I Pity the Fool

I pity John McCain.

He was smacked around by Karl Rove in the 2000 campaign (adopted daughter is his illegitimate child, his wife is a drug user) and instead of truly being a “maverick” and turning his back on the attack machine, embraced it.

He should have left the Republican Party and become John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. He should have told the neo-cons they were wrong on torture, wrong on the invasion of Iraq and wrong on using national tragedy as a political power play. Instead, in 2008, we have a frail-looking, freaky-smiling, possibly senile candidate of an unpopular party throwing pot shots at the young and up and comer like an old man yelling, “Get off my lawn!”

When the Republicans promote an untruth, the internet is there to blow the lid off the ploy. Digg, YouTube and hundreds of other popular websites jump at the chance to pounce on a gaffe and expose a lie. This is 21st century campaigning. Plus, it’s free. McCain himself said he was stuck in the 20th century and it’s obvious he can’t compete. He’s like Nixon not understanding the role of television as he debates with Kennedy.

Additionally, the promotional tool the internet has been for Obama and the Democrats versus the Republicans is staggering. In fact, right now it looks like the Democrats are progressive, far-reaching and understanding of emerging technology and the Republicans are still using rotary-dial phones. I mean, McCain has to steal Obama’s website design just to get halfway current.

Throughout this campaign, McCain seems to lack either the mental focus or the intellectual fortitude to stay on message and handle questions. I can’t tell if he’s simply confused or senile. He doesn’t understand the difference between Shia and Sunni. He thinks there’s still a country called Czechslovkia and that Pakistan borders Iraq. He calls the ability to read printed emails given to him by his staffers as using the internet.

He’s against drilling off the coasts… wait he’s for it now. He’s against the Bush tax cuts…. wait now he’s for them. He made statements how the Religious Right were an intolerant bunch… wait he likes Hagge.

I could go on and on regarding his multitude of gaffes and flip flops, but gaffes and waffling positions shouldn’t be the only benchmark in evaluating him.

A strong organization starts from the top. Obama has a 50-state strategy, has mobilized campaign offices in every state, has raised millions of dollars through donations as small as $20 through his website, has met with foreign leaders, the commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan and his speeches draw tens of thousands of people to hear what he has to say. He’s popular domestically and internationally. He’s been married to the same woman for 16 years and has two daughters. He is not beholden to special interest groups and is essentially a Washington outsider.

McCain has raised campaign donations from an elite few, called his Baghdad shopping trip with hundreds of troops creating a perimeter and Apache helicopters circling a safe environment, he has lobbyists on his staff, but pretends he doesn’t. He has the audacity to promote family values when he himself divorced his crippled first wife to marry his mistress, an heiress half his age. Plus, there’s that small bit about wanting to stay in Iraq for a 100 years when the American populace clearly wants out.

I can’t think of a presidential campaign more poorly run and uninspiring as John McCain’s campaign. McCain gets caught in a string of lies (drilling off shore will drop gas prices, Obama purposely snubbed the troops overseas) and then is surprised anyone would actually look up the truth. It isn’t just the “fringe” bloggers calling him out, but the mainstream media and members of his own party.

My favorite recent misstep of the McCain campaign was goading Obama into taking his international tour and then realizing too late that Obama is kind of popular internationally.

Obama goes overseas, spends time with the troops (sinks a nice 3-pointer, BTW), speaks to a 100,000 in Germany and generally is seen as “presidential.” McCain sits in a German restaurant and greets tens of people. McCain meets with the Dali Lama and as John Stewart said on The Daily Show, looks as uncomfortable as a five-year old who has to go to a nursing home. McCain looks small and weak next to his opponent who is young, vibrant and handling himself on the world stage in a way that brings prestige back to the United States of America.

Lastly, the McCain campaign actually put out an ad calling Obama more popular than himself. This was so stupid I can hardly find the words. Putting aside the overt racism of using Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (blonde and white) in the ad, all that spot did was solidify Obama’s celebrity status and diminish McCain’s. The ad reminds everyone what we all know: Obama transcends race. Americans have no problems with the superstars who transcend race. Obama is now on the same level as Oprah, Tiger, Will Smith or Michael Jordan. It’s nice to be reminded.

McCain is going to lose badly in November and, by the way, the Hilton family wants their campaign contribution back.