Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain and Palin Have Big Advantage in Debates

The debates are misnamed. They are simply joint appearances that do not accomplish what should be accomplished in real debates.

Who can forget what happened when Al Gore smirked at George Bush's multiple displays of ignorance. Most people identified with Bush. He was just like them.

The classic was when Ronald Reagan covered a multitude of stupid statements--including one about welfare queens, with "There you go again." That did it; he won. Never mind that he repeatedly said that trees cause air pollution.

Governor Palin will go into the debate with Joe Biden after her spin people have been projecting very low expectations. In truth, she knows far less than Reagan, but she shares his Teflon cover, is instinctively a master pol, and is a superb communicator.

Her views on foreign policy are very close to those of the ordinary American, and my guess is that Joe comes in at a substantial disadvantage. He knows that nothing is simple and is burdened with experetise and information.

Yesterday, she took out the flamethrower to discuss the Iran question saying anything must be done to prevent the "Nuclear Holocaust" that would result of Iran got the bomb and gave it to Hezbullah. That kind of toughness resonates with people who think we are not tough enough with potential enemies. The simple fact is that her rhetoric will impede efforts of a McCain administration to do anything with Iran outside the ham-handed use of force.

She obviously decided that the five former Secretaries of State who spoke out on the matter a week ago were completely wrong. All she has to do is turn on her charm and use her superb talents as a communicator, and she will come out the winner.

I have great affection for Joe and know a little about the careful education he received in foreign affairs long before going to the Senate.

He knows that the present policy of hot rhetoric, threats, and sanctions will not work. He also knows that Iran can easily cut off a large part of the flow of oil. An attack on Iran would recruit even more terrorists and damage our relations with the moderate Arab states. But he dare not say much about any of this for fear of putting off the ordinary viewer and sounding weak.

He has to sound tough on Iran and say needlessly harsh rhetoric will make it hard to try to reengage Iran, possibly bringing war and oil shortags closer.

First try to slowly reengage them. They need respectability, restored trade, better relations with the West, and better relations with the moderate Arab states. Hence, we try to help them were we can in return for an end to a nuclear program and efforts to bring Hezbullah into the political process in Lebanon, which would help us and Israel.

Even that much is too complicated. People skilled in communications will have to help him tone it down and keep it short.

Mc Cain too has the advantage over Obama for the same reason. Mc Cain knows a little more than Sarah and is excellent at very short statements that sould tough.

But he only knows a little bit more Palin and it seems a little less than Bush. He will clearly be an even worse foreign policy president than the incumbent.

The list of his inaccuracies and misstatements is endless. He thinks Iraq and Pakistan have a common border. He thinks Al Qaeda operatives are trained in Iran. He thought oil revenue would pay for the war. He said it would be over in a hurry. McCain still thinks withdrawl will put Al Qaeeda in power in Iraq. He cannot grasp that worrying about the lack of a political settlement is not the same thing as suggesting the surge was not a complete success. The list goes so far that one really wondeers if he is still mentally fit for the presidency.

Obama has to be careful not to raise too many of these mind-boggling inconsistencies or he will seem to be attacking a tired old national hero.

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