Sunday, March 30, 2008

THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE. There's a lot of talk about the ongoing Clinton-Obama race, much of it from operatives taking the opportunity to make Republican hay of it. "This race is different from every other Democratic race because it's about race and gender, ultimately, and personality," says David Brooks. Presumably Brooks is bothered because he still thinks Presidential races are supposed to be all about religion, as he told us in 2004.

Brooks insists that the protracted fight is "going to make the party look pretty bad," and imagines voters asking, "Are these people going to really manage the entire health care system?" This last bit is jarring, as it mentions an actual campaign issue.

While the Democrats are hogging the spotlight, the McCain campaign has been thrown into deep shadow. This would seem an excellent chance for him to go around shoring up his finances and whatever base he actually has, but that doesn't seem to be going so well. I notice McCain's only significant endorsement in the past three weeks has come from Nancy Reagan. His public policy pronouncements have stirred few ripples, at least of the positive sort. Recently Republican Senator Mel Martinez said of McCain's housing-market prescriptions, or lack thereof, "I would give Senator McCain an Incomplete."

You have to wonder how people who are not Republican Senators feel about this and other issues. We know that people like McCain, but we have yet to see what they think of his policies, or the prospect of seeing them put into action in a McCain Administration. When the Democrats get a nominee, we will get a better idea of this, and we'll also get a better idea of who's really trying make the election "about race and gender," and why.

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