Wednesday, 5 November 2008

John McCain regains his soul.

I start this post again with the concession that I am not American and I do not have a vote, but being a witness (albeit via the internet) to one of the most important Presidential races, perhaps in history, I feel compelled to add my two cents worth to the discussion that has and will ensue on the blogosphere. It seems apt that I begin with a concession because what I hope to write about is not how proud Americans should be for both electing what seems to be a worthy leader and for participating in the democratic process but about the manner in which a war hero conceded defeat to a man who out spoke, out debated and out advertised him.

On the day after the results I am now watching the speech by John McCain again as he concedes defeat and I am impressed by his performance. I also wonder why it is only after he lost the race that he pulls out such a tear jerking and moving speech. He was gracious, he was humble and most of all he was deeply patriotic. He pledged support for Obama that, unlike Bill Clinton at the DNC, did not leave any doubt that his one and only allegiance was to the good ole US of A.

So why could we scarcely see this during his campaign? I have my theories.

At the beginning of the campaign, John McCain was Mr. Straight Talk. He was a man of action. A man who suffered for his country and comrades. He was the Maverick. He was the man who reached across the aisle to reach compromise when required to find solutions for the benefit of the nation and yesterday when he spoke of importance of electing the the first Afro-American President he was genuine. During the course of campaign, this image was blurred because during this long journey, John McCain was replaced by the party machine. Months before the vote, I commented on twitter that I felt that McCain no longer believed in his campaign but in hindsight it was not so much that he no longer believed the campaign but that the campaign was no longer his. 

To start off with, the selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate was the first sign that he was being rail roaded. For someone who is so close to the center to choose someone so close to the right was obviously a decision made by a strategist looking at voter profiles and not for the benefit of the country. Unfortunately it was transparent in its incongruousness and obvious to the American voters. These strategists tried to position the two as a team of Mavericks so much that having that word uttered from Palins mouth became a joke that even the very restrained Joe Biden could not resist shooting down in the VP debate. You will notice that after that debate the word Maverick was hardly ever used.

McCain was always going to be a man who's actions spoke louder than words for two reasons. Due to his long political history he firstly had a great deal more action to speak of than the relatively inexperienced Obama but secondly there was no way he could complete with an orator as eloquent as Barack. This man of action was to be the man who was blind to party lines and just got the job done. He tried to portray this image by suspending his campaign to work on the "rescue" package, a stunt that cost him dearly as the party machinery did not take into consideration that his knowledge of the financial system was inadequate and that it would be seen by the increasingly intelligent voter population that it was indeed a stunt. Apart from this failed attempt to be the action man, the entire campaign failed to further illustrate that he was a man of action simply because at no time did he attack the administration for their failings in the past eight years, he did not do anything more than give lip service about being disliked by people in his own party. After the selection of Sarah Palin, John McCain became a bullhorn for special interest and Washington power brokers that scripted every word he uttered. In fact towards the end of the race Palin had the right idea when she turned on her own strategist. Unfortunately Palin didn't have the foresight to use that to the advantage of the campaign, but if had McCain fired his team mid-race to run a race that was his own, the outcome, although may not have been different, would probably not be the massacre that ensued on November 4th. It would have further illustrated that this American hero would not stand for something that he did not truly believe.

Perhaps it is because of the underdog mentality that living in Australia for so many years gives to a person but I am glad that after his political advisers jumped ship, the real John McCain was able to show us the man he is and the man who should have fought the strategists during the campaign in his concession speech.

Congratulation to America for their choice. Congratulation Senator McCain for reclaiming your soul.