I cast my vote at 6:30 this morning at my local polling place for JD Hayworth. I’m fairly confident, though, that he won’t win. McCain is just too good at this campaigning business.
McCain’s slogan, “Character Matters,” is really effective. When you play that drum over and over and he has this history of being a POW, which we all respect, you can sense the character oozing out of his radio commercials. He’s a master at creating impressions. It’s almost mesmerizing. A fan of big government, he has created an image of being the Senate’s champion against earmarks. He can safely speak out with indignation in that losing battle while continuing to curry favor with the ruling class by voting against serious tax cuts and voting for massive government spending when they propose their key programs. He knows how to get away with these things. You have to give him credit for that.
And when confronted with character issues, he’s so good at turning it around. When he was caught up in the Keating Five scandal, he used it as a springboard for a lifelong crusade to “get the money out of politics.” When confronted this year with his dramatic flip-flop on immigration policy, he denied it with such chutzpah that I almost believed him. And he used the occasion to reinforce his “fighter” image, saying that the perception that he has changed was created by the “Eastern Press.” You can’t deny it – it was a masterful way to handle a blatant lie, and his fans are still chanting the refrain, “character matters.” And the way he slid into the transformation of his image from maverick Republican to loyal conservative, just in time for the election, he has this down to an art form.
But the battle will go on.