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From A Republican

A More Positive McCain Could Reverse Course on The Presidential Race

October 21, 2008

By John W. Bedell

John W. Bedell

No matter what happens on Nov. 4, this has been an important year for all of us, especially those interested in a two-party system and Republicans, especially.

We are still feeling the repercussions of losing the House of Representatives in 2006 and we may lose voices of moderation in the Senate like Elizabeth Dole from North Carolina and Norm Coleman from Minnesota if Obama carries their respective states with sizable majorities.

How did the Republicans get to this position? The war in Iraq made the cake and the housing market collapse iced it. Is it all McCain’s fault? Obviously, he is not responsible for a Lehman Brothers debacle but, he is responsible for personal attack ads and some campaign missteps, such as his temporarily suspending his campaign to “rush back to Washington to help with the financial meltdown.”

His imprint is not on the rescue plan, so what was he thinking?

I am on an educators committee for McCain. Guess how many times we have met? None.

Have we been asked to write position papers on such issues as "No Child Left Behind?" No.

The McCain campaign’s enthusiasm and organization remind me of Dole’s in 1996, and we know where that led and it wasn’t to the White House.

One of the ironies of this election will be — given his choice of a VP candidate with very strong appeal to the base — should they go on to lose, the base will claim the head of the ticket. For example, McCain was not ”base” enough and the party could continue its non-appeal to independents.

That said, is Obama a slam dunk? Despite the polls, I think not.

Things change and opportunities may arise where McCain can demonstrate his obvious experience advantage and his legislative record. Obama has been a U.S. Senator for just four years and admits he has been campaigning for president for two of them. A more positive McCain may reverse the public’s view of him and make his experience a deal maker.

If Obama wins, at least I won’t be asked to defend his actions and policies as I have been the past eight years and let’s hope the fruits of his inexperience do not ripen into political and international disasters for our country. Another Jimmy Carter we do not need.

John W. Bedell is a Cal State Fullerton professor of sociology and chair of the Anthropology Department.

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