McCain the dinosaur

January 25, 2009

He was ridiculed during the campaign for not using email, or blackberry, or knowing the difference between a Mac and PC.

But never was his technological ineptitude as visible as today:

MCCAIN: There’s got to be some kind of litmus as to whether it’ll really stimulate the economy and whether it will in the short-term. Some of the stimulus in this package is excellent; some of it, frankly, has nothing to do — some of the projects and others that you just mentioned, $6 billion for broadband and internet access. That will take years.

Universal broadband access is actually the most important part of the entire stimulus package, and at only 6 billion (less than 1% of the total) is already incredibly underfunded.

Like many old-timers McCain still thinks of infrastructure in terms of roads and buildings, when we need to be thinking in terms of a new electron economy.  I’ll quote Friedman again:

If we spend $1 trillion on a stimulus and just get better highways and bridges — and not a new Google, Apple, Intel or Microsoft — your kids will thank you for making it so much easier for them to commute to the unemployment office or mediocre jobs.

Renegade Maverick

January 20, 2009

Much is being written about the emerging Obama-McCain alliance.  Rick Santorum said it most bluntly:

I believe Obama has an ace in the hole among Senate Republicans. This unlikely ace can deliver not only the GOP moderates needed to break a filibuster, but also the stamp of bipartisanship: the 2008 GOP standard bearer, John McCain.

To which I say “why wouldn’t he?”

The Republican Party’s intransigence sabotaged his candidacy by:

  • Never supporting him until he gave them their beloved disaster from Alaska, which only undermined him.
  • Not allowing him to choose the vice president he really wanted, a moderate like Lieberman which would have attracted independents.
  • Imposing the Rove team and their tactics to run his campaign, which illegitimized the straight-talk reputation he had carefully built.

Could he have won with the campaign he wanted to run?  I think he just might.  And he probably believes that.

Now he’s got a chance to rebuild his Maverick reputation, get back at the Right, and maybe even share in Obama’s glory.

And really, why stick with a sinking ship when he wasn’t welcome anyways?

It’s good to have the Maverick back.

Rewriting history

January 3, 2009

I’ve already discussed Bush’s current effort to ‘rebrand’ his tenure on the way out (so history will judge ever more kindly).

Another effort going on in parallel is to discredit Obama’s skill in winning the election.  For examples see Mark Halperin claiming the media was in love with Obama, or Kuhn’s opinion in RCP that Obama won by pure chance.

So to help history in ‘making its judgment’ let me reprint here my Digg comment from 10/15/08 on why McCain would lose:

1) Palin drove away the independents (actually I blame the party for this: They wouldn’t accept Lieberman, then Kristol ‘found her’). Her ineptitude undermined his own BO-lacks-experience message.
2) Obama’s fund raising blowout: He’s outspending McCain on ads in most markets by a factor of 3 (thanks to all of you who pitched in).
3) Obama ran a disciplined, strategic (vs. tactical) and carefully managed campaign (e.g. he never went after Palin even when everyone was scared and pushing him to do it), with an unprecedented outreach, registration and GOTV operation.
4) McCain’s successive stunts made him look anything but reassuring. Again, he undermined his own message (‘steady hand at the tiller’).
5) The economy (get the bums out), and McCain’s own admission it wasn’t his strong suit.
6) Obama and Biden’s performance at the debates was spotless: No heavy punches, just a reassuring and educated message that connected with people. McCain sounded like a broken record.
7) McCain’s campaign was a disaster in general: He was a snoozer at the podium, his surrogates shot themselves one by one (some were let go!), no message discipline, he lied unabashedly way too early and went negative only after he lost his credibility, etc, etc.
8) Netroots influenced the news cycle heavily, to BO’s advantage.
9) Ultimately I believe many people just didn’t know BO like those of us that have been supporting him for years, but once they heard him directly they actually discovered he could be trusted, and his depth and judgment far outweighed his lack of experience. This was inevitable.
10) Bush came out of hiding to try and drum support for the rescue bill. Seeing him on TV day after day just reminded us all how much we hated the last 8 years.

The fact that Obama’s win wasn’t a bigger landslide, even with his spectacular campaign, and McCain’s disastrous one, was a testament to two things: Racism, and the GOP’s ability to scare voters (and Obama’s color -black-, name -Hussein-, provenance -Chi’s South Side- and education -Harvard- making for the perfect boogie man).