Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’
McCain: A Blast from the Past….He might have seen an Alien (and this is just one more thing that Sullivan doesn’t know)
[Here's a scoop that you won't find on Andrew Sullivan's site. He isn't sufficiently in tune with this stuff. Too much Oakeshott.]
Sometimes the familiar reveals itself in strange and wonderful ways when viewed in hindsight. Here is John McCain’s (in)famous anti-Obama ad “Celeb.” Not only does the line of attack seem even more ludicrous after the election, but take a good look at McCain’s picture as it “morphs” at the end. (Freeze framing the image is helpful here.) Tell me if you don’t think that he has just had a close encounter of the third kind, that he has come face to face with a “benevolent” alien? (His present claims about the stimulus package certainly suggest that he is out of touch, in a serious way. “What we need are more tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest aliens.”) Of course, it could simply be that Obama strikes him as an alien. I mean, he did refer to him as “that one.”
And while we are at it, let’s not forget how closely the Republicans, and John’s soul mate, George, have been to the aliens. When Obama gets through cleaning out the Justice Department, he should really have his people check this out.
“SPACE ALIEN BACKS BUSH FOR PRESIDENT”
Kate Phillips reports the following in the NY Times on August 20, 2008 (article here):
“A dividing line shows up in this [NY Times/CBS] poll, according to the analysis by Mr. Cooper and Ms. Sussman:
Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, was trusted more by voters to handle their top concern, the economy. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they were confident that Mr. Obama would make the right decisions on the economy, compared with 54 percent who expressed confidence that Mr. McCain would. When it came to foreign policy, the image was inverted: 66 percent expressed confidence in Mr. McCain to make the right decisions, and 55 percent in Mr. Obama.
The economy ranks far higher than national security or the Iraq war as a top concern among voters in the new survey, which indicated that respondents were more negative about the economy than at any time since 1992 when, as the article notes, Bill Clinton won the presidency with the admonishment that ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid’.”
McCain has hung out the bait: you hate the war, well I am going to keep making outrageous claims about winning it. Come and get me. And we will if we are not careful. Because he was wrong about the war from the get go and his foreign policy is a throwback to the Cold War. But it’s a trap. While most Americans agree that the war is bad news, it is not what they are mainly concerned about right now. Or more to the point, it is not the central concern of most of the undecided voters, those who will determine the outcome of the election. They want to talk jobs, wages, foreclosures, mortgages, retirement, and medical care. If Americans are basically confident that Obama can handle foreign policy, and the poll suggests that 55% of them already are, then Obama has crossed the most significant threshold. He doesn’t have to top McCain. He just has to make sure that enough people feel comfortable about his ability to handle foreign affairs so that they can go ahead and vote for him based on economic self-interest.
My conclusion: as painful as it might be for Obama and his supporters, they should avoid responding to McCain every time he raises the Iraq War and foreign policy. A better course: remind the American people as often as possible that the war is costing us 10 billion a month when we have no health care and the economy is tanking. (And they should also remind the American people that McCain said that he needed to study up on economics just a few months ago. A captain of the economy he is not.)
P.S. Yes, of course, there will be times that Obama and his supporters will have to respond about the war and discuss foreign policy, but this is different from getting sucked into an endless debate about the war. It was and is wrong, corrupt, and strategically stupid. But this is going to be a pocket book election unless something unforeseen and very big happens internationally. Focusing on the Iraq War and foreign affairs is not going to win the election for anyone but McCain. And then we will have to stare at this for years to come……
UPDATE: August 23, 2008. The selection of Joe Biden as the VP candidate should work beautifully with the strategy outlined above. The basic premise of this strategy is that Obama does not have to poll better than McCain on foreign policy; he just has to convince a majority of Americans that he can handle foreign policy well. The NY Times/CBS poll suggests that he has already crossed this threshold. Biden will not only help to make sure that he remains above this threshold, he will help Obama improve his standing. My guess is that the selection of Biden, and other moves that Obama will make, will push him well into the 60% range on the question of confidence in handling foreign affairs. (A 3-4% lead in the popular vote will almost surely translate into an electoral college win. That’s a 52%-48% win, without third party candidates included.)
