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Reflections on a House Divided

Opening Rounds

"MCCAIN SPEECH TONIGHT: THE GENERAL ELECTION BEGINS"
The Drudge Report, Tuesday the 3rd of June

This was a good speech.
He hit many of the right notes and expressed them well:

*The real and significant distinctions between his views and those of President Bush - as opposed to the way the Democrats will strive to cast him - i.e. as merely an extension of the current administration (see note)

*How the Democrats in general - and Sen Obama in particular - would have quashed the new strategy now in effect in Iraq even before it began, would have done so regardless of the situation on the ground there and the advice of our military leaders in-country, and how in doing so - if they had succeeded in their efforts - they would have aborted, at conception, the very real progress that has been made there in the last year and a half.

*Sen Obama's seeming willingness to go anywhere in the world in order to talk - unconditionally - with our enemies, to do so regardless of how deranged their leaders may be, how dishonest said leaders have been in regards to upholding agreements in the past,  how consistently they have threatened our country and its allies, and how deeply that inclination is in contrast with his apparent reluctance to go to Iraq and talk there with the men and women he would be commanding if he were to be elected president.

The problem now and for the rest of the campaign will be the same as that which has haunted the current administration for the last 2 terms - getting sufficient and fair coverage from the
main-stream media. In all that time the only strategy that seems to have worked with any consistency has been that of making a direct and clearly articulated challenge to the
administrations critic's generally, to do so on national TV and with obvious imputation as to the good faith and the accuracy of the accounts put forth by those critics - as well as to the damage inflicted by their rhetoric on our country's security and the safety of its serving men and women. The
few times the President has taken that tact his ratings soared in the days
after. But, he never followed through on those gains.

From the beginning I've been afraid that Sen McCain is also too much
of a gentleman to adopt and sustain an approach of that kind.
But, this speech seems to indicate that - at the very least - he
has  started in that direction. If he can keep it going - and bring the
main-stream media and anti-war Democrats generally into his line of fire - we may
have a better than even chance of winning in November.

There is also an urgent need for his supporters to develop other ways by which the main-stream media can be dragged/enticed/shamed/fooled - kicking and screaming - into the direction of some semblance of a balanced coverage of this campaign. Surely there Surely there must be a wealth of ideas out there on how to meet that vital challenge.
We do not have forever to do so.

Note:
The current unpopularity of Pres. Bush is, I believe, stark testimony to both the bias of the main-stream media and its continued ability to mould public perceptions, and to do so in spite of the much vaunted expansion of the "new media" into its traditional domains. I also believe that history will - if not then yet entirely subordinate to ideology - rank Pres Bush far above most of his critics.
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(C) David Aronin 2008