Monday, June 09, 2008

Twist the Presidential Lens

Suddenly, it's time to focus. The three, and now two, major party Presidential candidates have been in soft focus for a year and change. Considerable sharpening will likely decide the election.

Writing today largely on Barack Obama, the Financial Times' Clive Crook says it well:
His greatest electoral weakness will probably not be inexperience, nor the fact that he is black. Washington’s most experienced politicians have little to boast about and voters know it. Racism exists, but he came through the Wright storm stronger. The charge that sticks is vagueness. Appealing as the message of change and hope may be to a country with a low opinion of its politicians, it will not be enough. He will be challenged to make his policies – on Iraq, on Iran, on the economy and healthcare – more detailed and specific. He will need to answer, if not with exhaustive blueprints then at least with a mastery of the issues, clearer priorities and a franker recognition of the costs and benefits than he has shown so far.
That's applicable to McCain as well, as it was for Clinton. While their elves of spin in their campaigns — as well as many of their supporters — claimed that unlike the others, their positions were clearly annunciated and distinctive. Balderdash.

In fact, at the primary stages of such a campaign, they'd likely have been foolish to be too specific. That gives the other side too big a target to pick at and find fault. McCain is not gold here. His laughable and overly general economic and foreign policies won't stand and won't help him as is.

Now, it's show time. So far, the GOP ads are down and dirty, standard lying attack fare. Fortunately, we have debates and debate-like events coming up.

McCain is almost certain to regret his chant of Obama being devoid of ideas, details and substance. In fact, the Bush LITE associations of McCain will require a lot more than waving hands and saying he didn't agree with everything that President said.

Yet, so far the MSM likes the idea that Obama is the vague one. It shouldn't take long to put the lie to that. It will be fascinating to see how McCain acts as it becomes plain in debates who's the fluff spreader.

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