They are emerging more clearly for who they are, and what they need to focus on right now.

For the Democrats, it’s more infighting and scrapping.

For John McCain,
it’s delineating the differences between himself and whoever opposes
him in the general election. Starting with the tenor of the campaign.
Look at McCain’s own message to campaign workers planning to run a
‘compare/contrast’ (negative) ad in North Carolina:

From the beginning of this election, I have been
committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate
about the great issues confronting America today. I expect all state
parties to do so as well. The television advertisement you are planning
to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real
differences we have with the Democrats.

This is what the election process should be about. Elevate it to the
competition of ideas, the debate between competing principles and
worldviews. Sounds like that’s what McCain is trying to do here.

This ad does not live up to the very high standards we
should hold ourselves to in this campaign. We need to run a campaign
that is worthy of the people we seek to serve. There is no doubt that
we will draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on fundamental issues
critical to the future course of our country. But we need not engage in
political tactics that only seek to divide the American people.

Lately, I’ve heard a number of journalists try to bait McCain into a
criticism of either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, based on their
controversies of the moment. He wouldn’t bite, averting the negative
sound bite or even mentality. Each time he respectfully but firmly
declined, and redirected the questioner back to what he considers to be
fundamental issues.

That’s a better compare/contrast campaign than any other, no matter
what the pundits say. Especially in a country just elevated by the
soaring inspiration of the truest man of hope, Pope Benedict XVI.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....