How to Run Against McCain?
All these months of internecine fighting have not (and please read these next lines in your best Chris Farley voice) “strengthened the eventual nominee,” or “shown our democracy in action,” or “brought new voters to the party.”
They’ve only let John McCain run around the country with a shiny halo undimmed by even the meekest criticism from a docile media. The country hasn’t yet gotten the telegram that he’s no longer a Mr. Rogers moderate. He’s the carnivorous offspring of Strom Thurmond and Glen Beck.
Time matters. At this point in the 2004 campaign, John Kerry was an effete, wind-surfing, brie-tasting, troop-hating pederast. And possibly an informer for Al Qaeda. John McCain deserves the same treatment – except on, you know, actual issues instead of imaginary demagogic ones.
But don’t worry, there’s plenty to choose from. I think there’s ten themes the Democrats should be trying out:
1. Old man
2. Crazy and cranky
3. Crazy and cranky old man
4. McCain of Arabia
6. W, the Sequel
7. Anti-choice, anti-Social Security, anti-health care (the usual liberal lines; bleh)
8. Slave to the far-right (playing kissy face with Falwell, etc.)
9. The Double Talk Express (various hypocrisies and about-faces since 2000)
10. Clueless on the economic realities of the middle class
Personally, I like a combination of #6, 9, and 10. Don’t look a gift lame-duck President in the mouth. If Biden or Clarke were the nominee, maybe #4. But I don’t trust Obama (or most Democrats) to be able to talk about foreign policy coherently. Heck, I’m not sure I trust them to do foreign policy.
But, whatever is this attack option, it’s time to start loading the cannons. You can’t transform the country into a radiant, hopeful place unless you first dismantle the other guy.