11 April 2008

McCain's Mysterious Allure

McCain now leads Clinton and Obama in the polls. This is me scratching my head.

McCain has basically embraced Bush's record. If that is not an indictment of the man, I don't know of one. 81% of the country thinks that we're on the wrong track. 81% makes up everyone but the illiterate, those recovering from traumatic head wounds, and people who still think that all-you-can-eat buffets represent the pinnacle of progress. Another poll (graph to the right) indicates a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who feel they are worse off than in the past. In fact, this is the sharpest increase in the number, and the highest value it has reached since 1964.

Meanwhile, Bush has ignored the environment and spent billions to create enemies in Iraq. I challenge anyone to find a positive trend that Bush has nursed along rather than de-railed. Having Bush watch over our national affairs has been like having a crack addict watch the kids. Even the frat boy cheerleader may be gradually realizing that he is in over his head. His performance might lead one to believe that there is more to being a good president than staying sober. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.

We now have McCain, who has largely done what he can to smooth over differences between his policies and George's. And once again I feel utterly baffled. Does no one see a connection between policy and the conditions we live in? Is there a huge swath of the electorate that considers an executive successful as long as he keeps his pants zipped? Do they have no clue? Really?

As I've said before, McCain represents a huge step up for the Republican Party. But his policies are little different, his priorities often the same, as George's. And his level of understanding about Iraq - a country in which he's game to invest 10 trillion ($100 billion X 100 years) - shows the same kind of superficial curiosity that made George such a disaster. (McCain has more than once revealed his confusion of Shiites and Sunnis - a confusion for which casual citizens might be forgiven but is, for policy makers, the equivalent of a doctor confusing the knee and ankle in surgery; it makes a difference. Sure, it is all leg and they are all Muslims, but when it comes down to action, one would like the one performing an operation to be able to distinguish between them.)

One can only hope that McCain's surge in popularity traces back to the fact that he can look presidential - no longer forced to sling mud back and forth with Mitt, Mike, and Fred. This is the campaign that keeps on giving - I'm sure it has yet to reveal its last twist.

For me, the job interview for president ought to start with one simple question: do you think that George Bush has done a good job? If a candidate answers with anything other than a decisive "No!" he ought to be dismissed. Why 81% of Americans can't agree with that is beyond me.


nunya said...

De newz love's them some McCain. Who pays for de newz?

Jennifer H said...

It's baffling and frightening. (Think, people, think.) I can't even imagine four more years with a Republican in office.

Lifehiker said...

November is a long way off. There's plenty of time for Bush to add to his legacy of lunacy and self-deception.

McCain might be better than Bush. I voted for him in the 2000 primary. However, I wouldn't dream of voting for him now. The "Al Queda training in Iraq" statement showed that he's either clueless or unable to get the right neurons working together in public.

If McCain wins in November, Americans will have picked a leader who exemplifies their own lack of judgment.

Each of us must do our part to make certain that does not happen.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I do not have the right to vote in the US. I so wish I did so that I could make certain to do my part as Lifehiker says. I wonder sometimes if a population's lack of desire to change the status quo (I'm Panamanian and have seen it happen in my own country) is not something akin to that syndrome captives suffer from with regards to their captors. I can't remember the name but you'll know what I'm talking about. This passivity that some exhibit and agreeableness towards being herded off the cliff is so hard to bear for me who so wants to push back and away from the edge. Why is it that more people can't see we're falling? I'm baffled too. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these results yesterday and unlike you, I hold little hope that there will be a favorable twist in the end. What this country needs is some major brain surgery. Know a good one? One who knows about where the general vicinity of the brain is?

cce said...

I see your frustration and raise it. I was utterly dismayed by Bush's re-election and have harbored lingering confusion and distrust for my fellow Americans since then. I almost believe that we, as a people, are certain to make another bad choice. How's that for pessimism?

Ron Davison said...

here's something weird - business is actually backing obama and clinton far more than they're backing mccain.

jennifer h,
baffling indeed.

This question of whether McCain is sharp enough for four years in this job is a real one. I suspect that we'll hear more about it.

Stockholm Syndrome? This matter of change is so weird - I've noticed that for some people, any willingness to change is an admission of wrong-doing.

you're an author - you know that character is destiny.

Suzanne said...

I think the fact that McCain is trending favorably right now may have more to do with the migraine headache the public is developing over watching the mud slinging, name calling, marathon submission wrestling match that is going on over at the Democratic party.

What started out as a shoo-in for the Democrats to win the White House, what began with real inspirational promises of hope and change, has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator of same old politics run by the same old rules....s/he who slings it hardest and gets it to stick, wins.

After the Demos finally choose a candidate and the general election campaign gets under way...my guess is that those poll numbers will tighten up considerably.

What disturbs me most is that we choose our president, not based on who has the best ideas, but on who can survive or create the greatest negativity and fear...vote for us or else!

David said...

Maybe because the election is not about Bush or whether one thinks he's done a good job. The focus on Bush makes it possible to hide a lack of original thinking or good ideas in the constant barrage of criticism over Bush. This neverending rerun of Boston Legal isn't gaining us any ground.

I'm still looking for a good idea or two. McCain is not my candidate so this is no defense of him. However, I'm as idealistic as your usual suspects but with a different bent so I might vote for him.

I watced Obama and Hillary last night and was reminded of the Porgy and Bess tune lyrics: "I got plenty of nothing and nothing's plenty for me."