McCain and Obama -- What Were They Thinking?

Posted: Aug 01, 2008 12:00 AM

I can hardly believe what I am seeing on television and reading in newspapers.

John McCain runs a silly ad using young Hollywood ditzes in an image next to Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Obama's team accuses McCain of running a "mean campaign." Then McCain counters by accusing Obama of "playing the race card."

What planet do these campaigns live on?

States are having to fire employees, end benefits and cut back on essential services because tax revenues are down as a result of a disastrous economy. Congress votes on another round of spending to bail out another sector of the economy -- the mortgage industry -- thereby heaping more huge debt on the backs of taxpayers. We are fighting all types of active and potential enemies all over the world. And this is what we get from the two campaigns?

There is a reason why all of the polls show these two candidates in a neck-and-neck race. It's because nobody knows what in the world they stand for or why in the world anybody should vote for them.

If Obama wants to know why he didn't get a big bump from his recent globetrotting mission, the answer is simple -- he didn't say anything. Yes, one can understand why his rock-star reception would upset the McCain camp. But their response is one straight out of the cookie-cutter GOP media school for children. They throw bimbo celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in with Obama. Boy, that will sure make voters feel reassured about their nation's political future.

All that stupid commercial did was confirm that the McCain campaign is no more capable of giving the American people tangible reasons for supporting their candidate than the glib Obama camp is capable of putting meat on the bones of the Illinois senator's own message.

Do these campaigns not realize that these alternating fuzzy feel-good and frenzied attacks are not what people want to see and hear?

Americans have cancelled vacations. They are spending less on everyday retail items. They are paying outrageous amounts at the gasoline pump.

When they are forced to travel, say by air, they face long security lines, airlines that charge them for everything under the sun, and often delayed and uncomfortable flights.

Few under the age of 50 believe they will ever receive Medicare. They know the whole thing will have gone bust by the time they qualify. Most think the same about Social Security.

Some are now realizing that the surge in Iraq is working, but many still wonder why in the world we fought there before securing Afghanistan in the first place. And now everyone is coming to realize that the job wasn't finished in Afghanistan and, as a result, we will likely have to shift forces and focus there.

We simply cannot pay for everything that Congress wants to give away. And with even John McCain using terms like "everything's on the table" for how he might propose to pay for these entitlements, even the reasonable Republicans who felt that it would be insane not to vote for McCain are throwing up their hands and saying, "It's a lost cause. I'm going to be taxed to death no matter who wins."

Oh, sure, this will be the biggest turnout perhaps on record and a historic election. But make no mistake about it: So far these campaigns are giving Americans little hope that their lives will improve once the new president enters office.

I have expressed my shock in past columns over some voters, particularly conservatives, who said they didn't like the nominee of their party and were simply planning to stay home on Election Day.

Well, if these two keep it up, there may be voters from both parties who abandon ship. I'm sure to some Democrats, Hillary Clinton is, in hindsight, looking much better. And if a poll of Republicans were taken based on the way McCain's newest handlers have "handled" his effort, those voters likely would express buyers' remorse.

Silly campaign stunts. Obnoxious commercials. All while Americans scrimp and fight to save what little money they have, not even knowing where it is safe to put it.

What a sad state of affairs.