Republicans really are stuck with a turd with John McCain. They’re faced with a Democratic candidate who, the popular narrative suggests, is a master of style and presentation, while their man, John McCain, is a wheedling, stilted eyesore feeding off his opponent’s best lines. What to do?
First instincts kick in, and immediately it is concluded that they must turn it into a style vs. substance debate. Every yin must have a yang, no? It must be so. It needs to be so. Rightwingers tell themselves, this is what we want, what we need, what we will do. Initiate action.
Reverse and retreat, MY FRIENDS. Code Red: McCain is the style vs. Obama’s substance.
…in any contest between Obama and McCain, Obama is the substantive, policy-oriented candidate, while McCain is the one offering mostly pious bromides about victory, service and being American. If style often beats substance, Obama is in trouble because, as his supporters tirelessly remind us, Obama does have a substantive policy agenda (even if he doesnâ€™t spend as much time talking about it and a lot of his boosters donâ€™t care what it is) and McCainâ€™s entire campaign has been even more driven by biography and character than Obamaâ€™s.
Daniel Larison feels free to joke about Obama fearing McCain on style. The mis-match is indeed near farcical.