Thoughts on McCain vs. Obama

Since the race is all but decided on both the Democratic and Republican sides, here’s a few random things that have been going through my mind :

– It’s funny how quickly conservatives are so quick to jump on Michelle Obama for a relatively innocuous statement. If the right-wing really wants to drag the candidates’ wives into the mud-slinging, let’s start a conversation about how John McCain’s wife is a former drug-addict who was investigated by the DEA for stealing drugs from a non-profit organization. Do they really want to go there?

– This business about Obama’s “pledge” to opt for public matching funds is silly. If he opts out, it’ll be a story for 2-3 days and then die. If he opts-in, he kneecaps himself for the general election at a time when he’s sure to raise millions of dollars more than McCain. What Obama needs to do is publicly criticize McCain’s smarmy plan to use public funds to bail out his campaign in case he didn’t get the nomination and insist that when it comes to the spirit of the law, Obama’s the one on the side of the angels here. John McCain is self-righteously trying to take the moral high ground by seeking taxpayer money to match the contributions of his lobbyist and corporate pals while Barack Obama raked in the cash by getting small dollar donations from more than a half a million ordinary Americans. So which campaign has a claim to the mantle of “publicly funded”?

– In 1992, the Clinton campaign’s mantra was “It’s the economy, stupid”. This year, I think the Obama campaign’s should be “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It’s hard to listen to McCain speak in the future tense and take it seriously when the man has no new ideas. Even worse for McCain, when late-night talkshows are already joking about him like he’s Mr. Magoo, you know he’s in for a rough nine months.

– Finally, is it just me or does McCain’s candidacy lack a coherent raison d’être? Hillary Clinton is the hyper-ambitious former first lady who wants to continue where her husband left off. Mike Huckabee is the conservative regular fella who wants to do save our nation from moral decay. Barack Obama is the inspirational guy who wants to bring people together to Change™ the nation. John McCain? He seems to be this year’s “I’ve been around Washington forever and it’s my turn to run for President” guy. Maybe he’ll have more luck with “Vote for me, I’m really old.” than Bob Dole did, but I wouldn’t bet on it.