Campaigns/Elections

Wasn't James Garner the Original Maverick?

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A McCain ad touts the Arizona senator as "the original maverick":

Washington's broken. John McCain knows it. We're worse off than we were four years ago. Only McCain has taken on Big Tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He'll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper again. He's the original maverick.

By promising to fix Big Government while fighting Big Corporations, McCain clearly is trying to one-up, or at least match, Barack Obama's economic populism. But I fear this is the real McCain, a less squeaky version of Ross Perot. And what's up with "four years ago"? It's hard to believe that the crucial mistake, in McCain's view, was electing George W. Bush instead of John Kerry in 2004, as opposed to picking Bush instead of McCain as the Republican nominee in 2000.

Addendum: ABC's Jake Tapper notes that it's hard to argue the economy is worse now than it was four years ago, at the end of Bush's first term, yet not worse than it was eight years ago, at the end of Bill Clinton's second term:

Our unemployment rate is currently 5.7%. That's higher, worse, than it was four years ago—5.4%. But it's also worse than it was eight years ago: 4.1%.

Our inflation rate was 5.02% in June of this year.

That's worse than it was four years ago—in August 2004, the rate was 2.65%. But it's also worse than it was eight years ago. In August 2000, the inflation rate was 3.41%.

One thing that was "better" (depending on your perspective) in 2004 than it was in 2000: housing prices. Maybe that's what McCain has in mind.

[Thanks to Doug Riblet for the link.]

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  1. I can’t believe hes actually tied.

  2. Wasn’t James Garner the Original Maverick?

    Yes, but wouldn’t Tom Cruise be a much more appropriate “Maverick” analogy? But who is McCain’s Iceman?

    Tarantino talking about Top Gun here.

  3. National Corporation Corruption Defense Agency?

    I can just see all the “Make America Prosperous” legislation.

    Sign me up.

  4. Obama sez:

    “I’m not sure that what I was exposed to was all that different from what Bill Clinton was exposed to. He’s squarely a baby boomer. I’m sure that what I was exposed to was different from what John McCain was exposed to, because there’s a much bigger gap of years there. But you know, the truth is that my education was a pretty standard, liberal arts education. So I was exposed to thinkers on the left. At the same time, I was reading Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, and I was growing up when Ronald Reagan was ascendant. So the political culture of my formative years was much more conservative.

    It partly explains why, if you look at not just my politics, but also I think who I am as a person-in some ways, I’m pretty culturally conservative. I was always suspicious of dogma, and the excesses of the left and the right. One of my greatest criticisms of the Republican Party over the last 20 years is that it’s not particularly conservative. I can read conservatives from an earlier era-a George Will or a Peggy Noonan-and recognize wisdom, because it has much more to do with respect for tradition and the past and I think skepticism about being able to just take apart a society and put it back together. Because I do think that communities and nations and families aren’t subject to that kind of mechanical approach to change. But when I look at Tom DeLay or some of the commentators on Fox these days, there’s nothing particularly conservative about them.”

    Speaking of mavericky brass balls…

  5. And what’s up with “four years ago”?

    He’s trying to capture Reagan nostalgia.

    McCain is casting himself as the transcendent, post-partisan maverick for the people by identifying with a paleoconservative demigod.

  6. doom
    Dooom
    DOOOOM

  7. And what’s up with “four years ago”?

    He’s trying to capture Reagan nostalgia.

    He cares more about how words sound coming out of his mouth than what they actually mean or whether they make sense.

  8. Remind me again, when is this site going to endorse Barack Obama for president?

  9. Since when do mavericks have their lips firmly planted on the ass of the incumbent?

  10. When the incumbent is making their party hundreds of millions….

  11. I can’t believe hes actually tied.

    He’s not.

  12. Sam Maverick was the original maverick.

  13. Washington’s broken. John McCain knows it. We’re worse off than we were four years ago.

    If this is setting up a pivot to attack the hideously unpopular Dem Congress and make a play for “divided” (by party) government, then its sheer genius. Although it should say two years, rather than four.

    But I suspect its really just half-baked populism.

  14. The hideously unpopular Democratic Congress.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong2008.htm

  15. But who is McCain’s Iceman?

    Lieberman. They are superficial rivals on the same team who spend way too much time playfully insulting each other while wearing only wet towels.

