Well, the first two debates are over, and while tomorrow’s coverage will focus on "how they did," the pattern I note emerging is just how much the McCain campaign, especially as sold by Gov. Sarah Palin, is trying to present Reagan-era ideas as relevant to a world that has moved on.
For instance, that old Republican threat that a Democratic administration is going to raise taxes through the roof. No one wants their taxes raised, clearly; and tonight Palin tried to connect the issue with the unfolding economic crisis. But even so, her argument neither rang true nor as clearly connected to the economic issues that people are facing today.
So, too, the argument that "We’re gonna reform Washington." Considering the array of issues to choose from, is anyone really worried about earmarks right now? Or the size of government spending (on anything but Iraq and the bailout)? Today? Now?
It’s no accident that Palin ended the debate by quoting Ronald Reagan. Yet these throwbacks to supposed halcyon days do not fit the times. I suspect even the conservative base finds them out of touch.
One wonders how it is the McCain campaign can’t see that.
Jim McDermott, SJ