Remember John McCain

The sight of Jessie Jackson crying, Al Sharpton singing hand in hand with his pupils, crazed fans in Chicago cheering the hell out of their man, Mister History, Barack Obama — these are the sights of the most historic presidential victory of our nation. In his triumphant remarks, Mr. Obama thanked his family, his supporters and specifically, the unsung hero of his campaign, manager David Plouffe. While thanking Plouffe, he went as far as saying, “This is the best run campaign in U.S. history.” While sitting back in my blue-cloth seat in the Bishop common room, many seemed to agree. I thought of Bill Clinton winning against a fairly popular incumbent, and that incumbent’s son beating the extension of the very popular Clinton. However, when we look back at Obama’s triumph, let’s remember the guy that facilitated it all: John McCain. Really, as much as we like to trace Obama’s victory back to his community organizer days, we must trace McCain’s defeat all the way back to 2000. Against W, McCain’s everyman message transformed him into the main threat to the Bush Machine. His legitimate self-portrayal of an experienced mediator of two extremes juxtaposed Bush, who appeared a symbol of the Republican establishment. After a win in New Hampshire, McCain seemed poised to fight the primary out. However, after his loss in South Carolina, he listened to his advisors and pushed an anti-Bush campaign. Needless to say, he lost this smear fight to the master, Karl Rove. Instead of listening to his message, he turned to others. Fast forward to 2008. McCain has just recovered from his campaign crisis by winning, yet again, New Hampshire. Fast forward more, and his straight ahead approach beats the Republican flip-flop Mitt Romney. His ability to listen to his own message propelled him to the nomination he failed to receive in 2000. Fast forward to November 4, 2008, and he loses to Barack Obama. Let’s count the deviations from his original message: one — the shift from moderate to conservative, for the sake of votes, two — choosing the perfect political partner, Sarah Palin, and three — suspending his campaign, for a day, to help with the economic crisis. These gimmicks, and flat-out 180’s of ideology, destroyed his chances. He went from a small-government, budget-balancing, self-dependent choice to a money wasting, gimmick-reliant nominee. I credit all of these failures to his inability to listen to his original voice. Instead of choosing a person he knew well to saddle up with him for the home stretch, he chooses an unknown, Sarah Palin, who becomes the most misunderstood politician ever. All of these shifts destroyed what was an amazing, American product, a genuine public servant. To say Barack Obama deserves no credit is naïve. However, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, the economic crisis and Joe the Plumber almost offset the real ace in the hole for Obama: George W. Bush. John McCain failures can be summed up in by one of my favorite poems, by Rudyard Kipling. “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings-nor lose the common touch…Your’s is the Earth and everything’s in it.” ’Nuff said. Sam Dodge is a three-year Senior and Co-President of the Republican Club from Ann Arbor, Mich.