Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Meet __(insert name)___ the __(insert profession)__!

Anyone who has been following the U.S. presidential election lately knows that in the last month-and-a-half, the global economic crisis has seen a large shift in the poll numbers in favor of Senator Barack Obama in his quest for the White house. John McCain's handling of the economic crisis saw his worst week in the campaign as he jumped from one message to the next from day-to-day, and in one case just a matter of hours!

Watching the way both candidates handled their approach to the situation (and the whole campaign in general) has been quite revealing to me. McCain's campaign is all over the map, with every day bringing a different message, and the overall tone is growing more and more negative and they are hitting the "fear" button whenever they can, even going as far as saying that Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists" and that his tax policies are "socialist". As we have seen, the more they hit the fear button, the worse things get and while it might appeal to far-right supporters, everyone closer to the middle and off to the left are getting turned off by this tactic. If McCain had the base that George W. Bush had in 2004, he wouldn't have to worry about Democrat or Independent voters. Bush lost both in the 2004 election, yet because of the size of his base took the election. But the size of the Republican base is much smaller then it was in 2004, and McCain now needs both his base and Independents to win the election. The problem is his tactics might be appeasing the base he needs, but they're also turning away the Independents he needs even more. Even watching John McCain in the debates, you see just how much he reacts to everything that is said, and at times there have been glimmers of the temper that has become infamous around the country.

I've been impressed by Obama's handling of the campaign and of the economic crisis as well. While McCain is saying that there needs to be swift and decisive action, had McCain been President when this crisis took place, I think we would not be better off. Obama chose to watch the way things were going and listen to economic advisors to try to determine the best course of action in a market that was simply all over the place. This showed an attempt at problem solving and critical thinking in a volatile situation where the wrong move at the wrong time could have disastrous implications.

I've also been impressed with how the Obama campaign has been run. He has a massive ground game all across the country the likes of which, many political pundits say, has never been seen. And when you watch the Obama campaign on TV in interviews they are very well coordinated and all have the same message and use the same phrase or terminology. It shows that his campaign is a well-oiled machine. And watching Obama on the debates he was always respectful, giving McCain is undivided attention, even smiling at him while McCain was speaking. Meanwhile, McCain spent the first two debates barely looking at Obama, and the third debate rolling his eyes half the time. Obama meanwhile was cool and thoughtful.

The question I face as I prepare to vote in two weeks is this: Which campaign do I want in the White House? The one that is erratic with many different messages, some of which try to divide instead of unite, with a candidate who is emotional and often times angry? Or do I want the one that is well-oiled, well-coordinated and almost-always on message, with a candidate who is cool, calm, respectful and thoughtful, assessing the situation before acting?

I've been quite amused by the way things have been since the third debate when a new star emerged onto the national scene. If you've paid attention, you know of whom I speak. Yes, I refer to Joe the Plumber.

Joe the Plumber was referenced 26 times in the last debate, something that eventually became laughable and ridiculous and fodder for late night comedians. Jon Stewart, David Letterman and the likes no doubt had a riot! Well, the McCain/Palin Campaign has taken it to such new heights that not only is Joe the Plumber their new mascot-apparent, but also given him a band of followers! In recent days, Joe the Plumber has been joined by...
  • Phil the Bricklayer
  • Rose the Teacher
  • and Tito the Builder
No, I am not making those up. Just look it up.

Oh...and they've also decided to pull Barack Obama into the fray: Barach the Wealth Spreader. Wow, how an already very nasty and ridiculous election is only going to get worse in the next fourteen days.

In 2012, we should take a hint from Canada and condense our 20-month election cycle into 37 days.


Josh said...

I would like to know how Rose the Teacher's dreams are dashed by Obama's plan? How many teachers do you know make more than $250K a year? I would love to make that much when I teach.

Evie said...

This is a good, well-reasoned post. It doesn't hurt that you arrived at the right conclusion. :)

Dave said...

This is a cogent post. I agree with your views that McCain and Palin have been all over the place.

Jonathan Sears said...

I heard a Palin interview with CNN in which she expanded the list of working Americans she and John McCain have met:
- Molly the Engineer,
- Jane the Dental Hygenist,
- and Chuck the Teacher.

In my honest opinion, they have beaten this line of rhetoric to death!

Catharine said...

I don't know how my southern friends and family handle so uch election retoric for so long. 37 days for the Canadian election was long enough!