil and stupid and all Liberals are knowledable and only interesed in the improvement of mankind. (Ah, if it were that simple.) These comments better fit some of your earlier posts, but I’m always slow at this; What this and recent election campaigns show is that neither party is able to raise its bests and brightest to the top. Both parties have good people this year, but nothing to get excited about - and the County will not go down the tubes, whichever gets elected. Both candidates have made astute running mate selections that complement them nicely. Biden is another Washington politician but has good experience and reputation. Palin is a popular governor who has good executive experience and spark. (Great to see McCain get someone out of Washington - Governors in the mold of Carter, Regan, Clinton, and George W are much better suited for these executive offices.) So I will continue to watch the candidates frail away, note your commentaries, and do what you have reminded me to do - send a contribution to my candidate!

  3. Again Says:


    and the County will not go down the tubes, whichever gets elected

    i wouldn’t be that sure - many hounds are on the hunt for the hare

  4. Simon Jester Says:

    Regarding the campaign’s slime: the GOP has started sending out absentee ballot applications to Dems and undecideds who have either recently moved or who have more than one residence (like snowbirds) in an attempt to get them tossed off the roster. This incarnation of ‘caging’ works like this. The return address for the app is to the OTHER distrct, not the one to which the app was sent. If it is returned, the voter is dropped because the address doesn’t match. These things have been turning up in many states. Spread the word, and be careful.

  5. Wye Knot Says:

    To itcjoe

    The country is already going down the tubes. The question is, will we put the plug in the drain or allow the Repugnicans to flush the rest of it away.

    I’m not sure where you were, but I was in CA when Reagan was governor. He was NOT a good governor, he was NOT a good president. Despite having a well paying job, I went further into debt during the Reagan presidency than any other time except the Bush Jr. presidency. W was not a good governor. He executed more people than any other governor and made fun of them on TV. Like every other business he ran, he ran Texas into the ground. He has clearly been the worst president EVER. Being a governor is not sufficient experience to be a president and Palin doesn’t even have much experience at being a governor. As for “spark”, Palin as president might well spark a civil war. Let us not forget McBush’s age and history of heart attacks. It could happen and I sure don’t want Palin as president!

  6. Larkrise Says:

    I sense a great deal of bitterness in John McCain. I continue to assert he has not dealt effectively with PTSD. Yes, he chose Palin as a palliative to the sore points that the Far-Right and Evangelicals have with him. But, she is also a slap in the face to thoughtful, well-informed people everywhere. She is the antithesis to Barack Obama; and that is what amuses John McCain. Did you see her interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson? This woman is clearly and painfully out of her depth. Naturally, the Right Wingnuts will applaud and defend her performance. What else can they do?! But, she was pathetic. Gibson did not bait nor patronize her. That is a stock excuse given by her apologists. She simply didnt know the answers. Why do people in this country value “having a beer” with a candidate over valuing someone with intelligence, a good education, a history of success in their undertakings; someone who is thoughtful, garners all the information pro and con about an issue that they can, seeks advice even if it doesnt agree with their pre-conceived notions, and doesnt surround themselves with cronies, flunkies, lackies, and incompetent fools? Why on earth do we need another “pitbull with lipstick”?! Except for the lipstick, we certainlyhave had a pitbull in Dick Cheney the last 8 years; and look what that has accomplished: Torture, billions lost in no-bid contracts, millions dead and wounded in Iraq, suppression of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, Guantanamo, Plamegate, and an energy policy that serves only Big Oil and Dick Cheney and George Bush, Inc. Enough surely IS ENOUGH!!! This woman does not have enough education, enough experience as governor, nor enough maturity as an individual to be one heart beat away from the Presidency. Just look at the Soap Opera playing out in Alaska over the brother-in-law, Troopergate affair. It is ridiculous and full of pettiness, vengeful behavior, and family feuding. It belongs on Dr. Phil.Then, there is Palin’s rigidity on women’s issues: Sarah Palin would have a woman tried for murder if she obtained an abortion for rape. Please…….
    John McCain has played a nasty joke on the public. He did it cynically and willfully. I dont want to have a beer with the leader of my country. I want him to make wise decisions, smart decisions, competent decisions. If he would rather have sherry with a well-informed diplomat, that is fine with me.

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