Monday, September 29, 2008

Kristol: More of the Same

William Kristol has some advice for John McCain:

– Keep on doing what you’ve been doing; that stunt about suspending your campaign and bursting in on the negotiations over the financial crisis like a wet dog at a wedding was the right thing to do. Who cares if it pissed everyone off; it makes you look all mavericky. Even if it made no difference, at least you can claim some credit.

Assuming the legislation passes soon, and assuming it reassures financial markets, McCain will be able to take some credit.

– Let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin; she can open a can of Whupp-ass on Joe Biden in their upcoming debate and show just why everybody loves her. Of course, if she craters, there is a risk:

That debate is important. McCain took a risk in choosing Palin. If she does poorly, it will reflect badly on his judgment. If she does well, it will be a shot in the arm for his campaign. In the debate, Palin has to dispatch quickly any queries about herself, and confidently assert that of course she’s qualified to be vice president.

– Oh, and for good measure, pull out old reliable stand-by: [cue creepy movie music] Obama’s a Liberal and [cue the race/fear/loathing] he has “radical associations” in his past:

The most famous of these is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and I wonder if Obama may have inadvertently set the stage for the McCain team to reintroduce him to the American public. On Saturday, Obama criticized McCain for never using in the debate Friday night the words “middle class.” The Obama campaign even released an advertisement trumpeting McCain’s omission.

The McCain campaign might consider responding by calling attention to Chapter 14 of Obama’s eloquent memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” There Obama quotes from the brochure of Reverend Wright’s church — a passage entitled “A Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness.”

Fully renewed as a maverick with a whacky sidekick and good ole demagoguery at his side, John McCain is assured election.

You have to really wonder if Mr. Kristol is taking money under the table from the producers of Saturday Night Live or The Late Show with David Letterman. After all, it’s glaringly apparent that Mr. McCain made no real contribution to the negotiations over the financial bail-out. He didn’t even show up once he got back from the debate on Friday. Not that it would have made a difference; by all accounts he was basically a bump on a log during the meeting with the president and the negotiators at the White House. So claiming “credit” for what the House and Senate came with on Sunday is like a rooster claiming credit for the sunrise.

As for “liberating” Gov. Palin, I think we’ve already seen what she’s capable of when she sat down with softball interviewers like Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, and even conservative columnists are beginning to suggest that Ms. Palin get off the bus. So I think the question about Mr. McCain’s judgment in choosing her has pretty much been answered, and it’s only in Mr. Kristol’s fevered imagination that she can ride to the campaign’s rescue. By the way, does he really think she knows what she’s talking about when she talks? Apparently even the McCain campaign doesn’t think so.

Pulling out the “radical/liberal” card is the last refuge of a campaign that has nothing to offer, and resurrecting the spectre of Rev. Wright has been expected. In fact, I was wondering when they would whip him out again. But this time, it appears that the McCain campaign has a little pastor problem of their own in the person of the literal witch-hunter that preached at Gov. Palin’s church. Not that it would enlighten the discussion of the issues, but people who live in glass houses — seven or eight of them, even — and stones, etc.; you know the drill.

I sincerely hope that the McCain campaign takes all of Mr. Kristol’s advice to heart. His track record and inerrancy is the stuff of legends.