Debate Preview: McCain Must Enter Fray With American Message

On Wednesday, October 15, John McCain must bring his ‘A’ game — by that I mean, not his ‘best’ game, but his ‘American’ game. And, he must be willing to get tough — a notion which his intermittently effective and, then, dismal campaign seemingly hasn’t mastered. McCain will never win this presidential election by trying to match the quixotic campaign of Barack Obama — for all of his attributes, McCain’s message doesn’t lend itself to peeling voters away with ideology. The man is not an ideologue. Further, McCain can’t deliver his message with same lofty prose that typifies an often-evasive and misleading Obama presentation.Rather, McCain needs to focus on what he does well and has done well for more than 40 years – represent America and American ideals.

In my lifetime, I have never seen an election season where traditional American values have been so marginalized by two presidential campaigns, which seemingly can’t do enough to trump the other with bland, pandering policy statements designed to appeal to the electorate’s independent middle.

For his part, Obama urges support for his campaign, by repeatedly telling Americans everything that America is not — *it’s not *a place of economic ‘fairness’ between the rich and poor; *it’s not *a place of racial equality between white, black, red and brown; *it’s not *a place worthy of the trust and faith of Americans at home and the broader international community. ‘Patriotism’ has been perverted to mean acceptance of America’s place amongst the pantheon of less noble and worthy democracies. It’s truly a campaign living and thriving on the margins of liberal thought.

For his part, in his pandering to the nebulous middle, McCain’s campaign has largely been about telling voters how he has worked in a bi-partisan way on a host of issues, none of which have worked remarkably well and one of which, i.e. campaign finance reform, has been an abject failure. Contrary to every bone in his body, McCain threw the conservative right a bone in late August, by introducing Sarah Palin to the American political scene — doing just enough to keep us in the fold, but then abandoning us just as quickly when Mr. Bi-Partisan returned to Arlington to address the economic crisis. To what end, I am not sure — for all practical purposes, he *did nothing *to advance his stature as a leader. Senator McCain then resumed his campaign amidst a muddled message of contempt for Obama’s past, a mantra which the mainstream media has buried and which he repeatedly disavowed in campaign appearances. Throw in two very anemic debate performances and the American people are left wondering who is this Republican candidate.

Senator McCain has one more chance to make his case and to bring the aforestated American game to voters’ attention. At Wednesday’s debate, McCain must repeatedly and mercilessly bring the following message to the electorate.

  1. There is only one pro-business growth and employment growth candidate in this race — Senator John McCain. He must be prepared to articulate that raising taxes on job producers, in the name of economic fairness, is anything but and would be a disaster for an economy facing recession.

  2. There is only one lower taxes candidate in this race — Senator John McCain. He must be prepared to articulate that Obama’s tax cutting record is abysmal and deserving of another look from the voters, who can only conclude that his promises of middle class tax relief are illusory.

  3. There is only one pro-life candidate in this race — Senator John McCain. He must be prepared to articulate that his consistent pro-life record is one which respects disparate views, but which is principled in his steadfastness to supporting a culture of life in America. Simultaneously, Senator McCain needs to point out that he can not reconcile or understand Senator Obama’s position on withholding medical treatment to a newborn infant, one which was aborted but which lived, in order to further his extreme, pro-abortion agenda.

  4. There is only one pro-second amendment candidate in this race — Senator John McCain. He must be prepared to articulate that his consistent pro-second amendment record is one which respects and supports America’s rich history and support for the right to bear arms. Simultaneously, Senator McCain needs to point out that Senator Obama’s record on the second amendment is beyond abysmal. “There is no plausible way for Senator Obama to look the American public in the eye and say that his voting record constitutes consistent support for each voter’s second amendment rights.”

  5. There is only one candidate who is prepared to defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. “Whether it’s radical Islamic facism pervasive in the Middle East and other areas of the world or domestic enemies, I am prepared from Day 1 to fight for the American people — I have no allegiances, except to the American people. I serve no people except the American people. I love America.” Obama will go ballistic at such a statement from Senator McCain — let him, because it sets the landscape for the last three weeks of this campaign, in which these issues will be at the forefront of McCain campaign message, which is enthusiastically pro-American and critical of Obama’s foreign policy statements, criticism of America and his past and current questionable associations.

If Senator McCain brings this ‘A’ game to his debate on Wednesday night, he will leave as the putative favorite to be elected president on November 4th. If he does not bring this ‘A’ game, and continues to vascillate from one ineffective message and advertisement to another, then this campaign is lost.

It’s time, Senator McCain, for you to do what you do best — be the courageous American we know you are.