Twice now when the McCain campaign was in a tailspin heading for a crash it has been his novice co-pilot Sarah Palin, rather than John McCain himself, who grabbed the controls and steadied things.
Governor Palin’s electrifying performance at the Republican National Convention rescued what was becoming the Campaign to Nowhere.
But all the good that she had accomplished for McCain dissipated when, at the first presidential debate, McCain steadfastly refrained from throwing any tough wallops regarding economic issues — no matter how often Barack Obama exposed a glass jaw.
Obama’s opening punch of reiterating laying all blame for the financial crisis on “the failed economic policies” of Republicans with a big assist from McCain called for a vigorous powerful rebuttal. Instead, McCain counterpunched first with gibberish about how Teddy Kennedy is such “a dear and beloved friend to all of us;” followed by happy talk about how he was feeling better because “for the first time in a long time Republicans and Democrats, sitting down, trying to work out a solution to this fiscal crisis we are in;” then an agreeing-with-Obama observation that “accountability and oversight” were needed; then fizzling out with “we’ve got a lot of work to do”…and “we’ve got to create jobs” and “eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.”
Thus, on the economic issue — the part of that debate by far of most interest to viewers, the issue that will decide this election — McCain gave Obama just about a total pass while giving the millions of voters who were watching little more than a serving of shopworn dull clichés rather than presenting them with any compelling evidence that he is far and away a better choice than Obama. On the campaign trail that same sort of sleep-inducing message has been the norm.
So “Sarah Barracuda” came to the rescue a second time. With all the appealing charm, warmth, wit, and grace of the “Miss Congeniality” she was and still is, at her debate she adroitly made complete fools of Obama’s mainstream media cheerleaders who had been trashing McCain’s VP pick as little more than some dopey cute gal who hunts moose as she calmly and confidentially demonstrated to a record viewing audience of 70 million the proper way to field dress one of the U.S. Senate’s biggest turkeys.
But praying for more saves by Sarah is not a strategy.
McCain needs to come out of his slumber and summon real passion in telling America why he should be president — and why Obama should not be. He has to finally start fighting like someone who is out to win.
From now through Election Day John McCain has to quit pussyfooting around. Forget yakking about “reaching across the aisle” and boasting about all the friendly fire he’s directed at Republicans over the years — and, good grief, shut up about kinder and gentler treatment for the terrorists we’ve captured. Attack. Attack. Attack. The military hero needs to heed the advice of another military hero, General Douglas MacArthur: “Never surrender an advantage to the enemy.” Surrendering advantages to the opposition has of late been what the McCain campaign has been specializing in.
He does need to be mindful that no other attack will work well unless McCain first vehemently attacks Obama and the Democrats over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and compellingly demonstrates the extent of their complicity in the colossal failure as well as the depth of their corruption. Otherwise, Obama will say that McCain is just trying to divert attention from “the failed economic policies of George Bush” or something like that and the public will believe it.
That the McCain campaign has at this late hour neglected to expose Obama and the Democrats as the culprits in the costly smelly scandal that is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and instead just stands there taking it and sinking as Obama and the Democrats lie with reckless abandon is politically stupid beyond belief. McCain is toast unless without much further delay this matter is effectively challenged and corrected.
The guy who keeps boasting that he will name the names behind comparatively small time pork barrel if he becomes president had better name the names behind the massive Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disasters — now! — or he will not become president.
McCain should call a news conference, say that we need change immediately, and demand that Chris Dodd immediately resign as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and that Barney Frank immediately resign as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Demand that an investigation be launched into the propriety of permitting Barney Frank to oversee Fannie May while his “significant other” serves as a top Fanny May executive. Demand that Obama either join with him in calling for a punishment of such an outrageously poor performance or else explain why he won’t. Don’t just say it and forget it. Keep up the fire. Demand that Obama and Dodd and Frank and all others who raked in money from Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac return those funds and that they make the checks out to the U.S. Treasury. And keep up the fire.
Ask Obama why he selected to be one of his advisers the CEO who ran Fanny Mae into the ground while pocketing some $90 million in six years, mostly in questionable bonuses — and ask what he was thinking when he made him an adviser on housing of all things. Keep up the fire until he has to respond. Ask him if he would consider appointing this person to any position in an Obama administration. Ask him if that is the type of person he thinks belongs in government?
Put into TV ads video clips of those four-years-ago Congressional hearings about the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight report regarding illegal bookkeeping practices at Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac and warning of looming disaster.
It is easy to prove that Republicans took the warning seriously and that every Democrat involved opposed action, arguing “we do not have a crisis” … and “everything is just fine;” claiming that Republicans were “just trying to fix something that isn’t broken;” and — talk about being out of touch and in over your depth: “I get the feeling that the markets are not worried.”
And while he’s at it, McCain should educate the country to the fact that when it all finally did hit the fan, the Democrats tried to pull yet another fast one on the American people by attempting to slip into the $700 million financial rescue plan a provision that would have take 20% of the money for debt retirement and instead earmark it into the coffers of a radical left-wing operation with which Obama has deep roots. McCain needs to talk — loudly and until the sound of his voice breaks through the media’s barrier protecting Obama — about how Obama’s allies attempted to require taxpayers to pay a kick back formula fee of potentially billions of dollars to this bunch of left-wing radicals who have a long track record of convictions for voter fraud, embezzlement, and misuse of taxpayers’ money — the network of community organizers who go by the name ACORN.
He should alert voters to the fact that Obama worked for ACORN; that he was a trainer for them; that he performed services for them as a lawyer; that he and his unrepentant terrorist friend Bill Ayers worked closely together funneling grants to them; that Obama’s campaign has spent nearly a million dollars to retain their services.
Ask Obama how such sleazy shenanigans had anything to do with restoring confidence in the financial markets or protecting the mortgages, college loans, or retirement accounts of working men and women. Ask the media why they didn’t think this was very newsworthy?
Ask Obama — what did you know and when did you know it? Demand that he explain what he thinks of this. Ask him if he is glad or sorry that the Republicans managed to get it removed? Keep up the fire. Ask until he answers. Make Obama squirm.
If John McCain comes to his own rescue by beginning to act this way — like the tough leader and tough fighter so many of us know that deep down he really is — he will be taking a giant step toward the White House. And if he keeps it up day in and day out he will win.
If he doesn’t, he will be letting down the country — and that is the last thing that John McCain would ever intentionally do.