I’ve been taking some time to catch up on news this afternoon, and still can’t understand McCain’s rationale for suspending his campaign two days ago. I can understand his return to Washington to work on the bailout, but why shouldn’t his staff just continue without him? David Letterman wondered why Governor Palin didn’t step up and continue the campaign in his sted. Isn’t that one of the most important functions of a Vice-President? McCain’s advisors should have made her the temporary face of the campaign to show that she’s a capable leader. The economy is important, but arguably nothing is more important than the election.
Of course, the McCain campaign would never elevate Sarah Palin to that level; they hardly let her speak to the press. I am sympathetic to the grassroots “Free Sarah!” movement. McCain and his advisers need to stop holding her back. If Senator McCain is elected President, there’s a good chance that Palin may assume the Presidency mid-term, and it’s important for the voters to know more about someone with that potential. Of course, some conservative pundits are now questioning whether Governor Palin has gotten in over her head. Conservatives loved the idea of her, but it’s now becoming clear that her inexperience may actually hinder her from doing her job at a basic level. Personally, I am starting to question her intelligence. I think she’s a great VP candidate on paper, but she doesn’t work in today’s news environment. She needs to be able to stop presenting the media as a bunch of bullies; attack them for being wrong, don’t just sit back and refuse to talk to them. She should have gone directly to the media and told them: “I think your coverage of me is sexist, unprofessional, and hurtful. Until you end your smear campaign and focus on the issues of the election, [insent Conservative agenda], I will not be giving interviews. If you bring my family into any interview, the interview will be over.” The campaign did not do this, because the campaign obviously thinks a defensive strategy will work. I disagree, but I’m also severely out of touch with the average American.
I’m also biased because I don’t like Sarah Palin very much. I vote primarily on social issues (since those usually have the most lasting impact), and Governor Palin is a pro-life creationist who thinks it’s a top priority that we keep gay dudes from marrying. Still, I try to approach all political campaigns from a more academic perspective, and Palin just seems to have been a horrible misstep by the McCain camp. In any other election, the last three weeks would have crippled the Republican campaign, but the bitter divide in this election has allowed him to survive surprisingly unscathed. Independents left him a long time ago, and bitter Republicans certainly aren’t going to risk allowing a black Muslim to be President. Maybe this is the right strategy for McCain, but as a former (2000) supporter it’s driving me further and further from his campaign.
My Dream Ticket
I’m incredibly excited for the debates tonight. My love for political campaigning has only grown since I graduated, and I can’t wait to see how the candidates face off against one another. In case you haven’t heard, evidently John McCain was the clear winner pre-debate.
McCain wins debate! Presidency! Emperorship! Galactic Commander! Publisher's Clearing House!
For those of us waiting for the actual debate, however, I’ll offer my two cents. Obama has the clear advantage as the leader in most polls and more eloquent of the two candidates. McCain, however, has outperformed expectations at nearly every step along the campaign trail. People aren’t expecting him to win, so don’t be surprised if he ends up doing pretty well. That said, this is Obama’s big opportunity. He’s smart enough to capitalize on any McCain error and I’m hoping he comes out swinging.
Those thoughts were probably pretty incoherent, but I just wanted to write something about the political clusterfuck that has been going on the last few weeks. I wish I was still in Austin so I could talk with my government professors about everything that’s going on, because it’s a radical departure from previous presidential campaigning. I’m not sure anyone really knows what is going on right now, or why.
I hope everyone is safe, and doing well. Share your political frustrations in the comments section!