Tag Archives: Election 2008

In End, McCain Played to the GOP – WSJ.com

John McCain

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A post-mortem of the McCain campaign.  Isn’t it interesting how the conventional wisdom of the strategists doesn’t look like wisdom after the fact.  Conventional wisdom said McCain shouldn’t have won the nomination, but he did.  Unfortunately he didn’t maintain the same sort of independence in the general election.  It can’t al be blamed on McCain, of course, and the folks have a point when they talk about the fact that McCain got absolutely no media coverage until he started playing to the base and running negative ads against Obama–and without the same sort of fund-raising mechanism as Obama, he certainly couldn’t have bought it.

WASHINGTON — Heading into the 2008 presidential race, many Republicans thought Sen. John McCain‘s image as a deal-making maverick made him the one Republican who might win in an anti-GOP year. His defeat now has observers wondering what might have been had he stuck to his persona.
Instead, the Arizona senator ran a more traditional campaign, appealing to conservative voters who make up the base of his party. His advisers offer a variety of reasons for why he chose this tact, but the decision confounds those who missed the “old McCain.”
Sen. McCain “was a candidate that could have transcended the Republican brand. But the campaign often seemed aimed squarely at the Republican base,” said Todd Harris, a Republican consultant who worked on his 2000 campaign.
Some advisers said the senator couldn’t emphasize the areas where he split from other Republicans because those issues — stem cell research, campaign-finance reform and the use of torture in military interrogations, for instance — were not front-burner this election.
“There was only one issue — the economy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. McCain’s close adviser. He noted that in the areas where Sen. McCain had staked out his independence, he and his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, agreed.
Bill McInturff, Sen. McCain’s chief pollster, said it was tough for the candidate to appeal to moderate voters after he urged more troops be sent to Iraq.
“I don’t think we ever had a chance to establish John as the interesting, go-against-the-grain candidate,” he said. His position on Iraq “created a boundary for lots of swing voters.”
The result was a McCain campaign that championed tax cuts Sen. McCain had once voted against.
Soon after winning the GOP nomination in the spring, Sen. McCain attempted to reach out to moderates. He talked about service to America. He spent a week visiting what the campaign called “places that Republicans don’t usually go,” such as Appalachia. Sen. McCain also gave a speech calling for the U.S. to work more closely with allies in world affairs, an implicit break with the Bush administration.
But these actions received scant attention, partly because, by then, the Democratic primary was commanding attention. At the same time, the Republican Party base remained lukewarm about Sen. McCain.
By the time Sen. Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination, the McCain campaign was foundering. With Sen. McCain’s approval, senior strategist Steve Schmidt took control, and focused the candidate’s message. The campaign eliminated Sen. McCain’s once free-wheeling sessions with the press and focused on issues that appealed to core Republicans. Sen. McCain reversed his previous opposition to offshore drilling. He painted Sen. Obama as a celebrity who wasn’t ready to lead. And he emphasized his opposition to abortion.
The result: He rose in the polls.
“He delights in being an unconventional politician but he wanted to win,” said Dan Schnur, a former McCain aide now at the University of Southern California.
The most-important decision would be his choice of running mate. Sen. McCain considered his friend Joe Lieberman, an independent senator and former Democrat. But Sen. concluded that choosing a supporter of abortion rights would lead social conservatives to revolt at the upcoming Republican convention.
His choice, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, thrilled the party’s base. But she proved a liability in Sen. McCain’s pursuit of independent voters, many of whom considered Gov. Palin too conservative and unqualified for the job.

{Read it all}

Libertarian turn out in NC

One of the surprising things about yesterday’s election for me was the number of libertarian votes in North Carolina. While it would be impossible to say for sure which direction these voters would have went had they not voted for Barr, it seems likely they would have went for John McCain giving him a slight edge in what turned out to be a very close race in the Tar Heel state.

Does anyone have any insight on the number of libertarian votes?

NC election returns

NC election returns

how the world goes | Politics | The American Scene

Amen to Mr. Jacobs:

I don’t understand my fellow Christians who are enthusiastic Republicans; I don’t understand the ones who are enthusiastic Democrats either. When I try to talk to either group about the ways their preferred party upholds — indeed, even celebrates — policies that simply cannot be reconciled with Christian teaching, I get the same shrug. Yes, they are certainly more “realistic” than I am; they may have a better understanding of what it means to live in a fallen and broken world. But they are all too sanguine for me. They aren’t sad enough. There aren’t enough — I recently taught the Aeneid, which brings this line to mind — there aren’t enough lachrimae rerum, tears for how the world goes.

how the world goes | Politics | The American Scene.

An observation about leadership from McCain and Obama

Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain

President-elect Obama

President-elect Obama











Regardless of your point of view on the election, I observed two things tonight that epitomize good leadership in the speeches of John McCain and Barack Obama. In McCain’s very gracious concession speech he made the comment that the failure of the campaign was his alone, not that of his supporters. In contrast, Obama stated that the victory was not his, but rather belonged to his supporters. Those two things are fantastic examples of leadership.

Invitation to reflection on abortion and the election | Covenant

Dear readers,

Following on Fr Matthew Olver’s piece posted here last night, I am pleased to present a thoughtful exchange–intended to be a conversation starter and an aid to reflection–between Neil Dhingra and Fr Will Brown on the thorny question of how Christians in the U.S. committed to “life” should approach the question of voting in the presidential election next Tuesday. Neil and Will are inclined to different answers to this question–the former believing that a case can be made out for “pro-life” support of Obama’s candidacy, the latter believing that this is not possible (leaving aside the question of whether or not a case for McCain can be made). But much common ground is shared by both writers, as well.

What else can and perhaps should be said? We invite your comments, and wrestling along with Neil and Will and others of us. How to move along the conversation? Is the strategic question of how to vote something about which we can reasonably disagree as Christians who do not disagree about the blight visited upon American democracy and order by the contradiction of abortion tolerated in our midst?

Lord, give us your mind and your heart, to the end of justice in our country, especially for these voiceless and silenced ones, callously killed in the name of “freedom” and “choice.” Forgive us, Lord, for our own complicity in this culture of death. And give us the grace, individually and as a Community of counter-witness, to model for our nation a spirit of repentance, joined to a willingness to make amends for our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invitation to reflection on abortion and the election | Covenant

When reporters attack » GetReligion

GetReligion on the mainstream media reaction to the Palin choice.

Judging from my inbox, there are more than a few readers who are disappointed with the mainstream media coverage of Gov. Sarah Palin. You are not alone. Conservative writer Bill Kristol has some theories about why the mainstream media are behaving the way they are. But while most of the hostile mainstream media reaction is dealing with purely political angles, there are also some religion angles that are being handled poorly.

When reporters attack » GetReligion.

The best thing about Sarah Palin | Culture Making

The choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has all sorts of interesting political implications, which are being diced and parsed as I write. But I’m more interested in the long-term cultural implications of the choice of Palin, whether the McCain–Palin ticket wins or loses in November, for one of the most vexing horizons of impossibility in our culture: the abortion rate among unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Upwards of 85 percent of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome elect to terminate the pregnancy, according to several studies in the peer-reviewed journal Prenatal Diagnosis. A 1999 British study in that journal found the termination rate to be between 91 and 93 percent. When I was a teenager in the 1980s, I remember seeing many people my age and younger who had the distinctive facial and behavioral characteristics of Down children. These days I rarely see a Down Syndrome child at all.

The best thing about Sarah Palin | Culture Making

HT: More than 95 Theses