Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Country First" Is a Slogan for Two White Guys

From Politico's Playbook for October 26th: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), top McCain adviser, on why he would have preferred Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for V.P.: "I was pushing Joe because it would transcend politics as we know it -- two people who put country ahead of party."

Hmm, interesting. That "Country First" campaign slogan, which is so awkward for the McCain/Palin campaign, makes a bit more sense for a McCain/Lieberman ticket. Instead of sounding like some arbitrary nationalist slogan, "Country First" would imply that McCain/Lieberman were transcending the boundaries of political parties to do what's best for the USA.

"Country First" would have been a positive, rather than a negative theme, emphasizing new political approaches and shared sacrifices to improve our common standing. A McCain/Lieberman "Country First" campaign would have emphasized the sacrifices needed to "win the war" in Iraq. By placing the good of the country over party affiliations, McCain would also distance himself from his own party affiliation to President Bush.

If this speculation is true, something odd must have happened on the way to the VP selection. Maybe the pressure of flagging polls forced McCain to pick a VP who appealed more to his base, and they decided to keep the slogan anyway. But with Palin's appeal to traditionalists, the slogan has more of a nationalist, than a reformist, ring.