Dear Senator McCain,
Considering your now-infamous admission that you don’t know how to use a computer, it might seem foolish for me to post this online. I like to think that even if you don’t spend much time reading blogs, perhaps your staff does. Goodness knows, with your insistence on taking off every weekend throughout the campaign they’ve probably had more time on their hands than any election staff in history.
As for tonight’s debate, I’m sure you’ve already memorized your talking points, and perhaps you’ve even brushed up on some of the snarkier jabs you plan to take at Senator Obama. Given tonight’s town hall format, a style at which you ordinarily excel, perhaps you’re concentrating on stress-reduction ahead of the event, maybe with a latte from Starbucks, one of the beers you didn’t veto, or perhaps just a nice facial.
But know this, Senator: you’re slipping. No, let me phrase that more accurately: you’re plunging, and you’re doing it so rapidly that the sucking sound left in your wake is drowning out whatever message you think you’re delivering.
That’s the thing, Senator: right now you don’t seem to actually have a message. Oh, we hear plenty of attacks on Obama, about his ties to domestic terrorist William Ayers…although, inexplicably, you haven’t said much about his link with corrupt financier Tony Rezko. You’ve inundated us for months with ads and speeches calling Obama dishonorable and questioning whether Obama lacks the judgment to lead. If the election went to the best character assassin, you’d win by a landslide.
But we both know that’s not what it takes to win. Or at least, I do. Lately, I’m starting to wonder if that’s true of you, Senator McCain. And, truth be told, after the last 8 years of living with a president whose head was so firmly buried up his ass (or Cheney’s or Rumsfeld’s… hard to say), there are plenty of people, including registered Republicans like me, who are starting to wonder whether you’re paying attention to what’s happening outside the confines of your campaign bus.
To quote Bill Clinton, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
It sucks — every day brings more dire news about the Dow plunging and the Fed having to take radical steps to stimulate the credit market. Yet just three weeks ago you were assuring us that the economy’s doing fine. Oh, I know you wish you could take that back now, but you can’t unring a bell. The problem is, Senator, ever since that gaffe you seem determined to avoid addressing the country’s economic problems at all.
That, Sir, is precisely what you must do tonight: tell us how you’re going to fix it.
Tell us why you’re not part of the problem.
Tell us how you are different than George W. Bush, and lay out for us in specific terms how your policies would work. Don’t give us more unspecific talk about being a “maverick” – at this stage in the campaign, with both you and Sen. O on the attack — you could prove yourself a true maverick by offering clear solutions, not simply more finger-pointing and sound bytes.
Tell us how you’re going to put more money into our pockets with tax cuts, how you’re going to turn the country’s economic situation around, and how you’ll keep us from ever getting into this kind of mess again.
Don’t tell us what Obama can’t do, Senator. Tell us what you will do. Anything less is just a waste of our time.