Reasons People did not Elect John Mccain
Previously published on December 5, 2008
With 365 electoral votes and a strong majority of voters siding with Barack Obama, our Nation decisively chose its new leader in the 2008 Presidential Election. On the losing end, John McCain was left standing among the tattered remains of his Grand Old Party. Although a moderate Republican was the only hope for the GOP, clearly this "Maverick" could not overcome the baggage of the George W. Bush era. For at least ten major reasons, voters did and would not support McCain.
The tenth reason, and probably least significant, not to vote for McCain was his poorly run campaign. Although the complete collapse of his desperate campaign effort in the final stages of the election leaves voters to wonder what his Presidency would be like, he was still able to draw out a significant following and could have stolen the race if Obama were a weaker opponent. Unfortunately for the GOP, Obama and his team only made two major mistakes when Obama poorly phrased his position on tax break distributions to Joe the Plumber and Joe Biden reassured voters if Barack Obama were elected, he would be tested by an international crisis. Meanwhile, John McCain needed to employ a successful defensive by explaining why he voted 90 percent of the time with George W. Bush and reassure voters, if he had been President, these stances would have been correct as he offensively broke down Barack Obama's inexperienced views. Instead, McCain skewed his views toward Conservatives in an attempt to energize the GOP base while Obama explained his stances as moderate positions that a majority could support.
The ninth reason stems from an outdated campaign strategy, but stands on its own, because it represents a fundamental change in the political environment. McCain could not demonstrate his experience outweighed Obama's insight and vision for the future, thus voters were able to punish Republicans for their attack ads. Too often, campaigns have focused on mischaracterizing political leaders and their views; however, John McCain and Barack Obama once stood for a healthier political process.
Not only did McCain pledge to fight the exact attacks used against him in the 2000 Republican Primary then used those attacks against Obama, but he called foul on Obama for using his negative ads. While Obama did outpace McCain in negative ads during the final stretch of the campaign, McCain used attack ads to mischaracterize Obama's positions and slander his character to the point Republican supporters feared the election of the Democratic Nominee as a radical supporter of terrorists. Moreover, negative ads targeting the flaws in an opponent's positions are necessary in the political process when they are coupled with positive ads; whereas, attack ads are simply destructive.
The eighth reason is that he is a Republican. While this can seem superficial, the Republican Party holds fundamental views that helped the Bush Administration pushed so many failed policies.
While McCain's party may have called him a maverick, as both an insult and campaign slogan, he still held fundamental Republican views and mostly supported Republican policies. Although there are healthy views that the Republican Party holds, they have lost touch with the needs of America
The seventh reason dates back to the 2000 Presidential Campaign when McCain ran as the grass roots candidate, who conducted town meeting after town meeting in order to discuss the needs and wants of the American people.
Unfortunately, the 2008 McCain was so busy allying himself with the "conservative base" of the Republican Party that he alienated independents and democrats by failing to understand their interests.
The sixth reason is that John McCain actually did try to run a campaign that suggested the policies of the Bush Administration and Republican Congress were mostly correct, but failed to proof they were quality policies in need of modification, and thus, he failed to demonstrate he represented a change in direction. Throughout the campaign, McCain often answered questions with generic, well-rehearsed points that failed to provide much detail in his policies. Having served in the US Senate for three decades, McCain's experience proved to be a liability that suggested he could not provide the new ideas needed to change the direction of the Country away from the Bush Administration. Essentially, McCain's policies were either the same stances as the Bush Administration or, where he broke from the GOP, they appeared to be very similar to Obama's stances.
With his history, the Senator needed to demonstrate his specific policy changes could bring about change.
The fifth reason revolves around the fact the Maverick took on stances that tended to be out of touch with the interests of common Americans. While McCain failed to proof his policies could have addressed the interests of most Americans, the Obama team was able to find personal examples of why McCain's policies were out of touch. When ads aired quoting McCain uncertain of how many houses he owned, it showed Americans the Senator lived in a different world than most America
and illustrated why his policies favored the wealthy, not minorities, the youth, or every other average American.
The fourth reason resulted from McCain goading Obama into taking his campaign overseas. He quickly regretted this tactic as Obama was able to draw foreign powers back to the US
with a new perspective on the world.
Although McCain does have more experience when it comes to foreign affairs and he is respected around the world, his views on the world are either outdated or failed to energize world support.
Moreover, outdated views on the world and America's role in the international community can be dangerous as illustrated by the numerous blunders make during the Bush Administration. Old fashion ideas are not necessarily a bad thing, but there are unhealthy policies that have developed because national leaders have failed to understand the modern international community.
The third reason is McCain's support of the Iraq War as it has always been a time bomb of poorly planned and executed polices that killed and maimed far too Americans and far more Iraqis while costing trillions in taxpayer dollars.
Although the success of the Military Surge in 2007 helped rally some support for the military effort, it also justified withdrawal for both Iraqis and Americans. In truth, McCain and Obama would likely have ended this war in their first terms; however, McCain would have started withdrawing troops later, which could have caused a resurgence of Iraqi violence against Americans while he, quite frankly, adopted a stance for an open ended commitment without demonstrating reality allowed for him to win Iraq while stabilizing Afghanistan.
The second most significant reason not to have voted McCain would have to be Sarah Palin. Although she is a successful, charismatic politician capable of energizing supporters, she clearly failed to demonstrate she was qualified to be advisor and potential successor to a President John McCain. Although many McCain supporters could justify a self proclaimed hockey mom with just a few years of political experience as a good Vice Presidential pick after a convention speech, the majority of voters required further proof.
Instead, Americans listened to Sarah fumble over the simplest of policy questions. Quite frankly, she is an intelligent individual; however, her statements were simply recited Republican stances, because she has not critical considered the national and global issues facing the American people nor has she considered the interests of others. Taking into account Obama's choice for Vice President, someone capable of overcoming his lack of experience, a week before the GOP convention, McCain should have been able to avoid this detrimental decision.
The first reason, as well as the most important, not to have voted for McCain is his economic stances. For years, the majority of Americans have tolerated their economic interests being overlooked by Republican policies that favored businesses and the wealthy because the benefits supposedly trickled down to all Americans. To someone who believes in this view, such as John McCain, a successful Wall Street means Main Street is also healthy. When the long brewing economic failure exploded into a crisis, McCain still held the fundamentals of our economy were strong and pushed an expansion of the Bush Administration's policy by espousing greater privatization, deregulation, and deeper tax cuts for the wealthy with some reforms. Frankly, John McCain did not understand how terrible the economy had already been treating the average American and failed to directly address the interests of Americans. The failure on Wall Street during the Campaign only served as a catalyst that rallied voters against the GOP contender.
Moreover, John McCain clearly could not have won the White House while Republicans can only hope Democrats create future opportunities by making a few giant missteps, so they can retake the Houses. On the other hand, members of the GOP must understand their defeat was not solely a political tsunami created by the failures of George W. Bush Administration, but rather, a failure of Republican views on many issues including the economy. For the future, Republicans must understand the true reasons they fell from grace, so they might adapt to political climate change, but this will require a great deal of self-reflection. Unfortunately, it is more likely Republicans will attempt to run underhanded attack campaigns, which mischaracterize their opponents as people and political leaders; hopefully, such a strategy will end with the GOP becoming ever more disfavored.
In all, a new political era might be an opportunity for a third party to upstage the GOP in the near future by slowly eroding away their base.