McCain Pledges Respectful Campaign
If I said it started with a dare, would you believe me?
Those Townhall debates, he wanted (you know, McCain sounds actually pretty good in that clip, in that he can praise community organizers and respects that people who have served in other ways from his own Senate service might have different experiences to bring to the table than he has--although if Wasilla qualified Palin--why wasn't Guiliani at the head of his list?) well, he wanted ten of them.
In terms of modern campaigns, and the ground that has to be covered by a candidate, that seems excessive. I can see saying "No" to that many. And the Obama campaign offered to do five debates with one town hall. A little more manageable, but still, negotiable. I don't think they ever saw the ten debates idea as serious, nor thought that the McCain campaign saw that many debates as plausible and serious. Sounded like a dare.
Take a look at the dates involved--neither side could've been serious about when they planned to directly engage one another. Independence Day? Before they had running mates? Before the conventions? What? And in the 60 days from last convention to election, how would they squeeze in ten--five--or anything but the three very controlled debates we'll actually see?
The idea that the McCain campaign had to go negative to call out Obama in lieu of being able to call him out on a stage is just dumb. If McCain thought he'd beat Obama on the issues in any venue, he could try addressing the issues in his ads instead of lying, smearing, and distorting Obama's record, whilst plumping up that of the running mate he barely vetted (but thanks for leaving it to us left wing bloggers! We are enjoying the work!), and by the way, running the real risk of screwing up his own reputation.
See, this is September. McCain has shelled out good ad money. And a raft of articles this week came out about how the ads contained lies. But the time is paid for, so they are still running, confirming for people who've read the New York Times or maybe caught a little CNN, that he is comfortable telling lies. And like I said, if you ever, ever, ever associate your public self with something called the "Straight Talk Express", you are holding yourself to a standard people will poke you with later. And Obama is not held back by public financing, and even if he's poor-mouthing this month--he's still getting record cash.
October will be very interesting. Especially with so many McCain lies already creditably called out by Factcheck.org and the media. And after seeing McCain's shut-down of press avails and disregard of national media in favor of local media...
Snap! See this!
Local media ask the good questions too, though. There were moments where he was not in his comfort zone.
So first--I wonder if he isn't doubting his own skills at that kind of free-wheeling exchange by now. And second, I wonder to what extent his campaign is driving the negativity and putting out that message--because on The View McCain seemed unaware that his ads were false. At all, at all.
That being said, here's my take:
McCain isn't in charge of his campaign. He isn't running it--it's running him. The story that he has to go negative because he didn't get his town hall debates is pretty specious. I don't buy it, and I'm not sure who, on any reasonable inspection of the claim, would. And he is just about out of touch enough not to know just how much of a negative tone he's setting, how weird that is this early in the game, how doubly odd that is coming from the party of the incumbency, and how deranged it is if he wants to try to talk about change. If you want to talk about change, you need to tie it to optimism. Hope, even.
The Palin pick come close to tacitly acknowledging the need for change, and the "Reform" note is a good one to try for. He just didn't quite pick the right person to ring that note with, once she's been dragged out into the light of day. Continuing to sing her praises from a forged libretto will turn out the whole opera house...or something. The wee hours are not when I make my best metaphors.
So anyway, back to the title of my post. The respectful campaign John McCain promised did not die because of the town hall debates that never were nor ever would be.
The respectful campaign died because he has nothing. NO policies people will love, pretty much a bummer all the way around.
(I know, a whole blog post just to point it out, but that's me. Tedious and such. )