Friday, September 05, 2008

The Maverick of the Many Houses speaks

John McCain's own speech Thursday, as well as the buildup to it, had a basic theme: I was a POW and I was helpless and I was tortured and that makes me the most patriotic guy in the country so you should elect me President.

The Dems are going to have to find ways to demystify that narrative. A big way to do that involves keeping the focus on the Iraq War. To hear McCain tell it, we've already achieved Victory there. He also made a "peace through strength" pitch along with the general "USA, USA, USA" theme. If Obama and Biden don't hang the Iraq War around his neck during the campaign, and lot of swing voters may wind up going to vote in two months telling themselves that the more-patriotic-than-anyone Maverick is they guy to work out an exit plan from Iraq. And he doesn't have one. His plan, so far as we can tell anything about it, is bomb more, and bomb some more, and then bomb some more.

Listening to the speech and searching the transcript, I didn't detect his having used the word "Afghanistan" once.

For most of the speech, you would think he was a candidate from the opposition Party, not a loyal supporter of Bush and Cheney who voted the administration line 90% of the time. Obama had the right response to that in his own acceptance speech: "Well it's time for them to own their failure."

And I think Paul Krugman is basically right when he says, "All [the Obama campaign] has to do is tarnish Mr. McCain's image enough so that voters see this as a race between a Democrat and a Republican. And that's a race the Democrat will easily win."

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