Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Post editors this morning.“This election is not about issues,” said Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”
The Obama campaign replied:
In reaction to Rick Davis’ comments about the election not being about issues, Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe released the following statement: “We appreciate Senator McCain’s campaign manager finally admitting that his campaign is not in fact about the issues the American people care about, which is exactly the kind of cynical old politics people are ready to change.”
I will note that what I really liked about Obama’s nomination acceptance speech was that he really went after the issues, which he knows will win him this election. I have no idea what McCain will say in his. But I do know that the marching orders in the McCain camp appear to be to deflect attention and refuse to answer any questions that might have some uncomfortable answers. Having McCain answer, “I don’t know; I’ll have to consult with my advisors,” went from refreshingly honest to annoyingly evasive to obvious and trite over time.
You know what’s fun? Googling “McCain doesn’t know“. I first picked up that this was a tactic when McCain claimed he didn’t know if condoms could prevent the transmission of HIV. At what point, I realized that if you asked him, “Will this apple I’m holding fall to the ground should I let it go?”, he might plead ignorance while wondering to himself, “Fuck, are the fundies now denying the theory of gravity? Is that why I’m getting this question?”
When McCain dodged a question about insurance coverage for birth control, the overuse of this tactic really captured the mainstream’s attention. But so far, my favorite stumble was when he plead ignorance when asked how many homes he owns. That’s not really a question about the issues, but still, it touches on major issues pertaining to the quality of life for the average American—the growing economic disparity between the rich and the rest of us and the mortgage crisis. I suspect McCain’s “inability” to answer was a product of this strategy of avoiding all unpleasant questions by pleading ignorance. It was a stupid move in this case, because not knowing how many houses you have is a fuck ton more elitist and out of touch than being able to answer quickly, even if the answer is high. The only person that people in this country expect to hear, “I don’t know how many houses I own” from is Paris Hilton.
The McCain campaign is right that if they win, it won’t be on the issues. They’re banking the whole election on the hope that enough Americans will be scared of Obama’s race and his last name and the rumors about him being the Antichrist that they’ll vote for McCain. I’m just not so sure that’s something to bet an election on. It could just reduce turnout, but only amongst people that are suspicious of Obama. People who love him will be waiting in line to vote for him.