McCain vs Clinton: Blogging from an Alternate Universe

Supported by a new round of polls showing her pulling away from her Republican rival, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton today expressed disappointment in the type of campaign John McCain was running.

“After the extremely competitive primary fight I had with Barack Obama, I know the McCain campaign would be hoping I’d come out too bloodied to fight back against their smears, but as you can all see, we’re doing just fine, thank you very much,” the junior senator from New York told a rally of several thousand supporters today in Lansing, MI. “We knew they’d bring up every old rumor and conspiracy theory dating back to the first Clinton presidency, and they have, but even I was surprised at the recent tone of the McCain campaign and the frankly appalling message they’re sending American voters.”

Clinton was referring to the recent McCain web-only ad, “28 Days,” a not-too-subtle suggestion that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be risky due to alleged “mood swings” of the first female presidential candidate in American history.

“We’re not saying that Hillary Clinton would demonstrate a tendency to be irrational on a regular basis just because she’s a woman,” said McCain campaign senior strategist Rick Davis. ”Anyone suggesting we are has no journalistic credibility whatsoever and should go back to street-walking for the ACLU. We have documented proof that periodically, about once a month, Hillary Clinton makes seriously questionable judgment calls that undermine her claim to be ready to lead on day one. Sure, maybe she’d be a good leader that day. But what about, say, Day 28? I don’t think so.”

John McCain’s vice presidential pick Alan Keyes has made similar claims at recent campaign stops, saying Clinton would be better suited “kicking off her shoes and doing her senatorial duties at home in the kitchen, maybe giving Chelsea that little brother she’s always wanted,” instead of leading the nation from the White House. Clinton’s own VP choice, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, has denounced Keyes’ remarks as “offensive” and “absurd.”

“Really, everything out of that guy’s mouth is just nuts. In my neighborhood of Wilmington, or even before that in Scranton, PA, you just don’t talk like that. I know I didn’t go into this in my debate with Alan, but there’s only two reasons he’s on the ticket with John McCain, a man I respect and admire dearly, but who’s shown poor judgment all year long: Alan Keyes is a darling of the hardcore religious rightwing Republican base, and he’s black. It’s as simple as that,” said Biden in a recent interview with Katie Couric. “After the historic duel between Hillary and Barack Obama, they’re desperately trying to pick up some of the disaffected Obama supporters to try and keep this thing close.

And any African-American Democrat, or even independent, that thinks a McCain / Keyes ticket is going to look out for their best interests or address the issues that Barack Obama champions and spoke so passionately about in the primaries…Well, I just don’t know how any of them could think that.”

Even so, the McCain / Keyes campaign is actively pursuing the group of Obama voters who call themselves the EBONY Panthers (for Elect Barack Obama Now, Yo). While no reliable statistics have been compiled to show just how many voters fall into this category, the anger at losing such a close contest to Hillary Clinton has caused many of them to consider voting Republican for the first time in their lives.

“It’s a phenomenon unlike any I’ve ever seen,” said political blogger Michael Turner. “I mean, Alan Keyes has zero, and I mean zero economic policy experience. His claim to have the requisite experience because he balanced his family’s budget regularly for the last seven years is one of the most patently absurd things anyone has ever heard. He and McCain say they’re a good match because they’re both “mavericks,” but any so-called Democrat that supports a guy like Keyes who thinks Senators should be appointed and wants to abolish the income tax ought to have their head examined. And don’t even get me started on Keyes’ positions on social issues. We still haven’t seen John McCain’s health records. The idea that someone as manifestly unqualified as Alan Keyes is a heartbeat away from the presidency is terrifying. Talk about a return to the dark ages.”

Turner added, “And, no, that wasn’t a racial comment.”

Between fomenting racial divisions and the accusations of sexism, it’s unclear, however, if the current strategy of the McCain / Keyes campaign is having a positive effect. The red meat that Keyes throws to their increasingly riled up base is creating anxiety among some less fire-and-brimstone Republicans. McCain, by seemingly pandering to the portion of his base that sees women as inferior to men, is losing undecided voters in droves.

As Turner points out, “The reality is, Hillary Clinton outpolls John McCain on just about every issue. The enthusiasm of these sexist knuckle-draggers is the only thing McCain has left, and win or lose, it risks setting back gender relations in this country by a century or so. It’s a Democrat’s year, but either way, I’m a little concerned.

And just imagine how bad it’d be right now if Obama had won the nomination? (low whistle) Crazy.”

– Michael Turner