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And The McCain/Dole Analogies Continue

by @ 12:03 pm on July 21, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, John McCain, Politics

Today, Stephen Green picks up on a similarity that is starting to become blindingly obvious:

McCain is campaigning in… uh… does he even have a press bus anymore? Seriously, McCain ‘08 reminds me of Dole ‘96. Only I think Dole might have been younger. And less cranky. And got more media coverage.

And had a better shot of winning.

I’m beginning to see how this is all going to play out. McCain will pick some bright light of the GOP as his running mate — maybe Romney, but more likely someone like Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal — the conservative right will go in the tank for him, he’ll run a stunningly bad campaign and look like Uncle Fester next to Obama.

And then he’ll lose, handily.

Why does the GOP keep making the same mistakes over and over again ?

9 Responses to “And The McCain/Dole Analogies Continue”

  1. Ron says:

    I don’t think McCain is cranky like Bob Dole, the problem is that McCain is too nice. If you want to draw comparisons, the thing to say is that both campaigns are rather lethargic.

    Maybe the 1976 analogy might work — The Republican ticket (without a strong conservative) loses, only to pave the way for an energetic one four years later after the Democrats screw things up.

  2. Ron,

    Both campaigns lethargic ?

    Yea we’re in the summer doldrums now and even Obama-mania seems to have taken a rest but I will say to a person that the Democrats I talk to are far more excited about their candidate than any Republican I’ve talked to.

    The attitude among Republicans seems to be “this is the guy we’re stuck with so we may as well pretend to be happy.” Which is pretty much the attitude that GOP’ers had about Viagra Bob back in `96.

  3. tfr says:

    The choice of Viagra Bob was explained as “it was his turn” or “the party owed it to him”, or some such nonsense. So what’s the story with McCain?

  4. D.J. McGuire says:

    At this point in the 1996 campaign, Bill Clinton led Bob Dole by double digits.
    Rasmussen has the current election as a statistical tie.
    I don’t see 1996 redux, Doug (honestly, I’m not sure what I see right now).

  5. tfr,

    Arguably it was the same with McCain in 2008. That seems to be the only sane explanation for why the GOP would nominate a septuagenarian for President.

  6. DJ,

    The analogy to the `96 campaign lies in the fact that, like Dole/Kemp, the McCain campaign is lethargic and displays an incompetence in shaping their message that makes a campaign for 7th grade class President seem masterful by comparison.

    If this election is going to be as close as the polls are saying — and I don’t necessarily think that will be the case when the dust settles — then who has the better campaign operation is going to matter signficantly.

    Right now, McCain `08 is coming up very weak.

  7. Ron says:


    I agree with you about the shaping the message thing. It is the same thing that happened to Dole in 1996. But that is what I was referring to by “lethargy.” It’s like neither campaign really wanted to be that hard-hitting. In some ways, George H. W. Bush’s campaign of 1992 was a bit like that, too.

    That being said, I would say that McCain is actually a better campaigner than Bob Dole (though that’s not really hard, is it?). McCain is much better on his feet and does come off as much less of a grouch. Plus, with McCain, you do know where you stand. Dole always appeared never to remember the script that was put in front of him. Obama may find this kind of behavior to be his undoing.

  8. Sandy Cope says:

    It’s obvious- when you keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome- that’s the definition of insanity. I was a part of the “conservative right” and I will never vote for McCain. I have woken up and have seen the light, I will vote 3rd party in November. Barr or Baldwin.

  9. Ted says:

    Here’s the theme song when Sarah Palin makes her Veep center stage appearance at the Republican National Convention later this summer:

    Oh, and yes it IS gonna be Palin. McCain’s already got this new ad up which essentially announces Palin as his pick (without ever having to mention her name).

    It’s even got the McCain/Palin campaign slogan vs. Obama: “Don’t hope for new energy, vote for it.” –-

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