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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

What Worries Democrats

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John McCain is the one Republican who can go anywhere in the country and always be met with respect:

Later this spring, McCain will embark on a two-week tour of places where, his advisers say, few Republicans ever campaign, including Alabama‘s Black Belt, where African Americans in the state are concentrated; Appalachia; and New Orleans. Davis said the goal is to send a message that McCain is appealing for votes from all types of Americans in all regions.

As Dean Barnett agrued yesterday, the left’s attempts to attack the Arizona senator blow up in their hands, because McCain is a fixed entity in the public’s mind that will be near impossible to distort:

You don’t have to parse a John McCain speech to figure out where he stands. Heck, you don’t even have to listen to McCain’s speeches to know where he stands. From campaign finance to immigration to the Bush tax cuts to the Iraq War, McCain has been a man of action rather than words. Such men develop records and reputations. They become known quantities.

Barnett contrasted this fixed quality with the shape-shifting of the likely Democratic nominee:

On the other end of the spectrum stands Barack Obama. Obama lacks a biography that tells you where he stands. He also has taken no defining or even noteworthy political action in his short time in public life.

And that’s where the speeches come in. Obama’s campaign is one purely of words. Verbiage matters for the Obama campaign, more than it has for any presidential campaign in memory. Verbiage matters for Obama in a way it couldn’t possibly matter for McCain. The only way Obama can tell the country of his plans and of his basic nature is through speeches and other campaign set pieces. When Obama said “words matter” to rebut one of Hillary Clinton’s attacks, he had it right. For his campaign, nothing matters more.

It’s therefore understandable that Obama partisans would prefer the presidential race to hinge on the candidates’ words and even on their words’ provenance. That’s Obama’s home court. Obama is a remarkable speaker, and a gifted writer. McCain is neither.

But McCain is a man of action, one who has a 40 year history of being a man of action. And even in politics, actions speak louder than words.


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