Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain's grim prospects

If you read very much on the internet-- especially stuff from other Christians-- then you’ve almost certainly encountered a lot of stuff about Senator Barack Obama. If you watch TV at all, or read the newspaper, he’s everywhere. Even Senator John McCain’s own ads call him the “biggest celebrity in the world.”

Even those who oppose Senator Obama, in one way or another, have given him a lot of attention. One of the blogs I read has averaged, it seems like, at least a post a week on why he’s not the guy that should be president. Plenty of Christians will offer great amounts of evidence for why Senator Obama is the worst possible future president for our country.

I almost never hear very much about Senator McCain. I don’t know anyone who is excited about his candidacy, or delighted about the president he would make. I’ve yet to read a well-written, thoroughly developed piece on why McCain SHOULD be president. (Or, for that matter, one on why he SHOULDN’T!)

In fact, the general sense I get-- even from those who strongly oppose Senator Obama-- is, in a nutshell, “I’m not that excited about [Senator] McCain either.”

No one is excited about Senator John McCain. No one is vigorously, zealously behind him. No one is concerned about zealously opposing him. At the beginning of an episode from the last season of West Wing, one of the candidates is told something like, this campaign is all yours-- you won’t even have to mention the other guy’s name. I think that pretty much sums up the status of Senator Obama’s status right now, too.

[Now, that last paragraph is all hyperbole, of course. I’m sure I’ll get some emails about it anyway...]

Senator McCain may have gained a bit of ground at Saturday’s Saddleback Civic Forum. Even there, though, many responses were that Senator McCain’s words were too “party-line” and sounded like he was appealing to that certain group of voters. Senator Obama came off as fresh and genuine to the same group, while others the same thing about him.

So, here’s how it looks from where I sit: Senator John McCain may, indeed, be exactly the man we need in the White House; Senator Barack Obama may, indeed, be the worst thing for Christians in the United States ever. Or both of those assumptions may be totally off. But unless he can get his campaign into a much higher gear (and there’s still plenty of time to do so), Senator McCain is going to become the next Walter Mondale, the next Bob Dole, and the next John Kerry: the “other candidate” who was easily forgotten, because the one who beat him was such a dominant presence. Right now, the election is Senator Barack Obama’s to lose.

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