NYT's Paul Krugman: But I suspect that the main reason for the dramatic swing in the polls is something less concrete and more meta than the fact that events have discredited free-market fundamentalism. As the economic scene has darkened, I’d argue, Americans have rediscovered the virtue of seriousness. And this has worked to Mr. Obama’s advantage, because his opponent has run a deeply unserious campaign.
Think about the themes of the McCain campaign so far. Mr. McCain reminds us, again and again, that he’s a maverick — but what does that mean? His maverickness seems to be defined as a free-floating personality trait, rather than being tied to any specific objections on his part to the way the country has been run for the last eight years.
Conversely, he has attacked Mr. Obama as a “celebrity,” but without any specific explanation of what’s wrong with that — it’s just a given that we’re supposed to hate Hollywood types.
And the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate clearly had nothing to do with what she knew or the positions she’d taken — it was about who she was, or seemed to be. Americans were supposed to identify with a hockey mom who was just like them.
In a way, you can’t blame Mr. McCain for campaigning on trivia — after all, it’s worked in the past. Most notably, President Bush got within hanging-chads-and-butterfly-ballot range of the White House only because much of the news media, rather than focusing on the candidates’ policy proposals, focused on their personas: Mr. Bush was an amiable guy you’d like to have a beer with, Al Gore was a stiff know-it-all, and never mind all that hard stuff about taxes and Social Security. And let’s face it: six weeks ago Mr. McCain’s focus on trivia seemed to be paying off handsomely.
But that was before the prospect of a second Great Depression concentrated the public’s mind.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
McCain's Unserious Mavericky Campaign
Why is Obama winning? Because he presented answers to serious problems. McCain said he was a maverick. Big whoop.