McCain risks all on campaign gamble
Deaglán de Bréadún
Any sentient and half-decent human being who grew up during the era of Martin Luther King and the American civil rights movement would have to look kindly on the prospect of an African-American as President of the US. But John McCain is doing his best to ensure that doesn’t happen on this occasion.
As with the last big hurricane, he has the knack of behaving presidential the minute a crisis breaks. He broke off campaigning to rush to Washington to add his two-cents’ worth (no pun intended) to the deliberations on the financial crisis. It was a gamble and the outcome is still uncertain. Barack Obama also rowed-in, but McCain was out in front, at least in terms of media coverage; naturally the cameras were following almost his every move. At time of writing it is unclear if the Obama-McCain debate scheduled for tonight is still taking place.
On a more domestic level, it was startling to hear Ciarán Staunton from the Irish-American immigration lobby making a virtual endorsement of McCain on RTE radio. Traditionally, Irish-America has been at one with the Democrats so this was the political equivalent of seeing pigs fly (with or without lipstick!)
Judging from what Staunton had to say, the Obama camp has been pretty offhand with the Irish-American lobby. Hell hath no fury like a lobby spurned and, although Irish-America is nothing like as cohesive as Black America it nevertheless has a certain influence in the political apparatus and among political activists in the ‘States.
The unfortunate side-effect of a McCain victory is that it would be seen as an expression of inherent racism among the American electorate. We will have to endure much media coverage to that effect afterwards with TV cameras trawling around Southern towns and foraging out places where the Confederate flag is on display.
While there is undoubtedly a racist element among the US electorate, just as there is here, in Britain and on the Continent of Europe, I wonder if it will be a decisive factor. If McCain’s gamble comes off this week he could win the vote on experience, performance and a surer political touch.
It’s not his first gamble of the campaign. The choice of Sarah Palin as VP candidate was another. Although the liberal Left has persuaded itself that the Alaska Governor is flakey, if not scary, she has tremendous popular appeal.
Bush’s bailout for the financial system is clearly in trouble. Even the far-from-radical US populace is balking at what looks like a scheme whereby the taxpayer foots the bill for the irresponsibility and greed of the fatcats. Ironically it appears that the Republicans are the ones who are most hesitant about giving their support.
Exciting, if somewhat alarming times. We have our own Day of Reckoning here in Ireland on October 14th. Government sources confirm that it is going to be a very tough Budget. Fasten your seatbelts folks.