Let's be honest: John McCain does not have much to say about what he would do as President, and when he does talk about what he wants to do, he only confuses himself, his supporters, and the reporters who have the unfortunate task of trying to follow his shifting positions and garbling of the facts.
In the last few weeks, John McCain has told us that Iraq and Pakistan border on each other; that the Anbar Awakening, the uprising against Al-Qaeda in Iraq, began after the surge; that he is open to raises taxes; that he would never raise taxes; that Obama should visit Iraq; that he was a publicity hound for visiting Iraq -- this can go on for awhile, so let's stop now.
Wait, I can't stop myself. He was (and is) a major proponent of the war in Iraq, which he said would be short and paid for by Iraqis. He was against drilling off the coasts, but now he's for it. He was against tax cuts without spending cuts, but now he's for them. He thought the Religious Right was intolerant, but now he's tolerant of the intolerant. He is for reducing the influence of lobbyists, but lobbyists were running every aspect of his campaign.
I know what John McCain stands for -- he stands for John McCain. He stands for politics as usual. He stands for more of the same.
It was not that long ago that John McCain was the darling of the media. It was not that long ago that John McCain was a hero to Independents and even many Democrats, because people believed that McCain was the rare guy who could talk straight. I know you had Democratic friends who loved John McCain. I bet they deny that now.
In order to be President, McCain feels that compromises have to be made, and with the Oval Office so close, John McCain will do whatever he has to do to survive. That means that the John McCain of 2000 has morphed into what he fought against -- the George W. Bush of 2000. The candidate who spread false information, the candidate who attacked, attacked, attacked, the candidate who won through cynicism.
Because he has such a hard time figuring out his own views, the McCain is trying to put the Obama campaign on it's, and Paris Hilton's heels.
If I were John McCain's campaign advisor, I, too, would advise Senator McCain to run commercials that featured Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I would seek the politics of personal distraction. I would put Obama in commercials with public enemies Dina Lohan and Heidi Montag (oh, wait, she supports McCain and dines with his daughter -- perhaps the video of that lunch is the response ad Obama should offer). Ludacris would be Obama's best friend.
And I get that McCain knows the only voters out there for him are older women and Republicans who have not yet decided whether to hold their noses and vote for him. Obviously, African-Americans aren't voting for McCain. Latinos are headed Obama's way. Young women are not going to opt for the guy who voted against equal pay for equal work. Young men are not going to vote for the guy who yells at them to get off of his lawn.
So, what's left for McCain? Scaring older people and Republicans into thinking that Obama is all style, no substance. McCain's ads are not about racism; they are about hope -- the hope that the American people are so stupid that they care more about Paris Hilton than they do about their jobs, health care, the environment, foreign policy, and their pensions.
The Karl Rove-acolytes running the McCain campaign know one way of winning. Destroy the other guy. It's worked before.
Will it work again? Well, McCain's climbed a bit in the polls in the last couple of days. But Obama's camp is tough. They know that criticism has to be responded to, no matter how inane the ad. They know that Obama has to talk about the economy now, all day, all the time.
But McCain's people are smart, too -- they know that, in the summer months when there's not much news, McCain's wacky ads qualify as news, and the CNN's and MSNBC's repeatedly show and talk about McCain and whether he's right about Obama -- not about McCain's shifting positions on the major issues of the day.
They also know that the polls show a generic Democrat whipping a generic Republican, but the Obama-McCain polls are closer. Why is that, since we have just had eight years of Bush? Because the American people view the Bush Presidency as such a freak show that they do not believe any other President, of any party, would be such a disaster for the country. The American people believe Bush is an anomaly. They're willing to give a reasonable Republican a chance.
But McCain has shown, with his ads, that he's more of the same. He's running the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004. So it's hard to argue that he'd be much different as President, considering that he's also taken on many of Bush's policy views.
In the end, this is what will put Obama over the top -- people are tired of angry politics. At least, I think they are, but I say that because I'm tired of it. And it's only the beginning of August -- we have more than three months to go. McCain's anger, always boiling up inside of him, is bound to make the American people will grow tire of him soon. His lack of knowledge means that he'll keep making mistakes.
Yet if I were McCain's camp, I'd be running the same type of attack commercials and the same type of attacking campaign. When you have nothing good to say about yourself, slam the other guy.
A side note: I keep reading that if Obama selects Joe Biden for VP, it would be because he seeks to run with an elder statesman with foreign policy credentials. But the reason to pick Senator Biden is not just because of his leadership on foreign policy -- it is also because of his leadership on women's issues, such as the ahead of it's time Violence Against Women Act that has saved countless families; crime, for which Senator Biden has written the legislation that put 100,000 more cops on the street in the '90's and saw crime dramatically reduced; his leadership on the Judiciary Committee; and his knowledge of how to get things done in Washington. When people say that Senator Biden has been in D.C. for too long, and that he'd muddle the change message, I say to them that the only way to make change is to get your legislation through Congress. Senator Biden has proven time and again to be ahead of his time on domestic issues, and he has shown he knows how to get things done in Washington. Those are fine reasons to select Senator Biden for VP.