Monday, July 28, 2008

A Three-Month Sprint

99 days to the election, and the electorate is none the wiser.
With a month of Olympics interrupting any flow, I must admit I find it kind of appalling that we'll be selecting the "leader of the free world" with about 60 days' worth of attention from the vast sea of undecided.
I guess we give it the attention it deserves.
I do have some advice for Mr. McCain. His campaign so far has been very reactive; Mr. Obama makes a speech, and then the McCain campaign complains about it (or "points out the flaws" if you're already a true believer). I don't think you can get elected if you can't define what you're for rather than just what you're against.
So here are my two themes for the race to the finish. First, I believe that Mr. Obama will select a lawyer as his running mate (90% chance). If so, I will begin referring to the team as "the two laywers" (bonus points for two Hahvahd Lawyers!!). Every reference to a laywer turned community activist turned politician serves to remind the undecided that these guys are not like "us". They are the guys you hated in school -- slick, smarmy, smug, and not nearly as smart as they think they are.
The rest of the narrative writes itself -- "The two lawyers, trained to argue whichever side is paying them -- they are advocates, not warriors. There's no idea or principle that they're willing to die for. Take national security -- the surge was an appropriate response to the situation. But they scored points arguing the other side. And now they're trapped with a position on withdrawal that isn't supported by the facts on the ground. They have no ability to change their minds based on the advice of military leadership. They will plod along, pursuing an incorrect, premature withdrawal. They have no definition of success except withdrawal. I believe we can succeed in leaving Iraq a better place -- a messy, dangerous, but hopeful burgeoning democracy in the Middle East. They can't -- I will."
"On the economy, energy prices are the fundamental factor that is causing so much pain for so many people. The two lawyers -- remember, the ones that sharks won't eat out of professional courtesy -- won their positions by promising to go after "speculators" and pursuing "alternative energy solutions". That's the lawyer's view of economics -- there must be somebody doing something wrong, rather than getting their hands dirty with basic laws of supply and demand. No! We need to invest in alternative energy solutions, but it will take time. In the shorter term, we must do the two things that can significantly affect supply and demand for oil. First, drill in America. Second, invest in increasing our nuclear energy generation. The two lawyers are smart guys -- maybe they even recognize that this is true -- but they can't get that idea through their supporters. What will it take? $8 per gallon gas? Solar cars? Everyone on buses or bicycles? When it comes to addressing this problem, they can't -- I will."
"They can't -- I will."
"They can't -- I will."
"They can't -- I will."
On earmarks -- "They can't -- I will."
On education -- "They can't -- I will."
On Iran -- "They can't -- I will."
On keeping their hands out of your pockets -- "They can't -- I will."
On spending your money wisely -- "They can't -- I will."
On working together, republicans and democrats, to solve some of the problems of the day -- "They can't -- I will. He hasn't, not even a little bit, not once in his three-year history in the Senate -- I have, continually, for twenty years. I'll get things done."

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