Driving in to work this morning I turned on one of the wingnut AM stations and listened as they took calls about “What went wrong” and “Why McCain lost.”
The responses were unsurprisingly stupid. One woman blamed the “liberal media” and was incensed that some anchors on CNN appeared to be “giddy” after Obama won. She also blamed Oprah.
Another caller said the problem was that Obama simply looked better than McCain and was more attractive (i.e. Kennedy vs. Nixon).
One guy claimed that if McCain had come out strongly against the Wall Street bailout package he would have won. As if just being against something without offering an effective alternative would have been a winning campaign theme.
The answer is not that simple. McCain lost because he was weighted down by eight years of Republican policies that failed to achieve the things they were supposed to do. Let’s review the long list of Republican policy failures:
• Failed to capture Osama Bin Laden seven years after 9/11
• Launched unneccessary war in Iraq that has cost far more in blood and dollars than they claimed.
* Doubled the national debt to $10 trillion all while Republicans controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches.
* Tax cut policies failed to spur promised economic growth. After eight years of Republican economic policy, the economy is in a recession and Wall Street has collapsed in spectacular fashion.
There are countless other failures in the areas of education and healthcare, emergency services (Katrina), infrastructure and transportation, small business development and science research. In addition, there has been a plethora of corruption and cronyism that has tarred the government and damaged the public trust.
Things have been so screwed up by these Republican policies that there was really no way any Republican could win election in 2008. If Hillary had won the Democratic primary, she would now be our first woman president. Instead, Obama won and we now have our first African-American president.
Now that doesn’t mean that McCain could not have won. But it would have required Obama to run a bad campaign as opposed to McCain running a good one. I think as long as the Democrat ran a compentent campaign - and Obama’s was by all accounts nearly flawless - there was not much hope for a Republican in this race.
McCain might have done somewhat better had he chosen a different running mate, but I think ultimately he would have still lost regardless. Bush’s unpopularity was too big of a drag for any Republican candidate this year. And Bush was unpopular precisely because Republican policies failed so miserably throughout his two terms.