America faces many deficits. Some can be measured easily by metrics: i.e a budget deficit or a trade deficit.
But there's a far more debilitating deficit in our nation today. The confidence deficit
Without confidence business transactions grind to a halt and political progress is stalled as rational actors play the old zero-sum game.
This week the McCain campaign had an opportunity to address this confidence deficit. The opportunity passed. And indeed, now they demonstrate their own confidence deficit.
First, let's look at the root causes of the confidence deficit. I trace them to Bush's annus horrible in 2005 when social security reform died, Katrina was an unmitigated disaster and Bush alienated his core supporters with the Miers nomination. Add Iraq to this brew and we get the 2006 midterm thumping. At rhe end of the day, the public lost faith in Bush and it seems Bush lost faith in what had worked in the first term for him.
The Democrats who took power in Congress then exacerbated this problem. Their "vision" was of accepting defeat in Iraq and running the same ethically challenged Congress they decried---only with an even greater level of incompetence. The lowest approval ratings in recent history were to be expected.
Hence the opening for a "Hope and Change" presidential candidate. By mid-summer it was self evident that Obama's spiel was inspirational to the young and partisan, but was falling on deaf ears to the older and more jaded.
McCain's campaign mocked the "messiah' and then made a bold move that regained the political advantage. They picked Sarah Palin for V.P.
Palin obviously brings many demographic assets to the ticket. But when she's left to her own devices, she brings a far greater asset. Confidence
Uber-Pundit Michael Barone made this telling observation after Palin's blockbuster RNC speech.
Roosevelt memorably said in his first inaugural that Americans had nothing to fear but fear itself. Sarah Palin seems to fear nothing.
Palin's plainspoken power is she is the authentic voice of Middle America. Middle America may not know the theories of Clausewitz, Ludwig von Mises, or Laurence Tribe, but they know when the government is protecting their paycheck and person, and when it is not.
In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has made halfhearted decisions that betray their own lack of confidence. They tried to limit media exposure to Palin to just the mandarins of the elite media, and evidently directed her to offer as little information as possible, taking fearless Sarah and making her appear clueless. Better to have given her more exposure in less prominent forums and put her to proper use.
When Hank Paulson broke the proverbial glass and declared an alarm bell for the economy McCain suspended his campaign, participated in talks to fashion a legislative remedy, then, inexplicably was in Ohio the morning of the House vote debacle at a campaign rally instead of being on Capitol Hill whipping votes for the package he favored. The Bailout wasn;t any more popular than the Iraq surge, but McCain might have convinced House members on the first try to swallow hard, especially as every day the crisis kept going was another day lost from attacking Obama. Moreover, putting his name front and center would have embellished his "Country First" persona. Perhaps McCain didn;t have confidence in the package, but allowing the crisis to fester for four more days was only going to make the political environment worse. He now has little to show for the campaign time he missed.
Now we have the final piece of the puzzle. The abandonment of MI to the Democrats. http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081004/pl_politico/14267. The way this was done was just blindingly dumb. Instead of quietly postponing rallies, delaying ad buys, and moving paid staff to save money the McCain campaign sends a neon billboard to the public consciousness that it is falling behind in the election. The message herein is loudly that McCain's own staff doesn;t have confidence in their prospects.
Ironically, this whole approach seems reminiscent of Rudy Giuliani's disasterous primary strategy of pulling away from states once polls looked tough, only to find the public started writing him off in the states where he had decided to make a stand.
just competing everywhere seems to count for a lot more than people would have thought a few weeks ago.
If the Mac team thinks that bailing on one of the traditional battleground states a month before the election is going to inspire people in PA, MN or WI, I think they are....let's be polite...sadly mistaken. This election will be won by emotion-- not tactical gamesmanship
There is no confidence in Washington. There is no confidence in Washington, DC. Barack Obama offers a banal and credulous type of confidence, based on an ideology rejected time and again by the voters. But in the marketplace of ideas, even a really bad product is better than no product at all.
Sarah Palin gets it. We cannot win this election unless we are willing to fight. And we cannot win if we are unwilling to speak directly and forcefully to Middle America.
In her very body language, Sarah Palin projects enthusiasm and confidence. Where is this John McCain...the McCain of legendary town halls in New Hampshire and South Carolina? Lost in the MSM miasma, methinks.
Send Sarah to Michigan. Hell, send her anywhere Republicans want to fight for the future of this nation. Even Chicago if they can gin up a crowd. Let her rip. Let's educate America that we need not accept the future Barack Obama will provide.
You cannot expect others to have confidence in your agenda if you do not have confidence in yourself. America needs the McCain-Palin ticket to close the confidence deficit our nation is facing.
It's past time for Sarah to be Sarah.
How about its time for John McCain to be Sarah?