Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Lowry’s advice to McCain

Rich Lowry has a serious point (the suggestion re Bill Kristol is another matter): "With every clever tactic and worthy small-bore proposal—whether it’s off-shore drilling or the battery prize—McCain loses a tiny bit more of his stature and his sense of who he is. He needs to be bigger than Obama to win the election, and he needs his political persona—as a patriotic fighter determined to fix Washington and win the war—to come out clearly and unmistakably."

Discussions - 4 Comments

He can do both.

A great commander sees the details, yet doesn't get lost within them, and never loses his firm grasp of the overall battlespace.

Obama has heretofore been able to skate by without getting specific. His promise of "change" for instance has yet to be truly defined. McCain is going to have to whittle away that halo he's been walking around with by forcing him to come down from Olympus, and deal with the mundane, the earthly, the nitty-gritty of policy.

That has to be done, yet simultaneously, he has to be the not-Obama-candidate, the candidate that best reflects America's greatness, America's promise, America's genius, instead of Obama, who is the candidate of American guilt, America's complexes, America's hangups.

It's not a situation that is mutually exclusive. Reagan did both, and McCain will have to do likewise.

Lowry is right that McCain needs to look bigger than Obama. But the occasional smallish proposal need not interfere with that. These things can often matter to voters.

Exactly, the occasional small measure doesn't impede the advancement of the major, seminal measures, that define, or leave undefined a campaign. You don't want to get lost in a plethora of micromeasures, not like Clinton did after he brought on Morris. But there are certain micromeasures that poll well, that ought to have been implemented, and there's no diminishment of McCain's status by advancing them.

We all need to be mindful that Bush scorned what he derisively termed "small ball," ------------------------------------- so let's ask ourselves how did that work out for him? This isn't the time to imitate Bush level political inanity.

Can someone explain why tampering with the off-shore oil bans is "clever tactics" or "small-bore policy"? I just got back from my relatives on the Northern California coast, where it seems to me the opposition to such a measure will be my grandfather said, "old ladies will throw their bodies under the tanker trucks if they try to drill oil here."

And, its another policy on which McCain is open to the "position switcher" charge. That is, it is the right thing to do with gas at 4$, even if the devil is in the details of where and how the bans are lifted, but it entails serious political risk.

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