McCain’s Speech

I’ve heard it called the worst speech since Jimmy Carter’s in 1980 already. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was pretty bad. Yes, McCain is a terrbile speaker, no, it wasn’t a logically or rhetorically connected speech so muchas it was a series of bullet points delivered in monotone lauds. And yes, it was fullofcontradictions. McCain derides Obama’s “messiaism,” while it’s really McCain’s campaign that is built around biography. Yes, McCain is asking us to go to a place he’s been for nearly 30 years and change the place by sheer force of will and unrivaled virtue. And yes, McCain told some flat out lies about Obama, namely in terms of taxes and healthcare. But that’s all probably a little deep to expect the media, or viewers, to pick up on off the bat.

What struck me most was the obviousness of what this predicts for the next 2 months from McCain. With Palin effectively placed in the niche of base-galvanizer, and doing a bang up ob to be sure, McCain no longer really needs to concern himself with holding down the rank and file Republicans, so he’s attempting to reposition himself as the moderate-of-old in an effort to win over independents, with plenty of POW reminders tossed in in case you forgot.

Though this may very well be the best, or only, way for McCain to win in November, the openings for are legion. For starters, McCain has still reversed himself on all of the issues that characterized his “mavericky” brand, from the Bush tax cuts, to climate, to immigration, which the Obama campaign can pound home. And there’s also the fact that the central theme of McCain’s candidacy is that, he’s more patriotic, more virtuous, than Barack Obama. Than everyone in fact. Than you. Which can be effective the be sure, people want virtue and patriotism in their President. But it’s a little like being the smartest kid in the class; the other kids might begrudgiingly defer to you on merit, but if it comes out that you’re cheating, the fall is especially hard. The same is true of McCain here, and that’s why I continue to think that Obama should call McCain out in no uncertain terms for lying about his [Obama’s] proposals. Or lying about Sarah Palin’s record. There’s nothing particularly virtuous about lying, and while it might be something we expect fromour political class, when a candidate has made his unique virtue and honor the cornerstone of his political existence, the revelation that he is really one of the more prolific liars in recent memory could very well be a crippling blow not just to a campaign, but to a persona. McCain has clearly bet big on the hope that either Obama won’t call him on it, or that the media will ignore it. Obama ought to make it a loser.