Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Political Brands: John McCain

Although it doesn't really seem over, the media pundits have proclaimed that it's all over but the Monday morning quarterbacking.  They would have you believe that come November, 2008, the two finalists challengers for America's Presidential Idol contest are John McCain and Barack Obama.  I've written enough about Obama, except for two minor items that I feel are worth mentioning at this point:

1.  His wife is utterly obnoxious.
2.  His political agenda seems to be nothing more than the same old stuff we heard from middle of the road Democrats circa 1970.

The good news about this election is that it will energize an entire electorate, whereas previously  only half the electorate bothered to vote.  This is because unlike the last two elections, this time, the entire country will be casting their votes for "anyone but Bush."  Yes, Virginia, it's true that even most Republicans are disgusted and looking forward to the day that Bush, Cheney and their entourage have completed pillaging the country's moral and financial riches.

But that's another story.

What intrigues me at this point is the political branding of John McCain and the huge, spear-laden tiger trap he has set out for Senator Obama.  In case you hadn't noticed, McCain is keeping very quiet on his association with the previous administration.  It is only now, as the finalization of the Democratic nominee nears, that he is beginning to tip his hand in our direction.

And he's holding a bunch of, um, really good cards.  Here's the deal:

McCain is no dope, but the people analyzing him sure are.  They're so focused on what they think he's going to do that they're totally ignoring what options the man has before him.  Sure, his people will trot out the prisoner of war stuff.  They'll trumpet the patriotic montages.  And they'll tell the softer side, too, including the fact that McCain and his gazillionaire wife adopted an abandoned baby as their own.  That's pretty  good material.  The stuff of which public relations guys can only dream.

But it gets better.

The heat on Obama increases in direct proportion to his proximity to the nomination.  As he nears his coronation, he's increasing his direct attacks on McCain, nibbling at the bait  -- he knows his best shot is handcuffing McCain to eight years of the Bush administration.   He also knows the time is getting near when he's going to have to lay out his eventual agenda with specifics instead of slogans.  What Obama doesn't seem to realize is that he's feeding John McCain's agenda the political equivalent of human growth  hormones.

The clearer Obama's proposals become, the more they're going to appear to be the same old Democrat policies from the 1960's and 1970's.  And if you're reading this and thinking, "Oh, he means Obama is going to be perceived as a liberal", you're half right.  Because the real perception is on the other end of the stick:  With Obama being cast as a middle-to-left leaning liberal, McCain is now free from pursuing and pandering to the far Christian right.  I mean, where else is the conservative right wing going to go?  Libertarian?  I don't think so.  

So with the infamous Christian right wingers in the bag, all that's left for McCain to do is convince disenchanted Republicans and Reagan Democrats of his disassociation from the Bush administration.  And if you're a fan of facts over fiction, you'll find that's exactly how McCain's resumé reads.  In fact, anyone seriously examining McCain's record would likely surmise that if there ever were to be a "third term for Bush", McCain would probably be out in front with Joe Lieberman opposing it.

The media previously publicized the death of McCain's campaign once before.  No doubt, they'll do it again.  But like I said, you'd have to be a fan of fact over fiction to see this one play out.  That's fine.  There aren't many good movies out now anyway.


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