Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why can't McCain close the Deal?

A cartoon from The Economist during the Republican Primary showing the race between Sen. McTurtle and Hare Gulliani. McCain won that fight but now questions arise about his abilities come November against a new competitor.

Tim Kelly at Crack the Bell posited that brilliant question earlier today. As he points out

The latest Gallup tracking numbers find Obama up 47-42, and McCain has never polled at more than 44 percent since tracking began.

For months the Clinton campaign fanned the meme of unpreparedness and voter reluctance saying Obama couldn't close the deal on the nomination and she got a free pass on the question as opposed to the opposite being asked of her.

Now it's John McCain's turn, the media is once again quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) pushing the meme that there's a notable reticence amongst voters and he has an inability to overcome such wariness. It's coming from all over the place, from all corners of the Pundit Class and yet once again no one asks the same question of McCain or if they do it's buried deep and far below the ever looming questioning Obama headline.

As one author said at TPM lays out the question plainly:

Senator John McCain has years of Congressional 'experience', he has years of military service, he is a national hero for being a POW during the Vietnam War, and he been sometimes called a maverick in the Republican Party [sic].

This is true McCain has everything the media talking heads have categorized as a "normal necessity" and then some (i.e. that 'Maverick' reputation), yet he can't close the deal or even generate a steal!

Even as he pounds Obama with the Celebrity and Messianism meme Obama's daily numbers have barely been effected (see Super Tracker @ 538.com)

As much as people are tired of the Bush+McCain=McSame meme and delude themselves into believing it isn't so, sorry Brad Warthen, the "Maverick" is gone - tactically, politically there's no difference between the McCain of '08 and the Bush of '04. (Never mind their silence on the celebrity meme)

As Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report said July 28,
McCain has spent so much time over the past few months establishing his own conservative Republican credentials that he has allowed his “maverick” image to erode. Instead, he has come awfully close to sounding like just another Republican. And that’s the last thing in the world that he can afford to do, since it makes things easier for Obama.
He's not just awfully close, he's already there. The McCain that was pro-environment, anti-Bush tax cuts, etc has been subsumed and infected by the same 'Republican' brand that repulses people in blind 'taste' tests.

He's spent nearly a month pushing negative ads without taking the time to define himself in any positive or fresh light. There's nothing new or fresh about his policies as compared to the current administration- just ask Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC):

There is a lining, but I wouldn't say it's silver for Sen. McCain. He is trying to reassert his Maverick identity, the only problem is that because of his sublimation into full out "Republican" the version of the Maverick appearing now is more like something from Pet Cemetary as the worst of his traits (warmongerer, tempermental) take hold and his positions are becoming even more right-winged than the current Administration.

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