>> Saturday, June 14, 2008
Much has been said about the way John McCain does not understand modern technology. He does not understand the internet or youtube or google. This aspect of McCain’s campaign is not due to his age. No, instead this is simply a sign of how little he has had to worry about campaigning in the past. McCain has developed a confidence is his campaign ability built upon his lauded 2000 campaign and his return from the near politically dead last year. He has fallen victim to his own hype. He has such confidence that the media will treat him wonderfully, after all he is John McCain.
The Republican Primary was not an especially great test of skill. Without the Reagan heir apparent George Allen the different wings of their coalition were split. The candidates were flawed and not that compelling. In addition, they lost a great deal of oxygen to the Democratic race. Also missing was any challenge to the ideas being presented. None of those candidates went out on a limb they all wanted to claim the Reagan mantle. McCain claimed the mantle of Reagan and proclaimed himself a conservative. McCain rode the division between the Romney and Huckabee sectors of the Gop to win the nomination.
McCain has really come to rely on the light treatment from the media. When he was campaigning in New Hampshire all we heard about where John McCain’s vaunted campaign skills. He was lauded for his ability to hold town hall after town hall to win support. It might be revisionist but I have to wonder just how good those town halls were. If they were anything like the town hall described in multiple diaries yesterday they could not have been very good. Digging at all beneath the surface of a town hall like that reveals how fragile the McCain mythos is.
McCain relies on never having to answer followup questions on his statements. It is what has come from soft media treatment. The followups are where the scrutiny is. When he is asked to clarify his answers are usually as bad as the original. That happened with his statement about it not being too important when troops are coming home and it happens with his 100 years in Iraq comment. When asked for any depth or insight on his statements McCain cannot offer any. He has never needed to before.
Now he does. In this race his opponents do not care that he is supposed to be a straight talker. His opponents do not care that he claims to be independent. In this cycle Dems will be hitting him on all of the stupid things he says. They will force the media to pay attention. Even if the tm never gets around to announcing McCain is unqualified people will pick it up because every day he will have to respond to another of his stupid statements. Stupid statement like this one
“I will look you in the eye and promise you that I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” McCain said in response to a direct question from one of the 2,000 people in attendance at the college’s Pemberton campus gym.
McCain said the key to ending the long search for bin Laden was to increase the number of human spies abroad.
“We need better human intelligence. We need people who can swim in the water,” McCain said.
That is a really, really stupid statement.
McCain now has to answer for those types of statements in a way he never has before. Yes the internet has played a role but so has the soft media treatment. It has made him overconfident and sloppy. He bought his own hype and now he is going to pay the price for that.