A Political Westmoreland Mind-Set
I disagree with Jack Balkin:
One has to feel sorry for John McCain. He had a pre-packaged jingoistic presidential campaign he wanted to run and now he can't run it because the economy is dominating everything and the Republicans are getting most of the blame for the country's current economic condition. He had a series of focus-group tested Rove-style attacks on Obama that in an ordinary year would have scared the daylights out of the median voter, but sadly most voters currently think that a major economic meltdown is more worrisome than who Obama knows in Hyde Park.
I don't feel sorry for John McCain. John McCain chose a scorched earth campaign policy, and it is not mere political strategy. The man lives in a world of binaries, just as Bush does. He is a warmonger, just as Bush is. He has always been an enemy of government and a proponent of deregulation, just as Bush has been. His maverick schtick is every bit as real as is Bush's cowboy everyman schtick. John McCain personifies the modern Republican Party. His looming electoral lambasting is the perfect bookend to an era that began with the lambasting of his fellow Arizonan, Barry Goldwater. The conservative era is over.
Beyond the substantive, there is the personal. John McCain's personality has revealed itself in his visceral animus towards Barack Obama. Refusing even to look at Obama, during the first debate. Calling Obama "that one," last night, rather than enunciating his Senate colleague's name. Turning away when Obama came over to shake hands. John McCain is a nasty man. He has a political Westmoreland mind-set. Obama isn't his opponent, he is his enemy. It's not enough for him to want to defeat Obama, he wants to dehumanize him. John McCain is a human being, but he is neither a rational nor a healthy one. I don't feel sorry for him, but I do wish him well. Far from the corridors of power.