McMentum

August 19, 2008 at 5:55 pm

John McCain’s campaign is gathering momentum in the wake of his performance at Saddleback Church. Even David Gergen is taking notice:

Heading into the candidates’ appearances on Saturday night at Saddleback Church, the conventional wisdom in politics was Barack Obama should have a clear upper hand in any joint appearance with John McCain — one the young, eloquent, cool, charismatic dude who can charm birds from the trees, the other the meandering, sometimes bumbling, old fellow who can barely distinguish Sunnis from Shiias.

Well, kiss that myth goodbye.

McCain came roaring out of the gate from the first question and was a commanding figure throughout the night as he spoke directly and often movingly about his past and the country’s future. By contrast, Obama was often searching for words and while far more thoughtful, was also less emotionally connective with his audience.

Ideas for McCain

August 17, 2008 at 11:32 am

George Will has two very good suggestions for the McCain campaign:

McCain’s populism, if such there must be, should be distilled into one proposal that would be popular and, unlike most populism, not economically injurious. The proposal, for which he has expressed sympathy, is: No officer of any corporation receiving a federal subsidy, broadly defined, can be paid more than the highest federal civil servant ($124,010 for a GS-15). This would abruptly halt the galloping expansion of private economic entities — is GM next? — eager to become, in effect, joint ventures with Washington.

Next, McCain should make an asset of an inevitability by promising two presidential vetoes. The inevitability is enlarged Democratic congressional majorities in 2009. Americans suffer political astigmatism. They squint at Washington, seeing an incompetent cornucopia that is too big but which should expand to give them more blessings. Their voting behavior, however, generally conforms to their professed suspicion about unchecked power in Washington: In 31 election cycles since the restoration of normal politics after the Second World War, 19 of them produced divided government — the executive and legislative branches not controlled by the same party.

Two Democratic priorities in the next Congress would placate two factions that hold the party’s leash — organized labor and the far left. One is abolition of workers’ right to secret ballots in unionization elections. The other is restoration of the “fairness doctrine” in order to kill talk radio, on which liberals cannot compete. The doctrine would expose broadcasters to endless threats of litigation over government rules about how many views must be presented, on which issues, by whom, for how long and in what manner.