Friday, September 05, 2008

The MAC Attack

There weren’t 85,000, only 20,000 in the crowd; the visual was that of a town hall stage rather than a pillar of power; and the speech was understated versus over the top; I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t leave much space for the message ushered in last night by Senator John McCain who accepted the Republican nomination.

These speeches are almost always noted for their loftiness. I found the “what I’m going to do” missing from this acceptance. It also is used to create a vision, i.e. “The shinning city on the hill: “A place called Hope;” and many other memorable moments come to mind. I believe all we got was, “I'm going to fight for my cause every day as your president.”
Normally, eight years of being in charge (the Republicans) you think you’d be crowing about achievements. Having a president with low poll numbers and a party on the verge of losing a number of key house and senate races calls for a speech re-write. “I've been called a maverick” McCain is a maverick. He has bucked the traditional base and gone against the current president. He has even committed the “cardinal sin” of Ronald Regan Republicans, “Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican.” This is different.

Beating up on the GOP

It is strange when the nominee from the Republican Party took his own party to task. This is a new paradigm. Running as the outsider is a tried and true Republican theme, but McCain is one of the longest serving members of the Senate? Robert Erhlich the former governor of Maryland told me during a talk show in Washington, DC, “I love it.” Is everybody drinking the “Jim Jones Kool-Aid?”

“We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Sen. Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.”

This is the same party of President Bush and running against the establishment is supposed to help you win?

Secret Weapon

That “Pit Bull with lipstick,” Governor Sarah Palin, was featured prominently in the acceptance speech. She garners one of the loudest applauses when the Republican nominee delivered this memorable line, “I can't wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: Change is coming.”This change mantra is really working. No one wants the status quo. Keeping things as they are would be dreadful all the way around. This thing called change has fired up crowds on both sides but whose change will work on the electorate.

According to McCain it’s all about lowering taxes to boost the economy. Note to McCain camp the Labor Department announced on Friday the jobless rate hit 6.1 percent (the highest rate in 5 years). To make matters worst the Boeing, one of the last major manufacturing companies with a large work force, is being struck.

The results coming out of Iraq maybe the one silver lining for the McCain campaign. The U.S, military turned Anbar Province over to the Iraq military this week. Remember McCain is about the surge and his fate is literally tied to it success.


I didn’t see this coming, but McCain is cognizant of current events and doesn’t live in a vacuum (unlike come of his counterparts). He praised the Obama campaign, “You have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Sen. Obama and his supporters for their achievement.”


The base of the Republican Party is still uneasy about McCain. He just rubs these guys the wrong way. The social conservatives are likely to rally, but to what extent. The “marriages of political convenience” worked the last go round.” In the preverbal words of the political sage, Karl Rove, “where else are they gonna go.” The toss--up states (Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) could go for either candidate. Activities on the ground will surely be crucial.

The Sarah Palin wildcard is interesting. She is a “fire-in-the-belly” kind of politician. I don’t know if she is ready for the scrutiny she will get. I know not to expect her in any urban setting (suburbs, small towns, and religious outings only). Gwen Ifill’s Q and A for the Vice Presidential debate should be interesting (get ready for the GOP to smear her as well in the lead up to the debate).

The debates will tell only part of the story. Get ready for a bombshell on either side. The item will likely come an internet posting or youtube posting. The commercials I understand they are preparing will sling mud.

Lastly, I get the unusual feeling of the Clinton/Dole race; nah….this is going to be better. Roland Martin, of CNN and WVON, in one of his recent posting on the NABJ listserve tied it all up in a bow, ”Elections ARE decided on personality and not issues. Multiple pollsters have laid this out.”

Much love,




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