Friday, May 30, 2008

Let the games begin: thots on McCain

One of my ardent wishes for this campaign is that, at the end of it, I still have a fair amount of respect for John McCain. He may have been the right man at some point, but this is sure the wrong time.

McCain's problem is a simple one. He's running on two things: his personal story, and his reputation for integrity. Those are good things to run on, and many men have gone very far with much less. But he also has to run on ideology, policy, and is ability to run a good campaign. In ideological terms, he's clearly out of step with the country. On policy, I don't think that has been his strong suit as a Senator. He's a smart man, but he's clearly not a policy wonk like either Hillary or Obama. One reason that I think Hillary is still running strong against him is that, in terms of command of detail of policy, she wipes the floor with him. She is a wonk's wonk (and that is a high compliment from me), while he doesn't seem to be much of a deep thinker.

In terms of running a campaign, I'm sure he is capable of running a solid presidential campaign. He has hired good people, he's very energetic, and there are still Republicans out there with money. My guess is that he will run a good campaign. But Obama has and is running a groundbreaking, phenomenal campaign that has already set new standards for how campaigns should be run.

Then of course there is the problem of exactly what McCain thinks. This video highlights some of his contradictory statements. I don't think he's intellectually dishonest- I just think he doesn't think about policy that deeply or carefully enough to have consistent positions. He has principles, which are deeply held, and are generally good. But I don't think he's done a lot of the hard work connecting the principles to the positions.

I found the video in an article about McCain and YouTube at It's from a column called "On The Media," which is apparently a new column in the LA Times by James Rainey. I like this one, so I will keep an eye out for this guy. And I found the link from Talking Points Memo.

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