Sunday, August 24, 2008

Change Before It’s Too Late

Frank Rich has a column worth reading in full today. It's short but I'll give you a few key quotes, not necessarily in order of appearance.
What we have learned this summer is this: McCain’s trigger-happy temperament and reactionary policies offer worse than no change. He is an unstable bridge back not just to Bush policies but to an increasingly distant 20th-century America that is still fighting Red China in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the cold war. As the country tries to navigate the fast-moving changes of the 21st century, McCain would put America on hold.

....McCain increasingly resembles those mad Japanese soldiers who remained at war on remote Pacific islands years after Hiroshima.

Rich goes on to offer some sound advice on presentation.
Obama’s real problem is not a lack of detail but his inability to sell policy with “an effective story.” ... How we dig out of this quagmire is the American story that Obama must tell. It is not a story of endless conflicts abroad but a potentially inspiring tale of serious economic, educational, energy and health-care mobilization at home. We don’t have the time or resources to go off on more quixotic military missions or to indulge in culture wars.
In short, it's the same advice I've been giving Obama for months now. Skip the long winded explanations. Keep it simple. Low info voters buy into sloganery. Sadly the wonkery we obsessives thrive on, glazes the average voter over.

But perhaps the best advice Rich offers is to need to reframe the mythical maverick narrative. As he points out, "McCain is not nearly as popular among Americans, it turns out, as he is among his journalistic camp followers. Should voters actually get to know him, he has nowhere to go but down." So true.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Blogger Swampcracker said...

These comments resonate with me too, and I am starting to worry about whether or not Obama will pull off an election win. The Saddleback debate may have been a watershed moment; I thought Obama had the more authentic, more nuanced and more thoughtful answers, but it was McCain who connected with this audience.

Interesting to note: The evangelical voter comprises 16 to 17% of the electorate, i.e., roughly the same as the non-religious segment. Maybe atheists and agnostics should organize. If we don't organize, we're likely to get left out of the political sweepstakes game.

10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I've heard that the fundies are actually smaller a group than has been reported but who knows. I don't think you can trust pollsters anymore.

It will be fine. The campaign starts in earnest in a week and we'll see. So far the GOPers haven't thrown much that will stick I think. And we have plenty of ammo against McCain.

I worry about the Diebolds more than the voters at this point.

Glad to see you by the way. I was worried when you didn't answer my email.

8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I have a hard time believing the Fundifascists aren't everywhere. Most wouldn't admit to being insane, but I like to use those presidential dollar coins because half the merchants I offer them to refuse to take them because the illegal religious oath (and blasphemous,too) isn't on them. Of course it is but they can look at it and say it isn't because some equally deranged Christian supremacist told them.

9:26:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL. You're such a rebel Fogg. Why can't you use good old greenbacks, like real Murkins do?

10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Real Americans use plastic because borrowing at 24% and never paying down the principle is the Republican way and good for the economy.

Obama's real problem of course is that he's obviously smarter than most people. Success lies in making the stupid majority feel like they're the real intellectual elite. Worked for Reagan, worked for Hitler, works every time.

2:00:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Sorry commentary on the state of our society when being smart is a negative.

2:32:00 PM  

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