September 9, 2008

THE RETREAT TO IDENTITY:

It's Not About the Issues (Tom Bevan, 9/09/08, Real Clear Politics)

This year's contest features two insurgent candidates whose campaigns are built around themes anchored largely in their biographies.

Barack Obama presents himself as a Washington outsider and post-partisan, post-racial unifier who offers to change politics and the culture of government as we know it.

John McCain presents himself as an experienced public servant who has consistently put country above all else, and with his choice of Sarah Palin for Vice-President McCain has pivoted to his credentials as a fighter and a political maverick who will bring his own brand of change to Washington.

While issues do matter, at its most fundamental level the race is a battle between the narratives of these two men and which campaign can do a more effective job of framing the choice in November as a referendum.


You can tell how quickly this campaign has gotten away from the Unicorn Rider by the St. Vitus dance he's done on his own narrative, most obviously the choice of an avatar of the culture of government as his running mate and by his bizarre decision to begin his stump speech with that shtick about not looking like other presidential candidates. You can't be post-racial if you base your appeal on race.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2008 8:18 AM
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