SILLY DEMOCRATS -- ALWAYS EXPECTING CAMPAIGNS TO BE ABOUT ISSUES
"If John [Edwards] is right and Senator McCain is the Republican nominee, we know that once again we will have a general election about national security. That is what will happen."
--Hillary Clinton in last night's debate
But that's ridiculous. If McCain is the nominee, the general election won't be about national security.
If McCain is the nominee and his opponent is Hillary Clinton, the general election will be, first and foremost, about affability -- specifically, the notion that "everybody" likes McCain and "everybody" thinks Hillary Clinton's personality is like fingernails on a blackboard.
If McCain is the nominee and his opponent is John Edwards, the general election will, obviously, be about hair. It goes without saying that everyone in the press wishes John Edwards would either just go away and stop bringing up the utterly taboo issue of class in America or, if he's going to stick around, spend his days getting as many expensive haircuts as possible, so the press can endlessly repeat its one joke about him. Reducing him to a well-groomed preener, even though everyone A-list figure in Washington has established a distinct visual brand, is just irresistible for everyone in the media; here's Lisa Schiffren at the Corner at National Review Online:
...it is simply impossible to listen to John Edwards. Everything he says is entirely predictable, his face is annoyingly wrinkle-free and hairless in some odd way, and the slight hint of tremulousness as he finds an opportunity to insert some sad story makes me want to barf.
"[H]is face is annoyingly wrinkle-free and hairless in some odd way"? This from a woman who used to write speeches for Dan Quayle?
And if McCain is the nominee and his opponent is Barack Obama, the general election will be, ironically, about the 1960s. Obama will be portrayed as a product of the '60s -- a "seeker" who strayed far from his parents and their belief systems, who did drugs, and who finally chose his own identity and belief system, all in peacetime, while McCain (a real man!) just put his head down, did his duty, and suffered for it, in order (among other things) to make "seeking" possible for ungrateful whippersnappers like Obama. (This will be a meesage largely spread by boomer and post-boomer journalists trying to cope with their own guilty sense of privilege.) William Kristol in yesterday's New York Times:
...John McCain is a not-so-modern type. One might call him a neo-Victorian -- rigid, self-righteous and moralizing, but (or rather and) manly, courageous and principled.
Maybe a dose of this type of neo-Victorianism is what the 21st century needs....
Kristol goes on to say, "McCain has been the only Republican candidate who hasn't tried to out-think the process." He's talking about the GOP presidential race, but he could be roughing out a talking point for a general election campaign against Obama: McCain didn't try to figure out who he was and what he should do, he just took action. It doesn't matter if this is a fair portrait -- if this is what the GOP decides to spoon-fed the press, the press will inevitably print the legend.
And no matter who the Democratic nominee is, a race against McCain will be about one more thing: gender roles. All the Democratic candidates consult with their spouses; none of them seem to do much male bonding. McCain does a lot of male bonding -- and i'm guessing he'll pick a running mate (Fred Thompson? Joe Lieberman?) he can pal around with, with no sign of his wife anywhere. The press, while tut-tutting about this or that Democratic "soap opera," will just eat that up. (And who watches soap operas anyway? I'll tell you who: dames!)