20 September 2008

"Country First or Obama First": McCain's Campaign Slogan

UPDATE: A quick search shows that you have to go back to Warren G. Harding to find a presidential candidate who invoked his opponent's name in the campaign slogan. This list may not be all inclusive, but it's pretty telling. Plus, given McCain's status as the oldest nominee in history for the Oval Office, there's probably some ripe fodder for late night humor in connecting McCain's tactics to Harding's campaign. Maybe that's how they did it back when McCain was a kid?

I don't know how the brain trust hatched this, but it seems to scrape the bottom of the barrel. When a candidate actually invokes an opponent's name in the new campaign slogan, the desperation becomes tangible.

I can't think of a time when this has happened. Can any of my older readers recall an official campaign slogan that carried an opponent's name? No matter how a candidate crafts his or her arguments, no matter how he attempts to frame the debate, no matter what platform he chooses to run upon, or how low the road takes him, the slogan is that one shining opportunity to define himself and to define his campaign. And McCain & Co. choose to define their campaign in terms of their opponent. To seize on the perception they launched that Obama is a big, narcissistic celebrity, an empty suit with a golden tongue.

This, I believe, marks another turning point in the campaign. Obama has been aggressive on the stump the past week, and his comments seem to register with voters. And this week, when the economy is in turmoil, the new commander in Iraq has issued a caution that progress there is extremely fragile, and the news out of Afghanistan is troubling, you'd think John McCain has something positive to offer the American people about how our country will navigate back to a position of credible leadership in the world. Alas, no.*

*McCain's attempts to tie Obama to Fannie & Freddie have already been pretty well discredited here and here.