  16. James Garner’s character, Bret Maverick, was one of four brothers (Bret, Bart, Beau, & Brent). Perhaps McCain was the lost fifth brother. He’s certainly a con artist like the other Mavericks.

  17. How is McCain going to battle Big Oil? By giving them the oil leases they’ve been asking for these many years?

    I will say though answering “I’ll have to ask my staff” to the question “how many homes do ou own” was pretty Mavericky…

  18. Sugarfree

    Thanks a lot for that image, because I haven’t winced enough today.

  19. I think it’s particularly mavericky of him to run an honorable campaign, and break with the pattern of insulting the Democratic candidate’s patriotism for political gain.

  20. Give him time, joe. It’s not even October yet.

  21. Apparently, October came early this year.

    BTW, can anyone tell me what this bizarre sport I’m watching is? It’s like soccer, on a floor, and you can carry the ball.

  22. Joe-

    Its called Handball. I had the same reaction at first, until I consulted google.

    It looks interesting, wonder why its not popular here?

  23. Field hockey indoor without sticks? Ball about the size of a cantaloupe? If so, handball.

  24. Only McCain has taken on Big Tobacco

    Oh, that’s rich.

  25. Ok, I can’t believe hes within the margin of error. Better, joe?

  26. Playing it with water balloons would make it a lot more entertaining.

  27. BDB,

    Handball? Isn’t that name already taken?

    I can believe it. Over the course of a months-long campaign, movement happens. I don’t think it’s surprising that there came a point when Obama’s lead got a little smaller; I think it’s surprising how little it has gone up and down.

  28. The hideously unpopular Democratic Congress.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong2008.htm

    Thanks, joe. Most of the polls reported there are irrelevant to the popularity of Congress, of course, but the ones that are relevant show a pretty unpopular COngress.

    The polls that ask about whether most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected show either absolute majorities or substantial pluralities saying “No, throw ’em out.”

    And of course, the polling on approval ratings, weak as it is, has shown Congress roughly tied-to-trailing Bush in approval for some time now.

    Seriously, I think McCain would do well to open a sideline of running against Congress, as a parallel to Obama’s theme of running against President Bush.

  29. I don’t think it’s surprising that there came a point when Obama’s lead got a little smaller; I think it’s surprising how little it has gone up and down.

    Yeah, I pretty much agree. I thought some time ago that Obama had pretty much tested the top of his market, given the unrelenting adulatory media coverage. For all practical purposes, this race looks statistically a lot like the last two – a dead heat.

    The trend, though, is not Obama’s friend. Even the “battleground”/electoral polling is evening out.

    Still, historically, its what happens after Labor Day that counts.

  30. The guy who is ahead after Labor Day in the polls always wins, ever since the invention of modern polling.

    Exception: Ronald Reagan

    If you think Bush stole the election in 2000, Gore is another exception.

  31. Er, ahead the first week after Labor Day.

  32. The guy who is ahead after Labor Day in the polls always wins, ever since the invention of modern polling.

    McCain is screwed then. Obama will have the benefit of his convention bump and McCain won’t have his yet.

  33. But he does have the 9/11 bump.

  34. One of my friends asked me, if McCain is the original Maverick, who his Goose is…

    …I laughed.

  35. fix Big Government while fighting Big Corporations

    Big government has police, SWAT teams, soldiers, and assassins. Big business has unarmed rent-a-cops.

    Big government can send police to break into my home, arrest me, beat me for resisting, imprison me, and execute me. Big business sends me a subscription renewal notice.

    Big government gets its money from the unwilling through forced extortion of taxes. Big business gets its money by offering goods and services people willingly pay for.

  36. I was watching handball the other day. it really does seem pretty neat.

  37. If you plan to vote for BHO- you may want to watch this first…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65I0HNvTDH4&feature=related

  38. Seriously…McCain is about as much a maverick as Nixon was…

  39. Obama brought up McCain’s seven homes, now McCain is going to have a Rezko ad. They’re going to DEFCON 2 and its AUGUST!

  40. Sam Maverick was indeed the original maverick. The original use of the term as a political label, however, was in reference to Sam’s grandson, Maury Maverick, a former Texas congressman and Mayor of San Antonio. Maury Maverick entered the House of Representatives shortly before John Sidney “Home?boy” McCain III was conceived.

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