Here we go from the sublime to the absurd, John McCain in an attempt to repeat the Bush campaign strategy of 2000 is visiting the “forgotten places” in America. Presenting himself as a reincarnation of the compassionate conservative Senator McCain is on tour visiting the “Black Belt” of Alabama, Appalachia, Youngstown, Ohio, and New Orleans. Maybe Senator McCain has forgotten who has been in the White House these last 8 years while these forgotten places have been pushed to the breaking point. Hopefully, the American public has not forgotten and will see this obvious heavy-handed attempt to appear as something he is not. I am not counting on the media to point out the inconsistencies of McCain’s policies from his “listening tour”.
GEE’S BEND, Ala.—Senator John McCain opened a weeklong tour of the nation’s “forgotten places” in Alabama’s Black Belt on Monday by acknowledging the challenge he faces in appealing to African-Americans and admitting that “I am aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me.”
“There must be no forgotten places in America, whether they have been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice, or have been left behind as the world grew smaller and more economically interdependent,” Mr. McCain said to a largely white and friendly crowd that gathered to hear his remarks on the banks of the Alabama River.
I guess just because you are visiting the “Black Belt” doesn’t mean you have to actually visit with black people. Mr. McCain obviously doesn’t feel like proposing tax-breaks for corporations and making the Bush tax-cuts permanent as being unjust or indifferent. The worst form of racism and injustice is poverty. I guess though if you buy a few quilts from old black women it makes up for all the rest. It makes up for ignoring the debates that were held at Morgan State University that was designed to highlight issues of concern to black voters. Someone in the McCain camp has come up with the brilliant idea of trying to exploit the current Democratic riffs and the electoral “bitterness” by having him appear as someone who cares about their discontent and as an alternative to the angry Democrats. I suspect the Senator will also make similar purchases in his other stops; maybe some moonshine in Appalachia, some tires in Youngstown, and some gumbo in New Orleans.
The truth is that Senator McCain and his campaign could care less about the forgotten places of America or the forgotten people they will find there. The real purpose of this trip is to collect commercial footage for the fall and photo-ops for the wing-nut commentators to proclaim Senator McCain as a different kind of Republican, a maverick if you will. Whoever the Democratic nominee is going to be they will need to be prepared for the same campaign tactics used by Bush and Rove. Regardless of what McCain says he is already mimicking the Bush strategies, this fall is going to be ugly. When you don’t have any popular policies of your own and you are promoting the unpopular policies of an outgoing President with a 30% popularity rating, you are going to have to rely on deception. I can hardly wait to see the campaign ads of McCain talking to blacks and poor people looking concerned with that patriotic music in the background.
At the very least, the trip is providing footage for Mr. McCain’s future campaign commercials, as occurred later in the day when the candidate was serenaded with old Negro spirituals by the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala., during a slow-moving ferry ride across a part of the Alabama River.
While a campaign camera crew recorded the scene from an accompanying pontoon boat, Mr. McCain stood on the ferry surrounded by a dozen African-American quilters who sang “Old Ship of Zion” to the vaguely embarrassed candidate. Mr. McCain had just come from a visit to their quilting center.
With Iraqi surge footage already in hand, Mr. McCain’s campaign is replicating the infamous “Mission Accomplished” moments of George Bush. The more McCain proclaims his differences from George Bush the more his campaign resembles the Bush campaigns. The Republicans believe they have a winning strategy that they can still use despite all the evidence to the contrary. The reports of the Republican demise maybe be premature and exaggerated.