Monday, October 6, 2008

Whither the Audacity of Hope?

This weekend, the McCain campaign began trying to change the conversation from the economic mess, which has cost them dearly in the polls. They announced they were taking the gloves off and were going to go after Barack Obama’s “character.” Of course, it tells you something about the character of John McCain that he does not want to discuss the most pressing issue facing the nation. He would rather talk about William Ayers, a man who did evil deeds in the 1960s but who has been an education teacher for twenty years and who once sat on a board with Obama.

Obama had an opportunity to take the high road. “I want to lay out a vision for fixing the economy and John McCain wants to talk about something somebody else did when I was 8 years old. That is the choice facing the American electorate: someone concerned about you and someone concerned about nonsense.” The American people, especially the undecided voters, would see the glaring difference between the candidates and choose accordingly.

Instead, the Obama campaign has launched into an attack on McCain’s prior associations, specifically his involvement in the Keating Five scandal in the late 1980s. The tactic may work in terms of the election. It may not. But, what it will not do is give Obama a mandate for governance if he wins. So much for the audacity of hope.

Michael Sean Winters

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