Tuesday, September 09, 2008

David Brooks Electoral Advice

David Brooks is an astonishingly banal person, as I may have commented on in the past. His latest article is about the election. His overall point is that the candidates need to be weird. Distinct from their parties. And Obama can best accomplish that by attacking his parties base.
Obama needs to occasionally criticize his own side. If he can’t take on his own party hacks, he’ll never reclaim the mantle of systemic change. Specifically, he needs to attack the snobs who are savaging Sarah Palin’s faith and family. Many liberals claim to love working-class families, but the moment they glimpse a hunter with an uneven college record, they hop on chairs and call for disinfectant.
So basically Obama needs to come to the defense of his opponent, in order to score some points with . . . who exactly?

I'm also curious what Mr. Brooks thinks about comments on her lack of qualifications, the seemingly cynical way she was connected, the lack of a real vetting process when other more qualified candidates were snubbed, the deceptions the McCain bill has practiced regarding her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere, and so on and so forth. Should Obama defend Palin on those issues as well?

But don't worry, Brooks has some advice for McCain as well. And no it's not that McCain should take on those Conservatives who are telling likes about Barack Obama and his family. Rather he thinks McCain should stress his willingness to work with Congressional Democrats.
If I were McCain, I’d make the divided government argument explicit. The Republicans are intellectually unfit to govern right now, but balancing with Democrats, they might be able to do some good. I’d have McCain tell the country that he looks forward to working with Congressional Democrats, that he is confident they can achieve great things together.
That's not a bad idea when it comes to winning over the independents and disaffected liberals. But it totally runs against the grain of the current McCain Campaign and the state of the Republican party. The convention held last week was clearly more about the evil Democrats and how they are going to ruin things than it was about any kind of positive agenda the Republicans have. To turn around now and say that "Yeah Democrats and Republicans disagree, but we can work together for the good of the country" would have a couple of effects.

1. Independent voters would love it, but probably not enough to completely counter the argument that John McCain agrees with Bush 90% of the time.

2. Conservative Commentators, starting with Limbaugh, would go out of their minds with anger. Liberals are the enemy to this crowd; we aren't to be gotten along with. We are to be defeated.

And honestly I'm not sure the warmth that Independents would receive this announcement with would be enough to counterbalance the hellfire the Conservative Base would rain on it.

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