There are several reasons why Senator Obama is enjoying a double-digit lead in the "honest and trustworthy" category (47 percent to 36 percent according the new ABC News/Washington Post poll). First, Senator Obama doesn't, you know, lie to the American people every damn day. Second, Senator Obama didn't vote with the dishonest, corrupt Bush administration 90 percent of the time.
But one of the main reasons why the nation appears to be lining up against Senator McCain's insanely obvious lack of integrity could be because his very serious and mavericky campaign strategy can be described in four simple words:
Blurt Out Random Crap.
"Crap," in this context, is defined as everything from lies to weasel-words to inexplicably weird nonsense. And it seems like Senator McCain does this a lot. So much so that we can only conclude that it's intentional.
The goal: Get McCain on record saying something no matter how ridiculous. This way, he can hit the stump later and boast that he said something with regards to scary stuff in the news. I said something [that didn't make any sense and was probably a lie] and Senator Obama didn't say anything [also a lie]! My friends! And whenever he's accused of routinely blurting out random crap, Senator McCain trucks out the old punishment theorem: If Senator Obama had only agreed to the town halls, I wouldn't be selling-out the last shreds of my honor or integrity just to get elected. Can't you see? Senator Obama turned me into a hack, dammit!
First thing that pops into his head. Is it truthful? Doesn't matter. Sex education for kindergarteners, for instance. "Palin sold her jet on eBay," for instance. Does it even make sense or is it just a bunch of words strung together to form a sentence? Who cares. "President Putin of Germany," for instance. "Delivering bottled hot water to dehydrated babies," for instance.
I'll admit that the latter category is more fun to document. However, the lying is especially infuriating -- and maybe that's the idea -- piss off the liberals. But it can't be helping with independents and undecideds who are discovering quite rapidly that the mythology of "John McCain" doesn't match the real-life John McCain. The Real McCain is rapidly coming into focus for those in the middle. McRage. McLiar. McPanderer. McIncompetent. McBush. And the Obama campaign only needs to tweak these frames. After all, the McCain campaign is doing all of the heavy lifting by itself.
And as we witnessed with the Zapatero episode, as soon as Senator McCain blurts out random crap, his staff scrambles onto the stage with pronouncements and excuses so as to make it seem as if McCain meant to say what he said -- a routine which only serves to compound the farcical nature of it all.
So it comes as no surprise that the McCain-Palin strategy on the economic crisis is to -- that's right! -- blurt out random crap.
All along and without regard to the actual status of the economy, Senator McCain has blurted out the well-known talking point "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." Why? Because that's the Bush Republican position. Those exact words. And shortly after President Paulson announced his bailout plan when it appeared as if we were on the verge of a complete meltdown, Senator McCain, in the most Pavlovian sense, couldn't help himself and -- WHOOPS! -- he said it again. Why? Because that's what he always says about the economy.
When he was immediately and appropriately called out for being a doof, he blurted out that everyone in the world misunderstood him. The "fundamentals," he claimed, meant "the workers." In other words, American workers are strong. What the hell does that have to do with the status of the economy? Does it mean the workforce can lift heavy things -- like factory equipment that's being shipped to China? How does one quantify worker "strength" as an economic indicator? Even if a crazy economist somewhere includes the morale of the workforce as a fundamental of the economy, the McCain campaign clearly overlooked the reality that we've lost 1.75 million jobs this year and unemployment spiked to 6.1 percent two days after Sarah Palin's overrated acceptance speech. Not strong, McCain. Bad! But, then again, he really didn't mean "the workers" in the first place anyway.
When this failed, he blurted out something about averting the impending economic meltdown by convening a government commission, ostensibly to study the urgent crisis and perhaps issue a recommendation sometime in the future. Decisive!
When that didn't work, he called for the firing of the head of the SEC, Chris Cox, even though Phil Gramm, the author of McCain's economic plan (pre-crisis), is also responsible for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 -- a piece of legislation which, along with Reaganomics and Alan Greenspan's love of all things bubble-shaped, is directly responsible for this present mess. Phil Gramm. A man who said that the economic crisis is mostly a figment of our whiny imagination. A man who could be our next Treasury Secretary and steward of the economy. Hire him, but fire the other guy. Because that'll somehow help. Oh, Magoo.
It's worth noting that while that idea was failing, Senator McCain inexplicably called for the firing of the head of the Federal Elections Commission, Donald F. McGahn II. Poor McGahn II. Minding his own business, and suddenly McCain's on television calling him out for screwing the economic pooch.
When that failed, Senator McCain rolled out one of his most egregious lies to date, claiming that Senator Obama, of all people, has been directly responsible for the crisis. Why? Because the former CEO of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines, once talked on the phone with someone associated with the Obama campaign. Like 16 months ago. And that somehow makes Raines a close economic advisor. Never mind that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, was on the Freddie Mac payroll as recently as a couple of weeks ago.
Which leads us to Senator McCain blurting out that no-one on his staff is associated in any way with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
What's next, McCain campaign? A Mogwai ate a sandwich after midnight; morphed into a Gremlin; then caused the economic crisis? Or will it be Marty McFly's sports almanac screwing up the space-time continuum? Or will it be Reverend Wright putting a curse on the banks? Whatever is next is bound to be crazier than what's already been said.
And now -- wait. What's this? As I wrap this up, it's being reported that Senator McCain wants to delay the debates so he can focus on the economic crisis. Oh, and now he wants to suspend campaigning. If what we've seen from the senator so far is him "focusing" on the economy -- what the hell is he like when he's multitasking? What's next, McCain? Suspending the election?
So what will a McCain administration economic policy look like? From the lack of foresight and leadership we've witnessed so far, we can assume that McCain might choose a new economic policy totally at random, depending on how saucy he feels from minute to minute. "I'll have a muffin with my Egg Beaters, and replace Bernanke with that hooplehead who weedwacks the knoll." Two minutes later... "Hey Phil, we don't need the Nasdaq anymore. Kill it." Two minutes later... "My God! What have I done! Quickly -- nationalize the paintball industry! Go!"
One thing is for sure. Expecting a workable solution to this economic meltdown from a man as knee-jerk, dishonest and incomprehensible as John McCain would be an exercise in national self-destruction. He doesn't have anything real to say, and what he does say, he can't sell. He simply can't do the gig. A vote for McCain-Palin is absolutely a vote for the end of America as we know it.