Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain Campaign: the Greedy Dog of Aesop's Fables

Like the fable of old, the GOP decision to select Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate reminds me of The Dog and his Reflection:
A Dog, to whom the butcher had thrown a bone, was hurrying home with his prize as fast as he could go. As he crossed a narrow footbridge, he happened to look down and saw himself reflected in the quiet water as if in a mirror. But the greedy Dog thought he saw a real Dog carrying a bone much bigger than his own.

If he had stopped to think he would have known better. But instead of thinking, he dropped his bone and sprang at the Dog in the river, only to find himself swimming for dear life to reach the shore. At last he managed to scramble out, and as he stood sadly thinking about the good bone he had lost, he realized what a stupid Dog he had been.

The GOP sees disaffected female Hillary supporters, and practically drools at the prospect of poaching them from the Democratic party. At the same time the GOP needs to steal as much thunder as possible from Obama's nomination, so naturally, they stage the VP announcement for the day after Obamas historic acceptance speech to 75,000 people, an event which got higher ratings than the Oscars and the Olympics.

The GOP had to do something spectacular, right? But will it hurt them in the end?

The problem for the GOP is they are focusing on short term gains, and losing track of the long view. Though they play a good game at appearing confident (remember, Karl Rove predicted the GOP would win by a landslide in 2004), the decision to select Palin as McCains running mate shows some mortal weaknesses:

In their dash to outshine Obama, they thought they had a win-win: a controversial candidate, and one who could court disillusioned female Clinton supporters at the the same time. In their haste, they didn't stop to think how Palin might play out for their strategy of attacking Obama's level of experience.

McCain campaign believes Sarah Palin is ready to be commander in chief.

The GOP's primary argument against Obama is that he is not old enough, nor has he spent enough time in Washington to be "ready to lead." That argument looks quite silly now.

One has to wonder: is the GOP is plagued by division and ineptitude, since their smartest have been arrested or left the party? Don't they realize what they are doing to their central argument?

Or, are they trying to divert our attention? Maybe they have given up on the "too young and inexperienced" argument, and plan to revert to the character attacks and whisper campaigns accusing Barack of being a secret radical.

Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: the gloves are about to come off, and if we thought the primary was exciting, wait until the next act begins. The General election is about to start, and I think its going to get rowdy.

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