Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Five Questions For John McCain

As Canadian politics continues to be on hold, I continue my focus on the upcoming American election. In the next couple of days I will highlight the challenges facing the presumptive nominees of both parties starting with the Republican, John McCain.

  1. Can he talk about anything other than national security? If the economy and other domestic issues reign supreme over the next few months, it will be incumbent upon McCain to find a winning domestic message. I have no idea what that will be.
  2. Can he overcome the age issue? John McCain is trying to become the oldest person ever elected to the oval office. He's not only old, he's got a history of cancer. Voters want a strong powerful leader, not a guy better suited for a retirement home. McCain needs to prove to voters that he is still fit enough to be president.
  3. Can he win over the base? John McCain has never really won over the Republican base. He needs evangelical Christians and other social conservatives to vote in droves if he hopes to win. There are few indications that he has done that yet. In recent primaries, 25% of Republicans who have bothered to cast their purely symbolic vote, have done so in protest against John McCain. That's not good. That leads to question 4...
  4. Can he compete with Obama's money? For the first time in a long time, the Democrats have the definitive fundraising advantage over the Republicans. Not only did John McCain fundraise poorly but no other Republican candidate (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) was able to bring in the dough. Huckabee ran second on a shoestring budget. Romney ran third on his own money. The Republicans need to get their fundraising mojo back if they want to win. That starts with the base.
  5. Can he save the Republican party from the coming doomsday? The elephant in the room for the elephant party is Congress. Even if John McCain wins the white house, the congressional picture looks bleak for the GOP. The Democrats have up to 10 different targets to pick up seats in the senate (in no particular order: ME, OR, MN, TX, GA, NC, VA, NM, CO, NH), the GOP have one: Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu. Expect the razor thin democratic majority to grow substantially. In the house, the problem is money. The RCCC (the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee) is broke and has told its members (the people running for Congress on the Republican banner) that they are on their own. With a slew of Republicans either retiring or in major political hot water, the Democratic control over the house of representatives is likely to strengthen. Speaker Pelosi is not worried about relinquishing the hammer any time soon. McCain will be called upon to try to save this sinking ship. This may be asking the impossible, but if McCain loses, he won't be going down alone.
I'll look at Obama's key questions in the coming days.

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