Friday, October 31, 2008

The Wrong Theme

Joe Scarborough of MSNBC and some others have argued that John McCain is now likely to lose the presidential election because he understood too late, or insufficiently, the yearning of the vast majority of Americans this election season for change. Hillary Clinton emphasized experience, they generally contend, until she recognized the power of "change" to sway voters.

They would be wrong, as suggested by Roger Simon of Politico on October 30. Simon explains

In truth, Palin’s real problem is not her personality or whether she takes orders well. Her real problem is that neither she nor McCain can make a credible case that Palin is ready to assume the presidency should she need to.

And that undercuts McCain’s entire campaign.

This was the deal McCain made with the devil. In exchange for energizing his base by picking Palin, he surrendered his chief selling point: that he was better prepared to run the nation in time of crisis, whether it be economic, an attack by terrorists or, as he has been talking about in recent days, fending off a nuclear war.“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain told a crowd in Miami on Wednesday. “I’ve been tested, my friends, I’ve been tested.” But has Sarah Palin?

Or as Herb Stein said on Larry King Live on October 30, "It's -- I think he had a winning theme, saying experience and country first -- experience, character, country first. He threw that away when he chose Sarah Palin."

Hillary Clinton and John McCain have little in common but they made the same mistake- Clinton till late in the primary campaign, McCain throughout the general election campaign. Both thought, fatally, that they could compete with Barack Obama, likely to make history as the first black President ever, on his turf- change.

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