Friday, August 01, 2008
Corruption and Paternalism
Back to our regularly scheduled programming, why hasn't McCain, with all his hard-earned independence, been able to take any advantage of the unpopularity of Congress? My theory is that McCain has demonstrated independence from (and opposition to) the greasy logrolling culture of the Congressional establishment. But unfortunately he significantly shares in its paternalist worldview.
The more I think about it, the more I suspect that explains many or most of the issues McCain has taken a position on. McCain's positions on immigration, campaign finance reform, opposition to tax cuts, ANWR, all have an ethos of "Eat your vegetables, Daddy knows best."
In the case of immigration, there's strong grassroots activism that insists that Daddy plainly does not know best, but that's a little bit of an outlier. I don't think McCain's stance on these issues affect his political fortune much one way the other. But his persona does.
The voters are hungry for someone who can talk turkey about their biggest collective fears: gas prices, Iraq, the stability of the economy. Except for Iraq, McCain has not done that yet, and maybe never will.