SEARCH BLOG: POLITICS
If you follow this blog, you'll note that I occasionally... but not regularly... comment on the U.S. campaign for president. Most of my comments have been the sniping kind rather than the "I support this candidate" sort.
The Baltimore Sun ran a piece called, "McCain: 'The luckiest man alive'" that gets close to why I just can't bring myself to get passionate about this election... and why this election really is going to be a "gut check" for American politics.
"Given the Democratic advantages, it shouldn't be close," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. "It's close because of the way that voters are able to see McCain as a potential agent of change, and no other Republican could have done that."
McCain's image isn't tethered to his party, a problem for him during the primaries, when the sincerity of his conservatism was in question. Those partisan shortcomings are now regarded, on balance, as pluses.
He is widely viewed as a reformer who challenged the establishment, including Republican leaders, on such issues as campaign finance and immigration.
McCain "is not seen like Bush by the voters," said Kohut.
A recent Pew poll showed McCain leading Obama by six points among independent voters, a key swing group that disapproves of Bush's performance as president. If Clinton is the nominee, McCain would cut into the Democratic advantage among voters under age 30, the poll found.
Top Clinton strategist Mark Penn has pointed out that McCain, a senator from the Southwest who has tried to put together a coalition for immigration reform, is well-positioned to bring Hispanic voters, the newest and fastest-growing sector of the electorate, back into the Republican fold.
Other Democratic strategists have noted that McCain's patriotic image and war-hero status could appeal to the white, socially conservative working-class voters, once known as Reagan Democrats, who are expected to be a pivotal group again this November.
His assets as a candidate also reflect the weaknesses of his Democratic rivals.
One of Obama's greatest liabilities, his lack of experience, plays directly into McCain's qualifications. His 48 years of public service are divided almost evenly between careers in the military and as a legislator in Washington.
Clinton's experience, polls show, is also a question mark, as are doubts about her trustworthiness. Americans were six times more likely to say they don't trust Clinton than McCain, according to a recent Gallup poll that probed the weaknesses of the presidential candidates.
Prejudice against an African-American or woman as president - difficult to measure accurately in opinion surveys - works to McCain's advantage. He would be the oldest person to get the job, but few of those who oppose McCain, 71, said it was because he was too old, according to Gallup.
If any of you have been watching the HBO series "John Adams," you might get the impression that this year's campaign has the making of a mini-revolutionary war... they are all fighting for "change."
In reality, this campaign is so far away from the ideals and sacrifice of John Adams and his peers that it has become a campaign of revulsion rather than revolution.Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
- John Adams