Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Straight-Talker -v- Tightrope-Walker?


John has been getting good news from Newsweek for a couple of months now.

Their December polls showed John as the only Democrat able to beat John McCain. And their January polls confirmed that only John could beat both Mac and Rudy.

The bad news is that it won't be Newsweek deciding the next President. It will probably be Jonny Nascar and Wynette Walmart.

It was they who tipped 2004 in George Bush’s favor. And they'll still be around to deal a potential blow to John’s chances in 2008.

The issue that may make the difference is Iraq – which is why John has been trying to muddy the waters with “The McCain Doctrine.”

Here’s the deal. I’m betting Mac’s advisers have already said to him: Mac, if it’s Edwards (or, indeed, Obama), forget a podium debate. Get up close and personal. Like the ‘conversation’ between Edwards and Cheney, in 2004.

And then keep hitting Edwards with Iraq.

The line will be: forget how we got here; what we need to do now is end it – and what do you know, sonny, about ending a war?

Mac will continue: look, this is a mess. But it was a frat boy that got us into it. And it won’t be another frat boy that gets us out of it. Why don’t you leave this to a grown-up – a grown-up who truly knows about war.

That will play strong with Jonny and Wynnette. And all their friends down at the VFW. The ones who still wave the Confederate Flag, have bumper stickers that boast "We're Real Patriots," and who sing that God-awful Toby Keith song every Friday night at the karaoke.

There's not much else John will be able to do but come back with the line: but...but...Mac, you got us into this, too.

Which will lead to an entertaining spat about blame, and mind-changing, and posturing. But none of that will truly count with Jonny and Wynette. What they will be waiting to hear is what these guys intend to do next.

And that may be the cruncher for John.

The Presidential Election may well come down to John’s perceived credibility on any plan to end the war in Iraq. Not Mac’s.

It won't matter whether Mac's plan is good, bad or indifferent. He has all the credibility the VFW crowd need - he was a Prisoner of War.

The only thing that will make the difference is John's credibility. And even that may have little to do with any war plan.

Rather it may depend on the extent to which John has managed to convince Jonny and Wynette that he is Real. Really.

And, of course, whether he looks as good as George (Bush) and Mac in a Stetson...

[I swiped the 'Rifle Jesus' pic from Jeff Fecke's blog. Only peripheral relevance - God-fearing Jonny, the righteous crusade in Iraq, and all that. But I liked it. So, sue me.]

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