Wednesday, May 07, 2008

KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE. At National Review Online they're looking toward the general election, and prescribing "optimism" for John McCain:
Cohn thinks that the party of optimism is likely to prevail. He is right: If the election is framed the way he suggests it should be, then Obama will indeed win. But even a moderately competent Republican campaign should be able to prevent that from happening. Try flipping the narrative:

McCain wants to cut taxes. Obama says we can't afford it. McCain says we can compete against other countries. Obama says no we can't. McCain says we should empower patients with free-market health care. Obama says it's a pipe dream.
Similarly, McCain should portray our indefinite occupation of Iraq as another blessing of conservative governance: the world's biggest firing range, and perhaps a future destination for adventuresome vacationers -- the natives are exceedingly friendly if you just give them a little air cover and promise not to use their real names.

I don't see McCain as Mr. Sunshine; his wit tends more toward the mordant. I think this is one of his more attractive qualities, but I'm not a Republican looking to revive the old Reagan twinkle. If they can get him to come on with a smile and a shoeshine, the strain might eventually drive him to the swearing and scuffling for which his congressional buddies know him.

But if he can keep it up, there'll be plenty of shills out there to try and get the crowds to grin along with John. First they have to get folks to pack up all their cares and woe. Polls show they have their work cut out for them, especially on the economic front.

It's early days yet, so to warm up the audience they may take the approach of putative Obama supporter Megan McArdle, who insists that the "massive increase in revolving debt" is a "scare statistic" used by evil consumer advocates to make us forget how great things are really going. Maybe an early draft of her essay was leaked, and helped cause consumer borrowing to skyrocket in March. Those folks certainly wouldn't be going into hock if they were worried about paying off debts.

Once we've got those frowns turned upside down, Mark Steyn can lead group singing of "We're In The Money," and McCain can come out with a straw boater and cane to evangelize for optimism. It'll make for quite a show, even if the metal detectors are enhanced to pick up the presence of rotten fruit.

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