Pop Culture Junkette

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thought of the Day

As the GOP has completely descended into an angry, bash Washington, bash the press, bash elitism party, I have to ask myself if John McCain regrets the path he took. Senator McCain, at his best, is a proud member of the Washington elite, someone with great relations with the press ("my base," as he has rightly joked), who has cared about some aspects of governing, and has left the culture and class wars to others (or, as was the case in 2000, was its victim).

Yet over the past year, he has had to reverse his position on god knows how many issues (the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax, the environment, offshore drilling, immigration, etc.), and he has now been forced to pick as his running mate someone who has not shown the slightest bit of interest in what McCain clearly (and perhaps rightly) believes is the most important issue this nation faces, the war(s) in which it is currently engaged and the threats it faces from terrorism and, in a very different way, the Russians. Yes, the base loves her, and maybe the Hail Mary will work, but this is not John McCain; picking Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge wuld have been. The result is--in a way the Obama campaign perhaps never realized--the third campaign of George W. Bush.

And so I wonder if John McCain ever asks himself if he should have said yes to John Kerry 4 years ago. I believe had he done so, he would currently be the VP of the United States. (He would have been a much more effective VP candidate than John Edwards--I have never been a fan of his even well before the latest misadventure.) And the nation would have had a type of bipartisan leadership that McCain, at his best, was the epitome of. Now, that is gone, perhaps for good.

Thankfully, Obama has in many ways taken over the mantle of this type of leadership. Yes, he's well to the left of McCain, but his instincts are for consensus and moderation. Not just with the safe selection of Joe Biden, but there is no doubt that certain Republicans will be very influential in an Obama administration--Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Colin Powell, and Robert Gates all come to mind. Heck, had he lost the GOP nomination, John McCain would have too (and may try to reinvent himself during an Obama administration).

That being said, the election is certainly not over; however, even with the media's ridiculous overreaction to Palin's speech in the past 18 hours thanks to the attacks on the media from the McCain campaign--this election is becoming more and more Obama's to lose. The fundamentals all support him, he shored up his support in the party last week, and his message and Joe Biden are much more suited to the voters in the middle than the GOP's and Sarah Palin's. And if I'm right and McCain loses, hopefully he'll manage to keep some of the dignity that had made him so popular with those his party not only derides but it has basically made such derision its sole raison d'etre. (And yes, by using this French phrase--French, egad!--I am certainly one that would be at the center of their attacks. I am one of those cosmopolitans, that the former mayor of New York City derides.)



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