To build on a post I wrote yesterday, but was uploaded to the blog today, Jonathan Martin at the Politico picks up on a YouTube clip the Obama campaign drudged up (video in link) featuring John McCain offering no nonsense, basic solutions for conserving energy in a time where oil prices are set to remain high. You know, absurd and out of touch ideas like turning off the lights and reducing driving. No word on whether the Obama camp will be mailing reporters light-switch covers trumpeting the McCain energy plan. Anyway, Jonathan Martin takes the opportunity to make a glib and shallow observation.
McCain has given so many interviews over the years, in print and on TV, that the opportunities to find him in a contradiction or at least semi-contradiction are limitless. The oppo cup runneth over. Such is the downside of being the more experienced and accessible candidate.
The speech referenced took place in April, well before drill lust 2008 became the GOP political strategy du jour. While it might be true that more access might, but not necessarily (especially if you’re an experienced politician), lead to more gaffes, it’s definitely true that unabashed political opportunism also leads to embarrassing moments. You don’t hear McCain talking too much now about how oil prices are here to stay, even though it’s commonly accepted that offshore drilling will have almost negligible effects. This particular McCain moment has nothing to do with expanded access (it was at a press conference anyhow, not on the Straight Talk Express), and everything to do with McCain’s political opportunism.
I can also admit that Obama has been a bit of an opportunist of late himself, but then again, his entire message isn’t based on being a BS-crusading serial truth teller. People tend to forget that McCain was largely a party line Republican until he realized he could parlay his Maverickosityness into votes during the 2000 election.