Another Life Long Republican In The Tank

It’s getting bad for McCain.  The polls are one thing.  The non stop flood of newspaper endorsements is another thing.  But watching lifelong conservatives ditch McCain in favor of Obama has got to have the sound of nails being pounded into a coffin for the Republican candidate.

Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama has left the McCain campaign clearly reeling.  But on the heels of that endorsement comes another life long Republican endorsement.  Here is what Ken Adelman, a key player in Republican administrations from Nixon to Reagan had to say:

Why so, since my views align a lot more with McCain’s than with Obama’s? And since I truly dread the notion of a Democratic president, Democratic House, and hugely Democratic Senate?

Primarily for two reasons, those of temperament and of judgment.

When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.

Second is judgment. The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate.

That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign—Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.

There’s something of interest to note here.  Adelman points to temperament and judgement in deciding to vote for Obama.  What is interesting to me is that of those two, one of them has been a guiding theme of the Obama campaign.

If anything, Obama has been rock steady in message discipline from day one.  The guiding themes of his campaign have always been Hope, Change, and Judgement.  A losing campaign, in flailing around trying to find that right note to strike that connects with voters, will change its themes many times over.  Clinton did it in the primaries, and McCain has done it in the general election.

But Obama, knowing he had the temperature of the populace from day one has held to the basic themes and the key phraseology from the beginning.  That we see those themes still resonating in high profile endorsements nearly two years after Obama kicked off his bid for the presidency shows the power not only of his messaging, but also of his message discipline.

The other thing that really gets me is the temperament argument.  This was not a theme that was designed and promoted from the beginning, but instead a welcome side effect of watching Obama and McCain as they share the national stage.  If Obama has anyone but himself to being the one labeled with the more presidential temperament, it would have to be John McCain whose erratic performance over the past two months has been nothing short of a political godsend.

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