Posted by: mutantpoodle | October 30, 2008

Filling the Vacuum

Yes, I watched.

It was Reaganesque in its gauzy, slow-motion optimism. And while I think the content was fine and the message plenty appealing – I call it the Obama Propaganda shop for a reason – I don’t think any of that matters as much as this.

Barack Obama spent 30 minutes on national television looking like a President. You didn’t need to listen – you just had to see.

I’ve talked a lot recently about the McCain campaign’s almost schizophrenic inconsistency. And I’ve written about Colin Powell’s endorsement as part of the revenge of the grown-ups.

Last night, I realized that John McCain made Obama’s infomercial possible. He did it when he stopped being a grown-up himself and ran his campaign as if it was for President of his High School Senior Class.

I mean, McCain has the elder statesman look; he does, indeed, have the scars to prove his service to this country. Most people think that age and experience confer gravitas, which was always his greatest advantage in this campaign.

And he punted it away.

People who don’t read Jonah Goldberg and Michelle Malkin for their daily dose of truth aren’t going to think you a serious candidate if (a) you pick a decidedly un-serious running mate; (b) you can’t talk seriously about policy; and (c) if you choose to talk about socialism, or redistributionism, or whatever the hell the theme of the day is now.

McCain created a grown-up vacuum, which Barack Obama glided into and has been inhabiting pretty much since the financial crisis/campaign suspension tsunami hit this election. The reason McCain’s desperate cries that Obama isn’t ready (yet, according to the latest McCain commercial) fall flat is that, by every standard except the shock of white hair, Barack Obama seems far more ready for and suited to the Presidency than John McCain.

There are lots of reasons Obama is very likely to win this – some of which are due to his incredibly disciplined but resilient campaign, and some of which are related to McCain blunders. (I’m assembling a list of those reasons, by the way, for later publication.) But for McCain to let Obama be the grownup in this race – when that was the biggest perceived advantage McCain had going in – was political malpractice. McCain’s best chance was to share that space with Obama, and make him seem lightweight by comparison.

He didn’t, and now look where he is.



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