Here I am that mythical undecided voter. I could go for Obama. I could go for McCain.
The company they keep is going to mean a lot to me and I think to people like me.
Whose circle helped them more this week in the eyes of this undecided voter?
Let’s take a look!
On the Obama side, Jim Webb removed himself from VP consideration and John Edwards announced he’d be willing. Both announcements got a lot of play but didn’t mean that much to me. Jim Webb, though clearly a potential help to the Obama campaign with his vet status and his appeal to Southern voters, meant little to me as neither of those assets was a positive or a negative for me personally as a voter.
As for Edwards, I’m an Edwards fan, but the political geek in me hopes he doesn’t get picked. This is because I never think it’s a good idea to try to sell last year’s model to people looking for something new.
The most interesting peace of Obama related news this week I think is that Republican Chuck Hagel will be accompanying him on his trip to Iraq. Hmmmmm…. Wonder if this means Obama is seriously thinking about picking a GOP guy as his VP?
It would certainly signal change. Hagel has more Senate experience than his potential running mate and is a Viet Nam Vet. But, mostly he’s a Republican. That’s the key thing for me. If Obama is serious about working together with the opposition party than what better way to signal it than by going with someone like Hagel? I like that idea and I think a lot of other Americans would too.
Now let’s check out John McCain’s circle. The biggest news this week was negative and it came from negative guy Phil Gramm. Look, I’ve always liked John McCain, but I’m someone who has mostly voted for Democrats. 9/11 really changed me in terms of trying harder than ever to be open to people from both parties. So, this year I really may vote for my first Republican presidential candidate. I’m there for the plucking (so to speak).
That said, now I’m struggling with Phil Gramm’s association with John McCain. Apparently, he’s his economics adviser and he thinks the rest of us ordinary folks are whining too much. He also said this week that he thinks America is on the decline, which he called a “mental recession”.
Well, Phil, you’re not helping the GOP or John McCain in my independent voter eyes. Who’s fault is it that America is in a “mental recession” if we are? Hasn’t the GOP been at the White House for eight years? Haven’t Republicans controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress for much of my adult life (and for the record I’m a VERY sexy 40-something….)? My point is the GOP has been large and in charge for a long time.
Gramm is now saying he wasn’t talking about us ordinary citizens, but rather leaders in Washington, which by the way, he was up until recently. If Gramm truly was aiming his criticisms at the leaders in DC then you know what? I agree with him.
I do think that America has suffered because we’ve had terrible leadership on BOTH sides of the aisle. We are locked into gridlock and need to break out. Still, Gramm is part of the more dominant party over the past few decades and so I can’t shake the feeling that the GOP has been significantly more responsible for getting us to this place of “mental recession”.
Even worse, I DON’T believe Phil Gramm. I do believe he’s out of touch with America. I do believe he’s in lock step with a GOP that largely hasn’t cared much about the average American.
The GOP has been too busy making sure that people earning over 250K get tax breaks.
Whether his intention or not, Phil Gramm’s words didn’t help John McCain at all this week. They simply reminded me why I tend to vote for Democrats.
I’m still keeping my mind open to voting for McCain so in fairness to him I do need to post his response, which was really good here:
PS – For this week at least, in my eyes… ADVANTAGE: OBAMA