Needless to say, when any new president enters the White House, things will change.
But that actually needs to be said, for three reasons. One, Barack
Obama has owned the ‘change’ message and hung it all around the sites
of his speeches and rallies on signs. Two, Obama has hung the message
that McCain represents ‘more of the same failed Bush policies’ around
McCain’s neck and tacked it onto nearly all media talking points for
And three, because McCain has co-opted the change promise, right out from under Obama.
McCain diagnosed the rot in Washington not as Bush
policies, but excessive partisan rancor driven by people who “go to
Washington to work for themselves and not you.” He used his personal
narrative as his country’s “servant first, last and always” to argue
that he’s the man to drain Washington’s swamp.
Popular message in these times of a most unpopular Congress. This is interesting…
McCain’s politics of honor can be as unsatisfyingly
abstract as Obama’s politics of hope. No more. With a new Palin-enabled
populism, McCain the “fighter” for you evoked the struggle “to buy
groceries, fill your gas tank and make your mortgage payment.”
All to the good. Yet McCain can’t succeed unless he sells a domestic agenda to match a populist message of change.
So what was his message?
Another interesting point is that Obama’s speeches tend to sound so
much more impressive when he’s delivering them than when the transcript
is read on paper afterward. In McCain’s case, it’s practically the
opposite, though he did well delivering his acceptance speech Thursday
night in St. Paul.
Here’s what he said in substance:
“We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open
markets,” he said. “We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers
and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.”
“I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can,” McCain continued.
“My opponent will raise them. I will open new markets to our goods and
services. My opponent will close them. I will cut government spending.
He will increase it.”
After a statement of general conservative principle — “We believe in
a government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make
sure you have more choices to make for yourself.” — McCain delivered
his core creed: “We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service,
a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges
who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.”
Tossing in a strong endorsement of school choice made the list complete.
And bringing Palin to the convention as his running mate made it stunning.