September 08, 2008
Palin, T.r., And Truman
I'll let Marty decide if he wants to bother responding to the shot Bill Kristol fires at him in today's NYT, but there's another part of Kristol's column that I'd like to take on. It's this graf: Should voters be alarmed by a relatively young or inexperienced vice-presidential candidate? No. Since 1900, five vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency during their term in office: Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, Calvin Coolidge in 1923, Harry Truman in 1945, Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and Gerald Ford in 1974.
September 05, 2008
The Unifier Turned Divider
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Once upon a time, John McCain promised to be a different kind of politician and a different kind of Republican.
A Star Had Already Been Born
The right-wing love affair with Sarah Palin, explained.
Free Sarah Palin! (cont'd)
David Frum makes a good case that it would actually be in the McCain campaign's self-interest to tear down the wall it's erected between Palin and the media: A question I am often asked when I give talks or lectures is: Why did the Bush communication effort end so badly? How did an administration that once commanded such public support end by losing all ability to make its case? My answer is that the ultimate failure was encoded into the initial success.
Crusade To Nowhere
John McCain hit the "reform" theme hard in his speech last night, and I couldn't help but wonder: What does McCain actually plan to change about government? I get that Sarah Palin is a nice person and doesn't like sleaze—except when she's hitting up corporate donors on behalf of Ted Stevens or hiring earmark lobbyists for her hometown... No, but seriously: Back in 2000, McCain could reasonably claim to be a "reform" candidate by touting his campaign finance bill—he had a specific proposal to address a concrete problem.
Mccain Concedes He's A Patriot
The Washington Post reports today: Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) conceded this week that McCain knew that his support both for the war and for the flow of additional troops he said was necessary for victory could doom his prospects in the election. "Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done," Graham said. "Some said it was political suicide. But you know what? It was the right thing to do." Conceded? A concession is when you say something that's against your interests or makes you look bad.
A Good Speech -- In A Vacuum
I sat down in my rocking chair tonight, armed with a glass of Ovaltine and toast with ration-stamp jelly, and experienced McCain's speech like it would have been experienced had he been a mid-century presidential candidate: on the radio. (With no TV at home, I didn't have much of a choice.) Tonally, over the radio I actually liked the speech other commentators are now panning as "mediocre", "not a great success", or even "shockingly bad." What to others sounded flat (was it the crowd? McCain's expression?) to me sounded plain-spoken and unadorned.
How did it play politically? Will it energize the base? Will it make swing voters swoon? As usual, your guess is as good as mine--or any of the pundits you see yapping on the television right now. Until the focus groups and polls come in, we're all just speculating. But I can register a verdict on substance. If this was McCain's answer to voter anxiety about the economy, it wasn't too impressive. As you've been reading--or, perhaps, as you've noticed on your own--economic policy has not been a big theme this week in Minneapolis.
September 04, 2008
The Next Front
At a stop on July 22 in Rochester, New Hampshire, Senator John McCain was asked a series of questions about the American troop presence in Iraq. As he has throughout his campaign, McCain insisted that U.S. forces were winning the war in Iraq and, if allowed to complete their mission, would leave behind a working democracy, check “disruptive” influences, and clear the way for a transformed Middle East. The back-and-forth culminated with the following exchange:Questioner: Don’t you believe that we are inflaming the Muslim world by our presence there?McCain: Thank you. I do not.
Political conventions have a public and a private face. The respective parties and their nominees carefully control how each looks. John McCain’s campaign is trying to keep some of his and Sarah Palin’s positions on policy out of the public eye--meaning out of prime time speeches, and in some cases even out of the public forums that take place during the day and are open to the media. These omissions are as important to what the convention means as the speeches themselves. They show what candidate wants to hide from the public--until after he is elected. 1.