Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain's Hail Mary Pass

McCain's Palin Pick has been widely seen as a gutsy, risky and effective (to date) decision to jump-start his campaign and give him a shot to win. I am not the only one who uses the "hail mary" pass (in football) analogy, but I do want to offer a unique extension to this analogy for insiders:

The "hail mary" pass that is the Sarah Palin pick for VP is merely in mid-flight. The coach (Rove & the Republican Machine) made the call that the team was not going to win playing conservatively, so he instructed the quarterback (McCain) to throw the long pass with the hopes of a huge upset.

As with any hail mary pass in football, it is quite exciting to watch no matter which side you're on. It's gripping, it's gutsy, and by golly it's what being alive is all about. But, it comes with quite a low chance of success. And all indicators are pointing to the fact that, in this analogy, Team Obama has plenty of defensive men down field to scuttle the lone Team McCain receiver.

The point of all this? We can use the hail mary pass as a universally accepted analogy, but when we talk about it, we should be advancing the notion that they are usually unsuccessful, and that the pass is still in mid-air. We don't yet know how the decision will play out in the end, but it's looking grim when you see just how desperate Team McCain was to pin all of their hopes and dreams for a win on a rookie, cocky, untested wide receiver.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama is conservative in all the right ways

In this editorial, written by the former publisher of the conservative National Review, Wick Allison advocates that Obama is a conservative in all the ways that are important to America right now.

And I agree. But the problem with this meme is that our population is programmed to think two-dimensionally about politics -- left vs. right. And all the issues seem to pile up on one side or the other. Sometimes with no real cohesive rationale beyond that of raw political power management.

Meanwhile, Obama is actually advocating this idea of change. And, big surprise, the vast majority presume it's a change from right to left. Don't tell your liberal friends, but that's really not the kind of change Obama is peddling. It just sounds that way. Obama is actually advocating a change from the left/right axis to the managerial/ideological axis.

The truth is, George W. Bush has been a radical liberal in just about every sense of the term. Liberally advocating Utopian ideology overseas (and spending our money liberally in this pursuit) and liberating the markets domestically to do whatever it is they would like to do with the Utopian trust in the markets to serve society as they should in the traditional conservative ideology. In a nutshell, Bush is an ideologue, and has been liberally executing on his ideology.

Obama, in contrast, will most likely disappoint many of his current liberal fans. Despite the descriptions cast upon him (by both liberals and conservatives), Obama is the ultimate pragmatist. He's the negotiator-in-chief. He's the calm hand on the wheel. All conservative approaches. Obama is a profile of conservatism in personality. Sure, he believes in progressive causes, but that doesn't much matter. What matters more is how he goes about implementation.

Contrary to our entertainment-disguised-as-issues culture, we don't need drama in order to have meaning. With Bush for the past 8 years (and, let's face it, Clinton for the prior 8), it seems as though the nation believes that only through hair-raising drama does anything get accomplished in Washington.

Things are about to change for America if Obama becomes President. Once all the hubbub quiets down about black people in white houses, the White House will eventually be boring and effective. It will have meetings with smart, rational people who know how to solve problems (just like the staff running the Obama campaign today). And with competence comes little drama. With competence and intelligence, there is no need to "massive bail outs" and "strategic re-framing press conferences" in order to prove to America things are getting done when they actually aren't. A bail-out is huge news that Henry Paulson is going to want a medal of honor for, but the bail-out itself is a sign of failure. And a "surge" to save a war is not something to be proud of, John McCain. A "surge" is a last-ditch effort to save a project that has been a collosal failure.

So there are two realities that the we need to better understand:

1. The general public is wired to think two-dimensionally about politics, and Obama's campaign understands that he needs to fit into this schema in order to win.
2. The Obama campaign is running a fascinating play -- running on 'change' as they define it (administrative vs. ideological) while at the same time mapping it to the conventional notion of what change means to the general, 2-dimensional public view of left. v. right.

This means that the change we need that Obama is peddling will not be the change we expect.

And, I, for one, am quite pleased about this. Apparently, the wise conservatives also get this.

This is why Obama will most likely win in November. McCain's philosophical support within his own party's infrastructure is crumbling. I know it's hard to correlate votes on the ground with a party's illuminati, but there is a connection. It might be only psychic, but those who ignore the psychic impact of the ideasphere do so at their own risk.

Monday, September 15, 2008

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