Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saving John McCain

Holy shit I've been busy. Not only have I been seriously neglecting you, my loyal readers, but I really haven't even been following the news much lately. At best, I've been just skimming the headlines of all the blogs I normally get stuff from and rarely read the full thing. But one thing has become crystal clear even from this light reading: John McCain is fucked. That's all there is to it.

And they tried, they really did. The McCain people has been putting out some well-coordinated attacks through their allies in the media, which in a different year would probably have been enough to bury the Democrat. But as usual, Obama has not only survived yet another blizzard of misinformation against him, it really doesn't seem to have affected him at all. We saw the same thing during the primary, where I'd get all worried about an onslaught of negative news slamming Obama, just to learn that he was about as popular afterwards as he was going in. As it turns out, people really like Obama. They really do.

But really, there isn't much that can save McCain. He was truly a lousy choice for them and I completely disagree with Josh Marshall's assertion that Mitt would have been "getting crushed" at this point. Mitt was their ideal candidate and I'd guess the guy to beat in 2012. Nobody would have given a shit about his verbal gaffes and he'd have been more likely to stay on script better than McCain, who still seems like he's just making this up as he goes along. Honestly, if you were a casting agent in Hollywood, you'd have certainly have picked Mitt to play the GOP nominee and wouldn't have given McCain a callback.

And I think that's just about the only thing that could have saved the Republicans this year. Reagan wasn't loved because he was a great president, he was loved because he looked like a great president. And McCain doesn't even look like he should be in politics. He only made it this far because the media loved him and now he's beginning to learn that even that wasn't enough. And so now he's getting knocked by Joe Klein as acting "shockingly unpresidential" while GOP hack Robert Novak describes McCain's manipulation of him as "reprehensible."

And this just isn't supposed to happen. But that's how desperate John McCain is. He's thrashing about like a fish out of water and can't even get the most basic of media assists to really work for him. But it's not going to work. The truth is that McCain really never was that popular. Sure, centrist-minded liberals liked to toss out his name as a way of showing how bi-partisan they could be and McCain didn't have huge negatives among a general population that didn't really know him well. But it never really was the kind of support you could build a presidential campaign on. The truth is that nobody really loved McCain; they just loved the idea of McCain.

And now McCain's finding that even the media is starting to turn on him. The more he presses the media's misinformation button, the less responsive they'll be. Because for as much as it seems that our complaints against them go unheard, they don't. When you complain about an egregious lie from a reporter, they might never admit they made a mistake, but it makes it a little less likely they'll do it again. And here we are in July and the media's already starting to push back against being McCain surrogates. Just wait until October, when they'll really be tired of all the angry rants McCain made them endure.

At least Bush had the advantage of keeping a chummy but superior relationship with them that allowed his people to pressure them into repeating lies for him. But McCain is supposed to be their buddy and nobody likes it when their buddy lies to them. And so McCain's campaign will continue to generate these misinformation blizzards, but each will be less effective than the last. Because it's not enough to slam Obama, who people geniuely like. McCain really needs to give people something to latch onto. But the longer this goes on, the less likeable McCain will be. But it's not just because the GOP has forced him to be wrong on all the issues. It's because people really didn't like John McCain that much to begin with.


Anonymous said...

Even the Republicans don't like John McCain.

Doctor Biobrain said...

No they don't. One of the big things that stunned me into blog-submission was visiting my folks over the 4th of July weekend and making the mistake of talking politics with my Fox News watching mom. She was saying how it's too early in the presidential season to know what McCain's policies on anything were, but knew all about Obama's supposed flip-flops on everything. The worst was when she said how me and the other Obama supporters didn't really like him and only supported him because we hated McCain so much. The irony of that stunned me into silence.

It's quite sad when otherwise intelligent people repeat utterly nonsensical things and don't care.