McCain-Palin '08: Lipstick and old ideas
You may think the presidential campaign should be about important stuff, like a discussion of the proper role of government.
But when it comes to the GOP's grand plan, there is nothing more important than lipstick and double talk.
If the Grand Old Party focuses on the facts, people will see that they are hopelessly stuck in the 1980s.
Sarah Palin, who is the ideological star of the GOP ticket, just loves that old Reagan mantra about how government is the problem.
The public knows this approach has given us Three Stooges-style regulation; collapsing financial institutions; Looney Tunes panic on Wall Street; plummeting home values; a deer-in-the-headlights middle class; Culture Wars reruns; a 19th-century energy policy; a Justice Department that argued for torture; an Interior Department that parties hearty with the oil and gas industry; and an FBI that wants to get to know you a little better.
A Palin-McCain ticket offers more of the same.
When it comes to the economy, the best McCain can do is try to redefine "fundamentals" as a synonym for "American workers."
And what happens to those workers if he follows through on his plan to tax employer-based health insurance? New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote last week that research by "scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan project that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan."
Maybe Palin and McCain think American workers are so fundamentally strong they don't need health insurance. The Double Talk Express is also busy trying to redefine the word "change" and co-opt Barack Obama's message.
Obama uses the traditional meaning. His change is about taking the country in a different direction on a lot of issues, including the economy, the environment, national security, job creation, etc.
Obama is clear about how he sees the role of government. Here's what he said in Denver:
"Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology."
In other words, government is supposed to serve the people.
What a concept!
Imagine a government designed to function efficiently for the greater good of the taxpayers who fund it.
Obama can imagine it.
Politicians who start with the belief that government is the problem can't. They are predisposed to produce governments that meet their low expectations.
That's why Palin-McCain will give us what we got from Bush - inept government and a cynical abdication of the Constitution's commitment to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
Bush is the elephant in the White House that they hope you won't notice. If they acknowledge him at all, GOP strategists try to pretend Bush comes from some obscure planet outside their orbit. But McCain would pluck his Cabinet from the same old GOP true believers.
The strategy is like slathering on makeup and hoping no one notices you haven't been getting much sleep.
So you can see that lipstick and double talk are not trivial in this campaign. They are fundamental. This is all the Republicans have.