Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What a Candidate With No Substance Looks Like

Hi Everyone,

Back in the spring and summer, a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters liked to make the charge that Obama was a candidate totally lacking in detail or substance.  But interestingly, they rarely could back up the charge with specifics of their own (details where they could say that Obama's positions were less substantive than Clinton's or McCain's).  But now we are getting a great chance to see what a campaign based on a lack of substance actually looks like.  And it's not the Obama campaign, it's the McCain campaign.  

McCain's campaign has nothing left in the bag except attacks on Obama's character (or more accurately, the character of his neighbors). On substantive issues like the economy, McCain's campaign seems to cycle through positions like a slot machine, repeatedly pulling the arm until one pops up that pays off.  He doesn't even talk about his own biography that much anymore.

My motive here is only partly to tweek the noses of the Clinton supporters who were so critical earlier this year.  Really I want to point out that when a campaign really lacks substance it gets to be pretty obvious.  It's not something reasonable people would seriously disagree about.  It gets obvious to voters and they start to say things like "all McCain does is run negative attacks" and they turn away.  That's exactly what we've seen in the last few weeks.  McCain's lack of substance and credible detail seems to have fatally damaged his campaign.


Dr. Strangelove said...

RbR is right on target about McCain's lack of substance here. In fact, he is so lacking in substance that he apparently had to borrow some.

It turns out McCain called Hillary Clinton on Sept. 24 to ask her about her proposal for the federal government to buy up bad mortgages. (Apparently he got a rather cold reception, but she did speak with him.) Then three weeks later he announces almost the same plan, and gives credit to, "a suggestion that Sen. Hillary Clinton made not that long ago."

Dr. Strangelove said...

Although to be fair, Obama is now also borrowing a part of Hillary's original plan from several months ago: the 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.

Raised By Republicans said...

Obama has detailed, sustantive positions on a range of policies. Saying that he's borrowed on position from Hillary is hardly proof he had no substance before.

Pombat said...

I don't think Dr.S was even thinking about suggesting Obama had no substance before. My reading of his two comments was that the "to be fair" was about McCain, not Obama - making it clear that McCain's not the only one to be borrowing ideas, even if he has to borrow more. As far as I'm aware (and I'm backed up by his bumper sticker, which promptly replaced the Clinton one), Dr.S is now a bona fide Obama supporter.

I think it's a bit rich of McCain to be calling Clinton for advice. And personally, I think it's a bit off of her to be providing it prior to the election (working together once in government is great in my book, the other guy winning due to 'our' ideas isn't so great). But then. Hopefully things have gotten to the point that McCain stands no chance. An Irish bookmakers certainly thinks so.

Raised By Republicans said...

Fair enough.

It's not the main point anyway. McCain is so lacking in substance that he's actually contradicting himself.

Political scientists talk about politicians being either policy or office seeking. Of course most politicians are some combination of both. But McCain seems to be entirely office seeking. Maverick!

Check it out! It's hilarious!!!

The Law Talking Guy said...

Actually, Dr.S, Obama is advocating a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures for any bank that participates in the bailout. This has much more constitutional authority than a straight up moratorium on foreclosures (I think HRC wanted more than 90 days, btw).

Pombat said...

RbR: it's not the main point, but it's one I feel needs looking at in more depth, because I have cause for concern around it.

When Dr.S - previously a Clinton supporter - made a comment about Obama borrowing one position from Clinton, in a clear attempt to provide some balance to his comment about McCain borrowing from Clinton, you - an Obama supporter from way back - immediately took an aggressive/defensive type stance, defending Obama. The reason this concerns me is that, whilst Dr.S is a very balanced individual who has now put his full voting weight behind Obama, there may well be other Clinton supporters out there who haven't made the switch yet, who are still undecideds, or possibly even thinking about voting McCain. These other Clinton supporters are much less likely to vote Obama if they are being attacked by Obama supporters for having been Clinton supporters.

As someone who has no vote in this election but, as a citizen of the world, has a stake in the outcome, what I really want to see is every Obama supporter out there encouraging all the Clinton supporters, starting discussions about where in Obama's Cabinet Clinton would best fit, 'bigging up' all her good ideas, really reaching out in a "we're all in this together, yay Democrats" sort of way. Not having a go at them - that's never a good way to make friends and influence people!

Totally agreed on McCain's lack of substance though - I finally got around to reading that Rolling Stone article, and was really quite horrified. Rather contradicts the image you get of him from watching the Daily Show. And yep, got that website in an email (thanks Dr.S!), and love it :-)

Dr. Strangelove said...

Pombat is right: When I wrote "to be fair" I was referring to McCain, not Obama. The Obama campaign has--and indeed, has always had--detailed and substantive positions on a range of policies. As I have said many times, Obama has my full support. (And as proof of that, I might add that I have contributed more to Obama than I contributed to Hillary.)

LTG: Obama's plan differs in several respects, but Hillary's original proposal did call for a 90-day moratorium.