Friday, February 08, 2008

Closing ranks with the Bob Dole of '08

In a comment to yesterday's post, reader Duane seems to be fishing for a conspiracy theory in "Circling the Wagons". I offered several rejoinders there. And now, further thoughts, as this "circling the wagons" story continues unabated:

By the weekend, Mitt Romney is out of sight, and Mike Huckabee is still being hounded to drop out of the race. Texas Governor Rick Perry and others have called on Huckabee to call it quits.

What's the theory here? Hitch your wagon to a falling star???

McCain might have been Mr. Straight Talk in 2000. That round, pre-South Carolina, Mr. McCain was a fresh and feisty campaigner. He was 63 at the time, raring to go. Now, at 71, having been beat up in that campaign and further confounded all through the eight years of Bush rule, McCain seems tired, uncomfortable, and compared to the slick and even sleek horses surrounding him in this race, even addled. As a speaker, I worry for him, he seems so out of his comfort zone. Like Bob Deer-In-The-Headlights Dole, Missing Man McCain could do little last year and can do little now but hope the nomination falls into his lap. The doldrums and despair are there, just beneath the surface of his pinched smile. Like Dole, McCain's charms and humor, previously witnessed in public, have turned to dust or been relegated to back door deals. Like Dole, his heroism is ancient history, and his resume seems stodgy, if not quite obsolete. And like Dole, I think McCain sees the writing on the wall: nice to be the nominee but no way the election is going his way.

It's difficult to win against an especially eloquent and assertive speaker, especially if you are seen as talking tentatively. Just ask those who ran against Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Huckabee is right to say that competition is the crux of successful capitalism and that, even within the party, competition is key to a good campaign and to vibrant governance. Gotta respect him for that. Party stiffs want to move on quickly from what they see as unnecessary if not hopeless clutter to a monopoly, sort of a 'my party right or wrong' rally around a torch bearer, even if that torch bearer seems at least out of touch and at worst, crippled as a candidate. (I figure Huckabee's charm, charisma and superior straight-talk are causing many to see McCain as the fuddy-duddy he's become.)

Huckabee for the GOP and Obama for the Dems seem to be up to the mantel of current, compelling torch bearer. They're saying they can take the heat (a la "swift-boating") and even fan the flames. Meanwhile, McCain seems ready for retirement in Sun City.

Give the guy a golf cart.

Meanwhile, there ARE some serious conspiracies afoot in this country, and I'll get to some of those in Monday's post.


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