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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Why McCain lost

For some strange reason I find myself commenting on an old Brad post on why McCain was going to lose the election.

He wrote, among other things,

Yellow-dog Republicans I know who are... shall we say... familiar with what they call the spin machine and I call the Slime Machine are... bewildered.

George W. Bush was not a friendly guy you would like to have a beer with, they say--but we had no trouble getting the media to paint him as one. Al Gore was not a serial liar, they say--but we had no trouble getting the media to paint him as one. John Kerry was not a flip-flopper and was a genuine war hero, they say--yet we had no problem getting the media to paint him as a flip-flopper and to spend hours and hours talking about how maybe the swift-boat crazies were right. By contrast, they say (not me), John McCain is a genuine and honorable war hero who at every stage does what he thinks is right for the country no matter what partisan allegiances are, and who lets the chips fall where they may--yet the media story on McCain is, they say, that he is a befuddled old man who has let unscrupulous and dishonorable Republican sleazebags seize control of his campaign. By contrast, they say (not me), Barack Hussein Obama is an inexperienced blank slate on whom all of the different factions of the Democratic Party have projected their fantasies--yet the media present him as the cool thoughtful smart moderate one when they should be presenting him as the risky one who just happens to give a good speech.

my comment

I'd say your Republican friends have forgotten the wisdom of their parties first winning candidate: "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

The evidence that the contemporary Republican party is unfit to govern has become so overwhelming that it can overcome strong prejudices.

Also two subsidiary points.

Obama gives a good speach *and* good interviews. This makes him very very different from Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry. Someone (Jamison Foser I think) has been arguing for years that it's not that the Democrats insist on nominating unlikeable candidates time after time, it's that the media declare Democratic candidates to be unlikeable. I think 2008 proves him wrong. So did 1996. The media were out to get Clinton (I don't think they even deny it). They failed.

John McCain is a war here. So were George McGovern (flying cross) and John Kerry. Is there any evidence that this matters to voters anymore ? I mean evidence collected after I was born (the day after Kennedy was elected). Since I was born we have booked 1 victory by a war hero (Bush Sr) and 3 losses by war heroes (Bush Sr, Kerry and McGovern). In my lifetime no candidate who served in the military has defeated a candidate who never served.

update: As anonymous mentions in comments. I forgot Bob Dole. Look do it for your country -- do it for the cause -- don't do it because you think it's a ticket to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


reason said...

I take it that Dukakis served but was not a hero.

But I find this a strange post. It is dated today (2 December) but is written as though the election had not yet happened:

Since I was born we have booked 1 victory by a war hero (Bush Sr) and 3 losses by war heroes (Bush Sr, Kerry and McGovern).

Did you pull it out of draw somewhere?

Robert said...

I was poking through Brad's archives and posted a comment. Then I thought that it was unlikely that many other people were reading comments in his archives so I put it here. I edited the title but will be sloppy.

Dukakis served in Korea but never got close to a battle (it might have been in peace time). Actually, I forgot that Al Gore served in Vietnam heroically writing for "Stars and Stripes". McCain, Bush Sr, Kerry and McGovern all faced great danger and won medals.

Anonymous said...

BobDole. Don't forget BobDole.