McCain-Obama: Will the domestic campaign hold any surprises whatsoever? Or will only the backdrop from abroad change, and with it the election dynamic?
John McCain will talk about the wide war and the dangers our enemies pose. He will do so every day all day, and every headline from the world that underscores the plans and attacks of the jihadists will be an exhibit in his appeal for support.
Barack Obama will do everything except talk about the future course of the war. He'll talk about health care. He'll talk about foreclosures. He'll talk about jobs going overseas. He'll talk about George W. Bush and "change" every day, all day.
When the two meet to debate--McCain ought to challenge Obama to a series of summer debates as the inexperienced Chicago pol isn't remotely ready for prime time if the questions are at all pointed--expect McCain to return again and again to the threats that are real and growing around the world. Obama will counter with the deep desire of many Americans for a world different from the one in which we live, hinting that we are in part responsible for this world, and that he can help change the circumstances.
McCain will talk about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, Iran's nuclear ambitions, the jihadists' worldwide network of extremists and their endless search for weapons with which to wound the West.
Obama will talk about paying for prescription drugs with a credit card and about the cost of college.
McCain will use terse, short sentences and biting humor.
Obama will use soaring rhetoric (some of it borrowed) and rhetorical questions.
In the background will be Obama's two young daughters, and John McCain's Annapolis Midshipman son.
Hope versus reality.
Dreams versus experience.
Obama has to hope that the conservatives stay estranged from McCain, but they won't. Here's the intellectual exercise conservatives have to undertake:
Imagine how bad it could be in the next four years: Iran gets its nukes and unveils a delivery system. Pakistan's chaos mounts and an Islamist government takes over. Turkey's Islamists demand action against our Kurdish allies. Hezbollah and Hamas relentlessly attack and provoke Israel and a replay of the summer of 2006 begins. Kenya erupts in slaughter. Serbian militias attack the newly independent Kosovo. Rioting in the French suburbs accelerates. Russia shuts off its gas, and China demands Taiwan reach an accord. A terrorist attack occurs in London, Paris or D.C.