On To The Nutter Event-- McCain Throws A Hail Mary Pass
Not Britney; not Paris-- it's the GOP VP nominee, Sarah
Republicans were horrified by Obama's eloquence and by his effectiveness in delivering an analysis tying their policies-- and John McCain's championing of those policies-- to the dissatisfaction most Americans feel about the direction the country is headed. And offering his clear and compelling vision about how the country can proceed. McCain media surrogates like David Brooks in the NY Times and Charles Babington at A.P., as well as the hyperbolic far right McCain blogging brigade and the wind-up extremist propaganda rags like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the National Review came out swinging, if limply and ineffectively, to trivialize it. The Republican Party official response was incoherent, banal and quickly forgotten as they quickly floated the idea of postpoing their own convention (ostensibly because God sent Hurricane Gustav to plague them, although Rove thinks he needs to run a few million dollars in more negative campaign ads sliming Obama) before McCain can face the nation without being laughed off the stage.
McCain will take the stage today and introduce Sarah Palin, his surprise VP nominee. He's following Obama's appearance before a sold out house of 80,000 people at the Denver Bronco's Mile High Stadium with a little show of his own at the Nutter Center-- what name could be more appropriate?-- in Dayton. The Nutter rally, which hold 12,000 people but is unlikely to even reach half capacity, kicks off McCain's sadly pathetic "Road to the Convention tour" of Little League fields and minor league stadiums where he'll be offering 4 more years of disaster at the homes of the Washington (Pa.) Wild Things of the Frontier League, and the River City Rascals of O'Fallon, Missouri. Even though the vaunted McCain hype machine is promising to unveil the running mate, interest is minimal, excitement is nonexistent and they can't give the Nutter tickets away.
While many thought that Seamus was strapped to the roof of the family car, and what has been widely feared in the fractured and severely divided party-- that they're being saddled with flip flopping vulture capitalist Willard Romney-- turned out to be incorrect. Pawlenty, once thought to be the only hope of many Republicans to stop the pushy Willard, ended the sham this morning and admitted he's not #2. So... turned out to not be someone from James Wolcott's list of sad-sacks. What did Willard in-- aside from how thoroughly McCain detests him?
Last week McCain's campaign delighted in running ads featuring Hillary Clinton campaigning against Obama in the primaries. They certainly knew the Democrats had prepared similar ads featuring himself and Romney bashing each other. I always liked this one, where Willard did the Democrats' job for them:
“I understand he’s anxious to try and see if he can’t get the topic away from the economy. But I’m going to remind him of his statements time and again about his lack of understanding of the economy,” Romney said. Reporters asked the presidential hopeful several questions on a range of topics, but he brought back most to his rival, John McCain going after him on his lack of experience and understanding of economic policy.
“I simply don’t think, I simply don’t think that the people of Florida are gonna say the nominee of our party ought to be a person who on more than one occasion has expressed lack of understanding of our economy at a time when the economy is the number one issue that people are talking about here in the state of Florida.”
And it wasn't just Floridians that Mitt warned about what a disaster McCain would be. Here he is telling people in the battleground state of Michigan, which Rove claims-- rather incongruously-- that Romney will help McCain capture in November, that McCain will be a catastrophe for the economy:
"I know that there are some people who think, as Sen. McCain did, he said, you know, some jobs are leaving Michigan and they're not coming back. I disagree. I'm going to fight for every single job, Michigan, South Carolina, every state in this country, we're going to fight for jobs and make sure our future is bright," said Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts whose family has deep ties to Michigan.
I guess the oft-repeated lines of attack Romney used to define McCain, had something to do with why McCain says his skin crawls when he's in the same room with Romney, who he personally detests. He's a little prickly and didn't appreciate hearing variations on these themes every day:
Republican Mitt Romney wound up his Florida primary campaign on Monday with his most bitter criticism yet of rival John McCain, saying three signature bills the Arizona senator pushed in Congress aimed the country on ''a liberal Democrat course.''
The former Massachusetts governor said the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law ''hit the First Amendment'' with its controls over advertising spending.
He labeled last year's failed McCain-Kennedy immigration bill ''the amnesty bill'' for a provision that would have allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely. And he said a 2003 McCain-Lieberman energy cap-and-trade bill would have increased energy costs for the average Florida family of four by $1,000.
''If you ask people, 'look at the three things Senator McCain has done as a senator,' if you want that kind of a liberal Democrat course as president, then you can vote for him,'' Romney told campaign workers who would be manning his phone banks before Tuesday's primary vote. ''But those three pieces of legislation, those aren't conservative, those aren't Republican, those are not the kind of leadership that we need as we go forward.''
Palin will be a more difficult target. It's funny that for all McCain's carping about Obama's supposed lack of experience, Palin really has none whatsoever. I mean, talk about a "readiness gap!" Of course, she had more judgment than McCain himself-- having praised Obama's energy plan. (She has now tried to scrub her praise for Obama's energy plan from her website, very 1984 creepy.) CNBC, which had been all gung ho on Willard was in shock. "This is utter madness, absolutely insane," said political analyst Greg Valliere, who then ran down McCain's age and all of his health problems. "This woman makes Dan Quayle look reasonable." When asked about Valliere's assessment, John Harwood responded, "[it's] basically a nightmare scenario for the Republican ticket." On the other hand, this will sure up McCain's recent slide in Alaska.
Does anyone know if the rumors about the Rubi Girls warming up the crowd for McCain at the Nutter Center are true? Supposedly Giuliani persuaded Jonathan to do a few numbers. Only in Dayton or on the whole Road to the Convention Tour?