Democrats & Liberals Archives

"If he's driving the car, get off the sidewalk!"

On Morning Joe this morning, Obama campaign strategist Robert Gibbs crystallized just how erratic McCain’s behavior has been these past couple of weeks. Standards that he set up, he didn’t meet. Opinions he and his running mate expressed one moment are cast aside the next. Can we depend upon any leadership McCain might provide, or will we have to go through another presidential term afraid of what he’s going to do next?

Check it out: during the last week, McCain suspended his campaign, but didn't really stop speaking, doing interviews, visiting campaign supporters, or having surrogates attack Obama. He said he wasn't going to attend the debate without a solution. He did. He said that he had succeeded in brokering the Republican side of the bill, and negotiations publically broke down not along after. Then, after the debate was done, the Republicans proceed to vote two to one against the bill. He expressed confidence in the markets, then expressed grave concern. He railed against bailouts, and then railed for them. He got on television to say that people shouldn't be playing the blame game, then promptly blamed Obama for the bill not passing (the same Obama he would criticizing for remaining somewhat aloof.)

(It also doesn't help that his surrogates had been on about an hour or two earlier laying blame themselves.)

What's going on? McCain's campaign is being eroded by the same mechanism that's been eroding the rest of his party: not merely a reliance on BS, but an exaggerated, arrogant, misguided confidence in the ability of that BS to bring people into their fantasy-land, where all is right with the party, every position they offer is the best, and every candidate they offer is the next great leader.

When you don't have to match words with deeds, when you can play the game of doubletalk and always have been at war with Eurasia one day, and Eastasia the next, then accountability flies out the window. Or at least you think it does, until somebody holds you accountable. In a country where there is no totalitarian government capable of surpressing other views (darn it) the charade won't last long, or retain robust support forever.

More to the point, the real world screw-ups, the failure to live up to expectations (especially the self-inflicted kind) begin to take their toll. People begin to sense that they can't trust what you say, and you end up on the thin ice of having people merely voting for you on a wedge issue basis.

McCain has been trying his damnedest to look like the safe candidate. Too bad for him, his own behavior's convincing people that he's the least stable and least comforting candidate of the two. But hey, I have no problem with McCain scaring off voters.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 30, 2008 8:02 AM