Joe Klein writes about Obama's winning traits. Basically, the gist is that in the debate, John McCain used questions about the bailout to rant and rave about insurance companies, while Obama tried to establish rapport and explain what the crisis meant to the person. It reminds me of a very good Daniel Larison post about the perils of McCain's populism, and how Obama has been wise to avoid the style. I think that Obama has run a winning campaign, and John McCain has not, but I also think that John McCain was a singularly poor choice for the GOP. Had the GOP run Giuliani, Thompson, or Ron Paul they'd be losing by fifteen points. But would Romney or Huckabee fared better?
In fact, I think Romney might well have been the strongest GOP candidate. He has a grasp of finance, has a good resume, and he could have made a plausible argument on things like healthcare (his most impressive achievement in Massachussetts) that McCain just doesn't care about. Plus, it's not like Mittens bore any responsibility for Iraq, and I'd imagine that Iraq would have disappeared quickly from the issue roster in this alternate timeline. I recall Romney repeating any number of loathsome right-wing talking points, but I don't recall him being personally offensive to other candidates. The converse was certainly true. I would imagine the race would be quite different, and far more respectful. We wouldn't see such nastiness because Mitt is a businessman who knows how to take a loss, not a soldier who sees a loss as a grave dishonor and defeat from which he (and America) will never recover. Plus, an actual intellectual debate on political philosophy might have taken hold to an extent it hasn't this year. Barack Obama is smart and informed enough to give it a go. John McCain is too ignorant and stupid to defend conservatism. Romney ain't.
I also wonder whether Huck might have made a good candidate. He's more moderate on domestic policy than the GOP hard-line, and he can project empathy really well. He connects with people. I kinda like the guy, despite his being a hard-line theocon. Another point for Romney, as he has technocrat blood in his veins. At this moment, after a disastrous eight years of Republican rule, most of that with a GOP congress, the GOP had an opportunity to pick someone competent, someone who had true leadership skills. And they didn't. They must not want to save themselves.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.