Dick Morris has one of his advice columns (to presidential candidates) in the WaPo this morning and it’s hard to dispute his view that McCain’s best shot at the presidency is by moving to the center. Of course, that’s not hard for the Senator because that’s pretty much where he is anyway, as Morris notes.
Iraq, the supposed weakness in McCain’s portfolio, again according to Morris, is a more complex matter. The Senator may be closer to the people’s view than pundits think. His real adversary on this issue is the media, who are far more powerful than Obama in shaping opinion That was evident to me last night while watching Frank Luntz’s show on Fox. The focus groups Luntz assembles make some of the most interesting political viewing on television, giving us (sometimes cringe worthy) insight into the public. This insight is often more surprising than the pundits whose ideologies almost always make them entirely predictable.
The voters in last night’s episode were asked why they thought Bush was a failure (the vast majority thought he was). For me, one of the more memorable responses was one voter saying it was because the President made the mistake of “trying to bring democracy to the Middle East.” My reaction to that man was the he had been essentially brainwashed by the media. The media has been pervaded by this (racist/cultural relativist) narrative for sometime. But logically, there is no way of knowing at this point to the degree the Iraq War or Bush have brought democracy to the ME. Any final determination on that issue is years away.
That is McCain’s challenge–to counteract media brainwashing.