I think this may be the Obama campaign’s first attack on McCain since their guy became the presumptive Democratic nominee, and it’s a good one. Via e-mail from the Obama campaign:
During a press conference today in Louisiana, Senator McCain was asked why he twice voted against creating a commission to investigate the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. McCain responded, "I have supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy." However, Senator McCain has voted against such measures on multiple occasions. In response, Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan issued the following statement:
"Whether he simply wasn’t aware of his voting record again or he was intentionally misleading the people of Louisiana, John McCain certainly isn’t offering us ‘leadership you can believe in.’"
McCain Repeatedly Voted Against Establishing A Commission To Study The Response To Hurricane Katrina. In 2005 and 2006, McCain voted against proposals to establish a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local government response to Hurricane Katrina in U.S. Gulf Region. Both proposals were sponsored by Senator Clinton. [S. Amdt. 2716, Senate Vote 6, 2/2/06; S. Amdt. 1660, Senate Vote 229, 9/14/05]
Why is this significant? Because it simultaneously attacks the empty core of McCain’s brand, the phony Straight-Talking Maverick persona that the media helped him create. Instead of being an independent and honorable crusader who seeks truth & justice regardless of political affiliation, McCain covered Bush’s ass, and then lied about it. Obama busted him, and essentially said that John McCain cannot be trusted.
This is huge, because if Obama can take away McCain’s reputation for honesty and political independence (kind of an automatic two-fer when all his claims of independence are lies), all he has left is his temper, his desire to keep us in Iraq until the year Infinity Times A Kajillion, and his ginormous stable of lobbyists. His campaign depends on voters saying, "Well, I don’t really agree with anything he says, but I totally trust him." If Obama exposes him as a mendacious tool, those gut-feeling trust votes go away.
Better yet, McCain has already demonstrated a very thin skin when it comes to accusations that he’ll be Dubya Two. Remember what he said in his undead appearance in un-New Orleans:
You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country.
He sounds pretty nervous about that line of attack, doesn’t he? Again, tying McCain closely to Dubya destroys his claims of independence, plus it… ties McCain closely to Dubya. If Obama keeps at it, I think he’ll eventually be rewarded with McCain totally flipping his shit on national TV. Not to mention more and more voters asking themselves why they would want four more years of corruption, war, and economic instability.
I’d also like to see Obama demolish the myth that McCain is some kind of Serious Foreign Policy Expert. He should jump all over every al-Qaeda-is-helping-Iran moment. He should point out how ironic it is that for all the chest-thumping about how Obama never served in the military, never went to Iraq, never talked to Petraeus, McCain is the one who still doesn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni.
Kerry didn’t attack Dubya’s phony strengths head-on, and lost an election he should have won easily. It looks like Obama doesn’t plan to make the same mistake.