As a professional philosopher what I am about to do here on this site, on this day, is sacrilege. Instead of making arguments against John McCain’s ideas (or lack thereof), which I do elsewhere, I am going to mock him. What I will be doing is a form of ad hominem argumentation, which is to say, arguing against the person and not his ideas. Definitely Verboten. But in my defense, first, McCain really doesn’t have any ideas. Second, he started it with Paris and Spears, comparing Obama to a gas pump (which was really the point of McCain’s gas commercial, think about it), and then by bringing in Moses. Third, this is a political contest, not an academic dispute. So, the gloves are off. If Obama can’t respond in kind, I can.
On this site, here and now, and in the coming weeks, you will find revealing insights into McCain the man. Each of these images have been cursor selected for their revelatory power. (Suggestions for additions are welcome. As a matter of fact, following Larry Geater’s idea, let’s see this as a contest. Submit your entries under Comments.) Stayed tuned. And in the meantime, take your pick and start circulating some visual memes around the Web.
On how to run a tight ship and be a Cylon, BSG’s Colonel Saul Tigh is John McCain (or vice versa):
On knowledge of the economy, John McCain is Alfred E. Neuman (with green $ backgrounds):
On military preparedness and guns: John McCain is Elmer Fudd
On general competence, anger, and far-sightedness, John McCain is Mr. MaGoo:
The Young John McCain and the Young George Bush. Can you tell the difference?
McCain before and after a recent election make-over:
John McCain having another senior moment, confusing the phrase “a thousand years in Iraq” with “a thousand year Reich.”
And then after “recovering,” some eight or nine minutes later, fantasizing about his place in the cosmos as a celebrity because of his win on American Idol:
Dear Senator Clinton,
After a difficult and long campaign, I want to thank you for supporting Senator Obama and for your efforts on behalf of the Democratic Party, past and future. We all know that a divided Party will simply set the stage for a John McCain victory. We can all agree with Reverend King.
“Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.” Martin Luther King, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3rd, 1968. [Italics added]
Perhaps you have heard that your supporters, or those claiming to be your supporters, have formed groups and begun web sites in order to undermine Obama’s chances in November. These sites are using your name. Let me give you one example, “Ex-Hillary Supporters for John McCain” <http://www.hcsfjm.com/comments5.html>. Here is an excerpt from one of the first postings (June 9th, 11:30 PM) on this site. [Italics added. Grammatical and spelling errors not corrected.]
“The belief that Hillary Clinton and Obama are alike or even close is just ludicrous.
1/ Mrs. Clinton is someone who has served this country with honor for some 35 years
2/ Mrs. Clinton has integrity OBAMA has none
3/ Jonh McCain respects Mrs. Clinton unlike Obama.
4/ Mrs. Clinton is not a racist or calls racist friends, unlike Mr. Obama whose friends are terrorist and anti semites
I could go on and on…….but the best thing about Mrs. Clinton that she will be there to clean out the barn after OBAMA gets soundly rejected by the American people”
Here is currently (June 9th, 11:30 PM) the third posting on the site:
“A lot of Americans have become so
insulated from reality that they imagine that
America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.
Pause a moment, reflect back.
These events are actual events from history.
They really happened!!!
Do you remember?
1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and
killed by a Muslim male extremist between the age of 17 and 40.
2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics,
athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was
taken over by Muslim male extremists between the
ages of 17 and 40.”
After enumerating more points about Muslims, here is how the post ends:
“Have the American People completely
lost their Minds, or just their Power of Reason???
I’m sorry but I refuse to take a
chance on the ‘unknown’ candidate Obama . . .”
Here is a third example from the same web page:
“I am disappointed that Hillary will not be the Democratic candidate, but there is no way I would ever vote for BHO, even if Hillary is VP. I would not vote for him simply for the reason that the man that represents the U.S., and should love our country more than any other, will not wear the most recognizable symbol of our country – the American flag on his chest. Oh, now he wears it..anything for a vote!
This man is dangerous to our democracy!
Please spread the word and encourage your friends to cast their vote against BHO!”
How many individuals on these sites are actually your supporters? I don’t know. I do know that many are speaking as if they are your supporters. I also know that John McCain is asking your supporters for their votes.
These outrageous and scurrilous attacks must be undermined. There is no one in a better position to do so than you. I ask that you denounce these attacks on Senator Obama and distance yourself immediately from web sites and organizations that engage in them. You promised that you would do everything in your power to help elect a Democrat to the White House in November. Here is one way that you can make a significant difference. Please don’t pass up the opportunity. Act now.
