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Past vs. Future (Updated)


I think McCain supporters who think he has a chance against Obama are kidding themselves. I don't think McCain will just lose in that match-up, I think he'll be blown away. A Mondale-sized loss.

That guess has nothing to do with the New York Times' tissue-paper story today. It has nothing to do even with McCain's silly and false attack on Obama's pledge to go after Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan -- a pledge that is word for word identical to Mr. Bush's own statements.

I'm talking about the fact that it's going to be past versus future. John McCain is running on Vietnam and Iraq. Things move quickly in the US. Iraq is already in the rearview mirror for most people. Vietnam might as well be World War I.

Obama is all about the future. I don't mean his policies. I don't just mean his rhetoric. I mean his face. His sound. His wife and the young children who will be playing in the White House. Most of all his narrative.

Look at them side-by-side on TV. Listen to them. The irascible old man and the golden boy. "I told you so," vs. "Yes, we can."

McCain is the war hero of a long, long-ago war. Sorry, my fellow Boomers, but no one cares about the 'Nam anymore. John McCain will always be a hero to me, the guy I'd want my son to grow up to be, but he's a hero out of the past. And we're going to be looking in November for a new hero.

We don't do the past in the US of A, we do the future. I'm not saying it's right; I'm just saying it is.

Update: Another post, rather better written than mine:

Leaving entirely aside the issue of the substance of the content, let's look at the match-up of the performers. Obama is doing the Little Richard version of Tutti Frutti, and McCain is doing the Pat Boone. Obama is Elvis, and McCain is Ed Sullivan.

Let's face it. On a visceral level, we've got a young, vibrant, hip preacher of positive change against an old and tired looking guy who wants to stay the course. McCain just doesn't seem to have any "game."

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“Past vs. Future (Updated)”

  1. Blogger Pastor_Jeff Says:

    FWIW, I think you're right.

  2. Blogger bucyrus Says:

    Yeah, I said sort of the same thing over at centerfield yesterday in Lackluster John and the Vitality Gap. Obama's got vitality and he's got game. McCain looks and sounds tired and uninspiring.

    I did my best to make it clear that I was talking about energy and appearance, but that didn't stop some folks from insisting that once the comparative substance of each man was made manifest, McCain would come out on top. IMo that is not likely to happen. And like you I'm not saying it's right, just saying it is.

  3. Blogger Randy (Internet Ronin) Says:

    I agree with your take on this. Who McCain chooses as a running mate will probably be more important than it normally is to many people as well. Obama's biggest hurdle will be handling the pressure of a national campaign without making a serious gaffe (ala Ford's "Poland is free"). Michelle Obama's recent one, although probably not a serious one, is another example.

  4. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    You're talking charisma. In terms of energy and charisma, no one holds a candle to Obama. In terms of gravitas, the Republicans had no better option than McCain. Gravitas isn't nearly as exciting as charisma, so I agree that it's advantage: Obama. I disagree that the margin will be Mondale-in-1984 huge, though.

  5. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    TL:
    I feel a gentleman's wager coming on.

    55/45 or better popular vote. I'll take a Macallan 12 year.

  6. Blogger Hallq Says:

    I'm not up for a bet, but I wouldn't be so sure. I've talked to other people at my campus about Obama, and many are already sick of his self-presentation (I am not one of them: I never liked it in the first place).

    Maybe a majority will eventually end up sick of him. Maybe they won't. Maybe Obama will try to hastily reinvent himself. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. All I'm saying is, it's up in the air.

  7. Blogger Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    As long as Obama doesn't do or say anything to make himself look dangerously incompetent or radically liberal, I don't see him losing to McCain. McCain's best shot is for Clinton to pull out the nomination. Saddly for Republicans, he'll still do better than any of their other potential nominees would have.

  8. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    You're on, Mr. "Grant." I prefer Laphroaig 12-year.

  9. Blogger amba Says:

    I'll place my bet on McCain to beat Obama.

    Michelle's words have hurt him because they've been tied into the black separatist church they belong to and his refusal to wear a flag lapel pin and his proximity to Bill Ayers, the unapologetic Weatherman. The Obamas are now being seen and tarred as coming from the Chomsky-Farrakhan, anti-American, anti-"Zionist" wing of liberalism. I don't think they are, but I think they emerged from it not too long ago and maintain ties. That is really going to hurt them. That and people's uneasiness about the worship thing.

    Even if he and Michelle veer centerward like crazy from now on, that's going to be the Republican line of attack against him, and it will be an effective one because there's some truth to it.

    Obama could actually be the Huckabee of the Democrats -- too close to the crazy base, too far from the mainstream center. It's probably too late for Hillary to exploit that, and she can't now anyway because she needs the base herself.

    A lot of independents and Democrats are going to vote for McCain, figuring if the far right hates him so much he must be doing something right.

    At least, that's how it looks from today. Obama's youth is his strong point -- and his face-of-tomorrow -- but his politics aren't nearly as new as his style