Friday, September 19, 2008

Lessons for the GOP

The GOP does well when it chooses a smooth talking populist (Eisenhower, Reagan) or a scrappy bulldog with a checkered past (Nixon, Bush). McCain has certainly had a checkered past, and he sure seemed scrappy enough of a bulldog back in the '90s.

The party thought McCain was that bulldog this round, since the smooth talking Romney came off as a rather rootless shoe salesman, not a populist, and the smooth talking Huckabee came across as a preacher nut selling some strange brand of 19th century snake oil.

So they were stuck with bulldog McCain, sort of a known unknown.

But it turns out, McCain has gotten old in the eight years since 2000 (when he announced his first run, he was 63, now he's 72), and so has his ability to dish out some straight talk geriatrified. Now, these days McCain makes Bob Dole seem smooth.

American voters have always preferred elite money and upper crustedness to elite education and expertise, but maybe, just maybe, competence and the smarter, more agile man will win this time.


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