Here are a dozen reasons, a baker’s dozen, for why Barack Obama will win in November.
1. The Change Factor: Yes, you have heard it before, but it is for real. People are hungry for it, especially after the worst presidency in living memory. A key point here is that Obama has been on message about change from DAY ONE. He is the Change candidate.
2. The Organization Factor: Obama has built a remarkable organization, in part through using the Internet. Nothing quite like it has been seen before in its capacity to raise money, generate enthusiasm, and get out the vote. For more on the uniqueness of Obama’s organization, see Joshua Green’s piece, “The Amazing Money Machine” http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/obama-finance and Marc Ambinder’s “His Space” in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/ambinder-obama
3.The Charisma Factor: Hard to explain. Hard to quantify. But you know it when you see it. (Obama’s recent Portland crowd, 75,000 in a primary election, was no accident.)
4. The Republican Factor: They are in disarray and have money problems. This will have an impact on the Presidential race. How much? Good question. But no doubt it will have some.
5. The Money Factor: A corollary to the Organization Factor. Obama will have lots of it and will be able to raise more and more of it. To those who say that money can’t buy love or office, agreed, at least in terms of the former. But money can certainly help win office. It is especially helpful if you have a good candidate, a good brand as they say, to sell. Obama is such a brand.
6. The Even Keel Factor: In this case, the younger man, Obama, seems to have a more even temperament than the older candidate. This undermines a potential advantage for McCain and also defies expectations, namely, that age should bring a more even temper. (McCain’s anger problem is for real.) Americans believe that we need a steady hand on the rudder in these difficult times.
7. The Intellectual and Expert Factor: There are those who have claimed that Obama is an elitist, a pointy head, etc., and that too many in his campaign fit this bill. But the bottom line is that candidates who can comfortably make use of experts and genuine intellectuals–not faux intellectuals, for example, the neo-conservative ideologues–are in stronger position than those who cannot. Knowledge may not be power, but it sure can help keep power from making foolish mistakes, like Iraq. It can also help win elections. (It was the “nerds,” after all, who really understood how the delegate process worked in the Democratic race. And guess who had them on staff and who listened to them.)
8. The African-American Vote. Obama will draw the greatest number of African-American voters in American history. It will make a difference. As Poblano’s analysis shows, just a 10% to 20% increase can make a significant difference in who wins in the fall. (Poblano suggests 13 electoral votes for each 10%.) See Josh Kalven’s “Obama Over the Top: How New Voters Could Redraw the Electoral Map” http://progressillinois.com/2008/05/11/features/obama-over-the-top
9. The Youth Vote and Support: Typically the youth vote is viewed as an unreliable voting block. But Obama has shown that he can increase the youth vote. In addition, youth represents ‘boots on the ground.’ They do much of the door to door and office work that campaigns require. On how the youth vote could assist Obama, once again, see Josh Kalven’s “Obama Over the Top: How New Voters Could Redraw the Electoral Map” http://progressillinois.com/2008/05/11/features/obama-over-the-top
10. A Motivated Democratic Party: Yes, there is the issue of whether all of Hillary’s supporters will come around. And there are unknowns in terms of whether Obama will be able to bring more working class folks into his corner. But the Democrats are hungry and they have resources. There will be some synergy between Presidential, Congressional, and local races.
11. The Oratory Factor. We know what the man can do. He is pretty much in a class by himself. Speeches matter. Words delivered well matter. McCain, on the other hand, is not a strong public speaker. (The “My friends” thing just isn’t going to cut it.) In addition, Obama will best him in the debates.
12. The Bush factor: Obama is the anti-Bush. He listens to those outside an inner circle. He is anti-Iraq war, exceptionally intelligent, reasonably hip, etc. McCain, on the other hand, appears to be running for Bush’s third term. The McBush notion will stick with a significant number of voters.
13. Michelle Obama: Michelle has made some gaffes. Some view her as coming on too strong. But her story will get out: poor kid from the South Side of Chicago, who through her own hard work and intelligence made it to Princeton and Harvard. She is now the mother of two young daughters, juggling family and career. Women, many of Hillary’s supporters, will relate. Further, Michelle is a powerful speaker. The Republicans would be foolish to underestimate her.
