In the past year I've started to feel a little sympathy for John "Let's Bomb Iran" McCain. For all the praise the M$M gives him, he routinely gets beaten by the right wing press like a red headed stepchild. Already Rush has come out against him, joined the most of his ilk. They claim that he's a conservative sellout, that he's a democrat, that he's a fraud.
Is he? Not sure--don't really care, much like I don't care if Obama is a 'liberal' or not. Labels don't interest me the way they do some people; rather, I'm more observant of what a particular politician does, and what they stand for. In that manner, surely McCain has flushed many of his 'conservative credentials' down the toilet. In supporting McCain-Feingold, McCain-Liberman, and his original vote against the Bush tax cuts he went against the neo-con field, and partisan consensus.
But this isn't a post about what a 'maverick' (there goes those labels again!) McCain is, or about how brave he is with his mighty voting stylus. (Or pencil--how exactly do Senators vote again?) What I'm more interested in, is why, without garnering right-wing support, has McCain gone from zero-to probably Republican nominee in 60 seconds, getting shown all that voting love that was denied John Edwards.
In short, I believe McCain has tapped into all of that electorate angst held against Bush and his administration, which includes the Rovian gambit of polarization. People, both Democrats and Republicans, are pissed off. But greater then that rage, there's a feeling, most exemplified by Obama's success, of, for lack of a better term, hope. A belief that in 2008 we can change rails and put America on a better track. Of course, what this track is, is still partially directed by partisan lines (eg, should we pull out of Iraq (Dems), or run the war competently (GOP), should we continue the Bush tax cuts (GOP), or raise taxes for the higher brackets and give cuts to middle and lower classes (Dems), universal health coverage (Dems), or maybe a single payer system (GOP)--and that's a big maybe).
Oh and no one really gives a damm about illegal immigration. F what you heard.
But the real issue, beyond the policy, is can anyone stop this interparting bickering that's stalled our government? People are sick of the finger pointing, the browbeating, and the constant stream of press conferences given by both sides, getting on a pedestal to sling rocks at the other side. How sick are they? Well at least we know on the Republican side that they're so sick of it, they're rather pick a guy with a record of bipartisan compromise that two others (and one Romulian) who talk the talk. In that way it seems that the only glue that is holding the Republican party together is the Republican on the street. I heard some commentator last night say that they were surprised that the GOP might have their canidate before the Dems, and while the battle isn't over it looks like the Republicans have found their king, and a consensus about a nominee shows party stability. And to the chagrin of the right-wing media, who can't believe a voter makes up their minds about something without first consulting them (and don't worry, it's not like the left-wing media is without arrogance), the Republicans thus far have said, "hey, we can deal with this guy and moreover, he looks like he could actually win." (Never forget, the Republican's really, REALLY like to win).
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, the Democratic voter still hasn't gotten their act together.
That's not to say that our debates over our nominee hasn't been productive...no wait, actually it hasn't. As many people have noted before, Hil and Obama's policies have been nearly identical, and when they debate them most of the discussion is flourish. It's become nearly senseless to discuss which one is better. "Tastes great, less filling?" Who cares! It's a f_cking beer! It'll get cha drunk! What's really the issue, or should be the issue for democrats this voting season, is a) who can get that W, and b) is that person capable of smoothing out that problem of polarization in American politics? And since b leads to a, the choice becomes quite simple.
The facts are these, right now Hillary's strategy against Obama has been, in their own right, just as polarizing within the democratic party as Rove's was with the nation. The jabs of racism, personal dumpster diving, and the injection of Bill into the campaign has dredged up all of the worse parts of the 90s, and has all made us feel rather uncomfortable, like at Christmas when Uncle Harry gets drunk and decides to tell us about the time he killed a man in a bar fight ("and I still ain't been charged!). Whether you agree that it was fair or not (and for the most part, in politics, like love and war, everything is fair), what you must agree about its that the media has highlighted the worse parts of the Hillary scheme, and has sided with Obama, making him the winner of the spin war. He has become the poster boy for bipartisanship, compromise and executive temperance, while still maintaining (on paper and in word) a dedication to many progressive ideas.
Thus it would seem only natural that this election should be Obama vs. McCain. But where as the GOP seems decided on their canidate the Democrats still haven't made up their minds. Yes, Obama has momentum but we remember what happened the last time he had it, and the polls remain close. Democrats need to decide, and decide quickly how much longer we want to let this thing run out, and do we really want to win in November. Right now McCain is beating Hillary in the polls, and while it would undoubtedly get closer should they duke it out, the longer Hillary makes the fool of herself with comments like her MLK-LBJ comparision, the longer her surrogates like Bob Johnson put their foot in their mouths, and the longer she trots out her husband, the more ammo the McCain team has to load in their guns. And believe me they're keeping watch.