Monday, November 3, 2008

The final hours of the McCain-Obama campaign: Closing thoughts

Some last pre-election thoughts:

* McCain was (mis-) served by a team of small minds and hacks who created a campaign cutout McCain who was a pale shadow of the McCain who became an admired national political figure. The cutout McCain chose Palin as VP candidate, did a closely watched pratfall when the financial crisis burst open, and spent the critical last weeks of the campaign throwing futile glancing blows at his agile opponent.
* Obama got a huge boost from the financial crisis, which, following historical precedent, would be blamed on Republicans, including maverick McCain.
* The press was indeed biased toward Obama. It did not, for example, get to the root of how Obama could maintain that he himself had never heard his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, deliver wild invective from the pulpit (e.g., "God damn America!"), even though he sat in the pew of Wright's church for 20 years' worth of sermons (the most damning of them available for purchase in the church gift shop).
* Obama developed and sustained a powerful tax message ("Everybody making less than $250,000 a year won't pay a dime more in taxes") that made more sense than McCain's frantic "Joe the Plumber" message based on the hypothetical huh? threat from Obama's plan to raise the tax on present $40,000 earners when their income exceeded $250,000.
* Obama, whatever his weaknesses in experience, was seen as a young, temperamentally steady leader, while McCain was seen as an old, temperamental maverick.
* The electorate, even die-hard Republicans, was fed up with the Bush administration. Any Republican would have had an enormous handicap trying to overcome that eight-year legacy. Obama couldn't help benefit from the GOP wreckage. But wouldn't any other Democrat, particularly Hillary Clinton, have achieved the same? Maybe. Possibly. We'll never know for certain.

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