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John McCain's campaign: An analysis

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posted on Jan, 8 2009 @ 02:25 PM
Senator John McCain started running for President after the election in 2004. He decided to court the conservatives this time instead of running as an independent maverick of 2000. He even talked at Rev Jerry Falwell's university, and embraced the man and his ideas. This was noticed by his independent base. At the time, it was thought there would be two serious challenges to his nomination in 2008: Sen George Allen of Virginia and Sen Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Bill Frist was not on good terms with Trent Lott because of the Strom Thurman birthday remarks. While going for the social conservative vote, he championed the Terry Schiavo case. This did not go well with the base, as their main complaint had been the federal courts taking over states jurisdictions. He retired from the Senate, and faded into political obscurity.

George Allen was the tough opponent. He was well liked, and a Southern Conservative who had some appeal in the blue states. He was on his way to coast to re-election in the Senate when he made the now infamous remarks. It is amazing how one tiny sentence can turn a frontrunner for the Republican nomination into a has been so quickly. Once he lost the election, his political career was all but over.

Sen McCain had all kinds of problems during 2007. He was having trouble raising money and most importantly trouble with his staff. The rumors were that he would pull out, but he said he would stay the course. A plan was needed, and Sen McCain decided to work the state that loved him in 2000: New Hampshire. He did his very popular town hall meetings there, and saved money by not competing in Iowa. He needed a win, and NH usually loves an underdog. With Mitt Romney stumbling in Iowa, Sen McCain won the NH primary. South Carolina was next, but Florida was the other win Sen McCain needed. He started to get the endorsements needed, and the more moderate Florida gave him the win needed for the other states to fall for him. South Carolina was a sweet victory as the more conservative voters split their votes between Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. Sen McCain would of won Florida even if he lost SC, but the victory was needed for fund raising. Super Tuesday was the death knell for all the other candidates, even thought some stayed in the race.

The question should be what happened the time between February and September? There did not seem to be any real planning or strategy on how Sen McCain was going to win. He was the best candidate picked as he did the best in the polls against the Democratic opposition. There was no talk of economy or other issues than the war in Iraq, which was still very unpopular. This was the biggest mistake of the campaign. They should of been hunkered down while the Democrats fought it out. They also thought the Democratic Party would not heal from its rift. The Democratic National Convention showed that the rift was healed, and the Republicans needed a big boost.

Sarah Palin was that boost. Gov Palin had won an election for governor in Alaska as a relative unknown and was very popular. As soon as she was tapped for Vice President, the conservative base was extremely happy and polls showed Sen McCain beating Barack Obama for the fist time. It was not to last, as the economic meltdown started in mid-September. Had a economic plan been discussed during the spring and summer, Sen McCain would of had ideas on what needed to be done. While some unfairly blame the running mate, she did the traditional job of attacking the Democratic nominee. There was no message in a time when one was needed. He needed to get an economic policy team to work out a comprehensive plan to get the economy going. All the signs were there of trouble ahead, and they were ignored.

After the election, the old maverick Sen McCain came back in view. He is going to cruise easily into re-election to the Senate in 2010. Sarah Palin is eyeing the Senate in the 2010 election, and she would cruise easily to victory if she so decides.

posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 03:28 PM
I'll be the first to reply, as usual, and hope some others follow suit.

I'll start off by saying I wouldn't be inclined to vote Republican unless the Democrats ran a truly reprehensible candidate, and they did not. That said, I did pay some attention to McCain's campaign.

It seemed to me McCain had basically three things to talk about: Iraq, lower taxes for the rich, and in general Republican economic theories that have been part of their platform since Reagan, like "trickle down" economics and deregulation of everything possible. On social issues he appeared to become more conservative as the campaign progressed, no doubt seeking the support of the Christian right.

On all these issues McCain did not emphasize sufficiently the difference between himself and the Bush administration(s), despite the fact that he frequently portrayed himself as a maverick with an independent streak and an agent of change. The changes that he did talk about were in general cleaning up Washington politics (he needed to provide more specifics) and cutting out earmarks, apparently ignoring the fact that Arizona as well as most other states have benefited enormously from them over the years. He did talk about health care and the need for reform there, but to me did not provide specifics that would indicate significant changes.

One issue on which he distinguished himself was he didn't emphasize getting rid of social programs like entitlements (no talk of "welfare queens" a la Reagan), and especially not middle-class entitlements like Social Security and Medicare (the so-called "third rail" of politics). This made me believe he was more moderate than many of his Republican predecessors.

His choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate seemed to energize his base, temporarily at least, but the prospect of her being one heartbeat away from the presidency gave pause to many people.

McCain's age was also a factor, at least for me. That is perhaps an example of "ageism" but it was a tangible force in the campaign.

In his debates with Obama and at a few other points, including his response to the proposed bailout legislation, he seemed erratic and to have a somewhat explosive temper. This contrasted unfavorably with the unflappable "no drama Obama."

Over all I would say that McCain is an officer and a gentleman. He showed himself to be a sincere and thoroughly decent person --the way he handled racist remarks about his opposition is an example.

I sincerely hope McCain will continue to be a major player on the national scene.

For me, he just didn't seem to be more than "Bush lite," if he was even that close to the center.

[edit on 13-1-2009 by Sestias]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 02:30 PM
reply to post by Sestias

I think the biggest problem was all the time in the summer and there was no strategy sessions. With no plans in place, there was no way to steer the campaign. I would have thought they would have taken a cue from Hillary Clinton's campaign and had a plan A and a plan B in place.
He also should have ran as his maverick self, instead of running as a George Bush successor. He had Sarah Palin as his VP choice, and she had the base in line, so he could of moved more moderate to get the independent vote. I don't think age is an issue, as Hillary Clinton will probably run in 2016. Women live much longer than men, so people will not bring age up.

I also think Sen McCain is an honorable man, and he will cruise to reelection for his senate seat in 2010.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 03:40 PM
McCain's three biggest mistakes were:

1. He "sold out". That's the only way I know to put it. He was NOT himself. He used to be a man I respected. He WAS a maverick, he bucked the system. But I think he got too involved with the "Republicans" in office (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc) and decided to play their game in hopes of becoming successful. Big mistake. He lost his authenticity. He lost his edge. He lost his supporters.

2. Sarah Palin. I don't actually think he chose her. I think the party chose her and he reluctantly went along. I think he allowed himself to be strong-armed. I think he would have chosen Lieberman. Sarah Palin ruined the last bit of credibility he had left. It showed that his first and most important decision to date was way WRONG.

3. Erratic "surprise" tactics. He made some really stupid moves, seemingly in an effort to appear to be the maverick he used to be. But he just ended up looking erratic and unsure. His economic blunders aside, the tactics he employed were unforgivable.

If these 3 things were different, I think he would have won.

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