After losing several high-profile Republican supporters and being criticized for running a frighteningly indecent campaign, it looks like John McCain finally started realizing that inciting anger and hatred is not “politically” correct. At a town hall meeting in Minnesota today, a man proclaimed to Mr. McCain:
“The people here in Minnesota want to see a real fight. We want a strong president to lead us through the next four years.”
McCain responded with:
“I think I got my marching orders.”
But then he uncharacteristically shifted tone to start doing some damage control:
“I am enthusiastic and encouraged by the enthusiasm and I think it’s really good. We have to fight and I will fight but we will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments and I want to be respectful.
“I dont mean that you have to lose your ferocity. I just mean you have to be respectful…
“There’s a difference between rhetoric and record… [Obama] has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate, even more liberal than Bernie Sanders…
“I want all of you to tell your neighbors about the difference between rhetoric and record, but let’s do it respectfully.”
Later, a man in the crowd told McCain that he was “scared” by an Obama presidency. McCain replied.
“I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.”
The crowd then “booed” and yelled “Come on, John!”
While I’m happy to see Mr. McCain stepping up here, one can’t help but feel it has more to do with bad press and less to do with what’s right. Unfortunately, McCain has placed himself in a lose/lose situation. Enact damage control now and you risk pissing off and alienating the folks you riled up and got all hot under the collar (people, I might add, calling for blood!), or you continue down this path you never should have been on in the first place and risk everything. I’d feel sorry for him if I didn’t believe this was a product of his own making and endemic to who he is.
Better that he put himself in this position now, than to place the entire country there later.