Poor message discipline has been the downfall of many a campaign. Take this, for example:
With the economy on the top of voters' minds, Republican presidential candidate John McCain's top
economic adviser said the Arizona senator will lay down a detailed program to
revive dynamic growth with dramatic tax and spending reforms.
In an interview with the Washington Times, Phil Gramm, a
former Texas senator who is now vice chairman of UBS, the giant Swiss bank, said
he expects Mr. McCain to inherit a sluggish economy if he wins the presidency,
weighed down above all by the conviction of many Americans that economic
conditions are the worst in two or three decades and that America is in
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," he
said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the
publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and
credit problems and record oil prices. "We may have a recession; we haven't had
"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he
said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of
competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the
primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.
Uh huh. That's just great; calling people suffering from the economic slowdown "whiners". I'm sure that's the message John McCain wants to be sending. I don't know how aggressive the Obama campaign will be with these foibles, but between this and the Social Security "disgrace", McCain has given them a lot of ammunition.
And I have to say that I don't know what he means by a "major export boom". Admittedly, I haven't been keeping up with all the data on US trade, but a quick check of The Economist shows that the US still has a trade deficit of $831 billion for the year. Perhaps the declining value of the dollar has indeed made US exports more competitive, but that hardly accounts for all the other economic ills afflicting the country.
Next, we come to a slightly entertaining story, dug up by Steve Benen (who is probably doing the best job at eviscerating McCain at every opportunity):
I’ve been following John McCain for quite some time, but my single favorite
McCain story of all time came in March 2007, when the senator was chatting with
some reporters aboard his campaign bus. The subject turned to sexual health and
contraception — and McCain hadn’t the foggiest idea what to say.
Asked whether federal grants to education should focus on abstinence-only, McCain
wasn’t sure. Asked whether he believes “contraceptives help stop the spread of
HIV,” McCain said he had no idea. Asked if contraceptives “stop the spread of
sexually transmitted diseases,” McCain was
dumbfounded, looked at the ceiling, and urgently motioned for his staff to
These weren’t trick questions, but McCain ended up looking like
a fool. After a quarter-century in Congress, during which time McCain has
participated in thousands of policy hearings, and has voted on hundreds of bills
relating to public health, but as a presidential candidate, he hasn’t the
foggiest idea if contraceptives can “stop the spread of sexually transmitted
The subject continues to confound the poor man.
So, to recap, McCain doesn't know anything about the economy. He doesn't know anything about contraception and STDs, apparently. He doesn't know anything about Social Security, and has no coherent plan to "fix" it. He has flip-flopped on dozens of issues. He is prone to make inappropriate jokes about killing Iranians.
Can anyone explain to me how the election polls could possibly still show a "close race"? Maybe it's because the media, still obsessed with worshipping the very ground that McCain stands on, just doesn't want to publicize all these embarassing stories.