Ouch! Is McCain fighting to Get His Honor Back?

For those who haven’t seen the video or news reports yet, McCain had to swallow A LOT of pride this afternoon to defend Obama.  Whether McCain finally had a sense of dignity return or did it for political reasons, you know that it galled him, particularly to say ,” Obama is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States.”

One wonders if this is going be a change of tone from the McCain rhetoric – harking to the calls of the “Georgetown Conservatives” to drop the character issue and focus back on the economy.  That, however, doesn’t appear to be the case now that the McCain campaign is now going after Michelle Obama.  Or, it could be that was their plan, but the campaign continues to act first, think later.

Understand, McCain’s comments today were 100% needed.  I’ve blogged about the potential long-term damage that this angry rhetoric may cause.  McCain did this, I believe, because the man who was all about dignity and all about putting the Country first realized he was damaging the very fabric of what he fought for in Vietnam and in Congress.  From everything that’s been reported, prior to this campaign, he had always been a man of honor and dignity.  McCain became overwhelmed by Steve Schmidt’s, a Karl Rove protege, strategy, his desire to reach othe zenith of his career, and the Sarah Palin thirst to boost her ego and her build her acceptance within the GOP.  His judgement and dignity was left at the door this summer.  However, his erratic behaviour with these character issues gives some glimpse into his internal conflict.  He won’t allow his campaign go after Obama and Reverend Wright.  He talks about stopping the talk about Ayers and then bringing him back. He will attack Obama prior to the debate, but not during the debate.  This is a man who truly wants to win but realizes that he is becoming an empty soul as he does it.  As the election winds down and his chances grow dimmer, McCain needs to consider what is going to happen if loses this election.  If he loses, he will have lost more than the Presidency – he will have lost his dignity, honor, and respect from his peers.  He will no longer be an effective ‘maverick’ who can reach out to the Democrats to get bills passed. The Republicans, who already do not like him, will give him the cold shoulder.  Finally, everything that he’s done will be brought back during his next Congressional race.  He may not win Senate reelection.

So, for these reasons, McCain needs to repair the damage and needed to say the following today:

Actually mentioning the word Obama and President in the same sentence was not necessary and beyond what was required.  But McCain is trying to recapture his image and his respect, and it may not be too late.  He may not cease from the character attacks, but I think there will be more restraint and more intelligence they way it is used.  At some point, if it appears McCain has no chance to win, the rhetoric may completely disappear.  He still has time to repair his image and he needs to consider the messages from the “Georgetown Conservatives” such as George Will who think the character attacks are embarrassing.

These comments today were not politically helpful, in fact they were politically damaging.  His base booed his comments, and that isn’t a good sign.  To them, it shows resignation that McCain thinks he is going to lose – they don’t realize there is a more principled reason for the comments.  Obama can use it as validation – it particularly makes the argument of whether Obama is qualified or experienced enough no longer relevant.  McCain said you do not have to be scared of an Obama presidency.  That, is something Obama can use in ads, at the debate, on the stump, and his supporters can feel more comfortable.  If McCain lucky, the negative political ramifications will be short-lived.  Three weeks is still enough time to change McCain’s message and start to make inroads into Obama’s lead.

As a Democrat, I’d rather not see him wake-up yet.  I take nothing for granted in this election and still think the McPalin presidency is fully a possibility.  If he truly is changing course, then Obama has a much tougher road ahead.

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