05 November 2008

What Went Wrong? The Post-Mortem

What went wrong?  Why did Senator McCain lose the 2008 election?

I'm going to narrow it down to three reasons:

1.  John McCain tried to play nice.  
He didn't attack Obama on almost anything important.  He didn't attack Obama and the Democrats for the economic crisis we find ourselves in today.  Rather, he allowed the Democrats to attack him - when he had been one of the first to warn about a meltdown occuring.  

Beginning during the Clinton years, banks were required to give loans to high risk buyers with bad credit in order to keep high ratings with the government.  Furthermore, the Democrats were the ones who were in bed with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  There was a bill that had been brought forward back in 2005 that would have helped avoid our current catastrophe - but the Democrats killed it.  But why?
... we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.
'Nuff said.  McCain also didn't attack Obama on all his radical associations (I've said enough about this, see below).

2.  Senator McCain did not clearly identify his policies for the future.  He needed to have picked four things he would do (at the same time explaining Obama's position) and repeat them again and again.
* Finding domestic sources of energy/Slamming Obama for not being interested in nuclear power alternatives and domestic coal/oil/shale.
* Emphasizing his foreign policy credentials/Slamming Obama for lack of credentials.
* Explain how he's worked with the Democrats during his time in office in order to create real reform in Washington DC/Explain how Obama is not a real reformer or bi-partisan.
* Plans for the Economy - Lower taxes for small business and families, reform of the health care industry and insurance/Explain how it is impossible for Obama to return money to 95% of the American people when 40% of them don't pay taxes to begin with, and showing that small businesses would be in deep trouble under Obama.

McCain was unable to clearly define his vision.  Obama with his mantra of "Change" (whatever that meant) was enough to carry him through.

3.  The Media was completely rooting for Obama since the primaries when he was in a battle for the nomination with Hillary Clinton.  Remember back to the Saturday Night skit poking fun at the mainstream media for throwing him softball questions... Are you comfortable Senator Obama -or- can I get you a pillow?  The media took offense but did nothing to fix the situation, and it only got worse.

Even some journalists have come clean about this bias.
The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling.  And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living.  A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.
This bias in the media has been found in research done by Pew Research and Project for Excellence in Journalism so it shouldn't truly surprise us - but it does and it is a disappointment.  It is time to say good-bye to the pretense of an "objective" media.

All this being said, the 2008 Presidential campaign is over.  Senator McCain did not run a great campaign, while Senator Obama did.  I congratulate Obama on a well run race.  Even though I extend my congratulations to him and his supporters, I am still concerned with regard to his perspectives on many, many issues.  I look forward to seeing his Cabinet picks and domestic/foreign policy advisors.  

Senator John McCain is a very honorable man who has spent his entire life in service to this great country.  While I have never seen eye to eye with his ideas, I respect someone who sees himself as a servant of the people and not as one who sees America as inherently flawed, that no one else but he can fix it.  He embodies the famous words of President John Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."  

I wish Senator McCain all the best as he heads back to the Senate, and pray for Senator Obama that he do the right thing when it comes time for him to lead the United States for the next four years.

1 comment:

The Zwicker said...

Shira-Some of the reasons you gave are spot on. There are some others. Among the many post-mortems on the National Review's Corner blog was a terrific insight. The McCain campaign was confused what his maverick-ness means. Being a maverick, besides becoming a cliche due to major overuse, is an attitude, not a philosophy. McCain could never offer a coherent philosophy. Obama didn't either but he didn't need one, thanks to the media.