Here are a dozen, guaranteed, money-back reasons why John McCain won’t be the next president. (I can only offer a limited-time, money-back guarantee, since unfortunately I can’t control world events.)
1. The McBush factor. McCain’s support of the Iraq War will make it impossible for him to break from Bush, the most unpopular president in living memory. The photo/video of McCain hugging and being kissed by Bush will become increasingly embedded in the collective consciousness of the American people as the months roll on. See the McCain on Bush YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U5KZzgaB2k&feature=related
2. The Republican factor. Yes, McCain is a Republican. He will not be able to deny this fact. Currently, this is not the best party to have behind you in a push to the White House. Witness the recent loss of three traditionally Republican congressional seats and the declining number of Americans willing to identify themselves as Republicans. And then there are the comments of Congressman Tom Davis. “The political atmosphere facing House Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than it was in 2006” (NY Times, May 15th, 2008).
3. The Last War Syndrome. McCain and the operatives running his campaign are like generals fighting the last war. They are still convinced that negative advertising will be as successful against Obama as it was against Kerry. However, “The Times They are A-Changin.” And this leads to the next factor.
4. The Change Factor: Hillary tried experience, but this race is about change and the future. McCain appears to be operating a time machine that has only a reverse gear.
5. The Money Factor: Obama can raise a lot more, and a lot more quickly…..enough said.
6. The Age Factor: McCain’s age will hurt him. (I am not claiming that this is fair, but it seems to be a fact. Older voters are especially concerned about McCain’s age.)
7. The Not So Straight-talk Factor: McCain has built his reputation on being a man of principle. This has two features: he believes in something and he sticks with what he believes in. McCain has recently begun to backpedal on principles and commitments. He is vulnerable to being viewed as a flip-flopper, if not dishonest, which will undermine his hitherto greatest strength. See “The Carpetbagger Report” for an extensive list of McCain’s Flip-flops.
8. The Organizational Factor: The evidence thus far suggests that Obama has a far better campaign organization. There will be a volunteer gap, that is, Obama will have a lot more of them and they will be more enthusiastic than McCain’s campaign workers.
9. The Skeleton Factor: The Keating Five and lobbyists, need I say more.
10. The Anger Problem: It’s real.
11. The Crass and Crude Comment Problem: A corollary to the anger problem. He has made outrageous, crude, sometimes vile remarks, and most Americans don’t know about them, yet. For examples, see article here.
12. And last, but not least, The Lack of Background in Economics Factor. McCain has acknowledged that he needs to read up on economics. Not great for building confidence in a candidate in the midst of a recession.
Okay, that’s twelve. But let’s make it a baker’s dozen.
13. The “My Friends” Factor. I don’t believe that Americans will be prepared to live with four or eight years of being addressed by John McCain as, “My Friends,” especially when it is followed by that rather strange little grin.
UPDATE: 8/30/08 Due to McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his VP, I am afraid that I must add another point to this list, even though it takes it beyond a baker’s dozen. (I have been tempted to add other points, but this one is too big to resist.)
#14. Palin will eventually prove to be a bad choice for VP, especially after McCain promised to be very careful in his selection due to his age. Given the sheer political nature of this choice (i.e., to gain votes), he will have to give up his slogan, Country First. Can you imagine the totally inexperienced Palin eyeball to eyeball with Putin? How about eyeball to eyeball with any senator, except for Alaska’s Ted Stevens, in the Senate? ( Just think for a moment about how the debate with Biden is going to go.) Hey, John, your answer to every problem is not to pick a pretty woman. Just because Cindy helped put expensive shoes on your feet….See “McCain Just Lost the Election with a Hail Mary (or Political Ambition 21, Country 0)” Link Here.
UPDATE, September 19, 2008. Today I supply a brief point by point rebuttal to a commentor who disagrees with my list of reasons. See, Comments. Btw, “A Dozen Reasons Why McCain Won’t Win…” was originally published on May 15, 2008. I believe that the list is holding up pretty well. Even some of the points that have looked like they may not be on target in the past couple of weeks–for example, #4 regarding Change–should hold up as the race continues. (In the case of #4, McCain will not be able to sell himself as the change candidate. The economy will take care of that. )