Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, October 13, 2008

McCain's Last Move

"It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign," William Kristol decrees in today's New York Times. "He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s."

Whatever the Times is paying Kristol, it's too much. Pundits are supposed to see what's ahead, not in the rear-view mirror.

McCain is scheduled to make a "turnaround" speech today, an oratorical "Hail Mary" pass to turned-off voters.

But, in the spirit of bipartisanship so desperately needed these days, herewith a rerun of the acceptance speech McCain should have made at the Republican convention and can still adapt before the final debate this week:

Minneapolis, Sept 4, 2008--In a Capraesque moment for the 21st century, John Sidney McCain III told a stunned Republican Convention tonight:

"I accept your nomination for president of the United States but, in all good conscience, must reject the tactics that are being used to win that office for myself and my party."

To the bewildered, buzzing audience, McCain declared, "I take my text tonight from a source familiar to us all but too easily forgotten in the heat of political battle: 'For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?'

"My friends, I have tried to serve my country all my life with honor, and I will not trade that accomplishment for any office, no matter how exalted.

"In the past months, I have given in to the temptation to allow people who speak for me to paint my opponent as dishonest, deceitful and untrustworthy. From my own experience as his Senate colleague, I know that is simply not true.

"From this moment, all that will stop. In my heart, I believe I am better qualified to lead this country, and I will make my case to anyone who will listen. But I will not be part of a process that demeans others for my own advantage and damages the civilized American dialogue that has been the glory of our democracy for more than two centuries."

Sources close to McCain reveal that, prior to delivering his acceptance speech, the text of which was not made available in advance, the Republican candidate had dismissed all members of his staff associated with Karl Rove and the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004.

In what is being called "Operation Straight Talk Redux," the Senator has taped talking-head commercials outlining his positions on the economy, energy, health care and other issues, ending with the statement, "I'm John McCain, and you can bet your bottom dollar I approve this message."

Reaction from Republican convention goers has been mixed. "Even it works for him," said one Congressional candidate who declined to be identified, "there goes eight years of everything the rest of us got from following the Rove playbook."

Seasoned political observers are divided over whether the new McCain can win over enough Independents and disaffected Democrats to make up for expected losses among Conservative Republicans.

"In the long run," says one pollster, "honesty is the best policy. Except when it isn't."

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