How would McCain, if elected, bring this country together?

In the spirit of this thread

Right now, McCain is on the ropes. It’s not a done deal for Barack, but it is an uphill climb for the GOP candidate. While some speculate that Obama might win it in a bigger fashion than some might have expected, I don’t know anyone (even Republicans) who are willing to acknowledge that, if McCain wins, it will be anything but a squeaker.

And let’s be honest, if he wins, it will be (barring some unexpected November surprise) for one reason: the attacks worked. McCain has not really been relying on policy nuances and elevated discussions of philosophical differences in governance over the last several weeks (or months, for that matter). He (either directly or through sanctioned campaign surrogates) has been calling Obama just about everything he can to strike fear in people: A Marxist/Socialist/Communist. A Black Radical. A Druggie. Corrupt. Unpatriotic. Elitist. Someone who associates with terrorists. Someone who doesn’t care about the troops. Someone who wants to teach sex-ed to 6 year olds. Essentially, someone who is more than just Liberal or Inexperienced, but fundamentally untrustworthy to lead this country.

And that’s not to mention the wide swaths of his followers, many of whom do not live in “Real” America in the first place.

So let’s say this classic last-minute Rove/Schmidt playbook gambit works. McCain wins (and not by much). For all this talk of being a “maverick” and of having a career of “reaching across the aisle”, he’ll be dealing with 49.99% of the population who will very likely be incensed by his victory and the way he achieved it.

How will he heal this rift–a rift that’s largely of his own exploiting? How will he get half the population to believe that, after all the mud-slinging and misrepresentations, he still cares about Obama’s voters and their interests and values? After mailers like this and TV ads like this, what exactly is his strategy to bridge the gap that this inflammatory rhetoric has created? And after such a slash-and-burn campaign, how is he going to get a Democratic congress to cooperate with anything he might propose?

And before we raise the head of False Equivalency, let’s be honest–this is not a question Obama has to face if he wins. Obama’s campaign has centered around Hope and Change more than it has around Fear. Last night’s 30-minute infomercial didn’t mention McCain/Palin or their polilcies once (and only alluded to Bush without mentioning him explicitly either). What’s the worst that he and his surrogates have called his opponent? Erratic and out-of-touch? Bush 2.0 and More of the Same? Certainly the worst thing that comes to mind was the Guns/God/Bitter comment–which he only said once and now acknowledges was a mistake. To be assured, there will be a significant percent of the population (40+%) who will need convincing that he’s up for the job, but the bad blood that exists toward him will largely be about who they think he is or what they think he represents or what they’re afraid he might do in office, but not about what he did in his campaign.

If McCain wins, there may very well be large-scale protests and allegations of voter fraud. And there will almost certainly be bitterness and recriminations. Given the tenor of his campaign and the tactics he has used to win at the ballot box, how exactly is he going to bring this country (already riddled with crisis and anxiety) together? I assume anyone who’s voting for McCain would have the best ideas or theories (since they clearly see something in the guy that I don’t), so I’m most interested in their contribution here.

Bullcrap. I see nothing in Obama’s political history that shows me that on any substantial political measure he’ll be willing to compromise with my side. He’ll certainly be polite in his opposition, but that opposition will be all-out - and that won’t leave me feeling much united, nor my political brethren.

OTOH, everyone knows McCain is a jerk sometimes, but he’s a jerk you can do business with. And if you can cut a deal, you’re usually happier than you are when you’re left with a handshake and a speech.

The concepts “bringing the country together” and “tearing the country apart” don’t have much meaning to me. People have different opinions on which candidate they like, and any argument over these issues is just a proxy for that (i.e., no one would say they support a candidate despite their belief that as president he would “tear the country apart”).

Wow, that’s awfully open-minded of you, right out of the gates!

There are two tactics any president can use to bridge that divide: (1) Compromise and (2) the Power of Persuasion. There are some people who will only be satisfied with #1 and others who will be receptive to #2. I’m open to the idea that either Obama or McCain would do both.

But the Power of Persuasion tool is more effective when you’re an effective speaker and you have people willing to listen to you. I would argue that Obama has the advantage in both areas–primarily because any victory of his will be far less blemished by the spectre of a smear-ridden campaign. How effective will McCain be persuading Obama supporters that he cares about them, when he was perfectly comfortable painting the candidate they believed in as not just Wrong or Misguided but Dangerous and un-American?

Indeed, all the while he’s been critizing McCain for voting with Bush 90% of the time, he’s voted with his party 96% of the time (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000167/)

McCain has promised to invite the best and brightest from both parties into his cabinet for another thing.

In revolution.

The OP is working under a faulty premise. Why do you think McCain would care to reach across the aisle or placate 49.99% of the population? He says he will work across the aisle but he certainly does not need to beyond the almost certain expectation of a democratic Congress.

Bush won in 2000 with 48% of the vote and a smidge less votes even than his opponent. Yet Bush went on to govern as if he had a mandate and showed zero need to placate the majority (yes, majority) of Americans who did not vote for him.

2004 didn’t change the above assessment by much at all either.

So, McCain will likely do as he damn well pleases. Indeed that has been is modus operandi for much of his career and the source of his coveted, self applied, “Maverick” title. If what he wants to do happens to coincide with Dems then so be it. Mostly for the guy who crashed several planes it’ll be, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

I don’t make all that much of this promise either - I haven’t seen the best and the brightest become Cabinet members for the most part. Perhaps that’s true of State and Treasury, but the best and brightest don’t give up their plum jobs to become Secretary of the Interior.

Nothing against our historic and current Secretaries of that post, but it is what it is.

The answer : McCain wouldn’t even try to bring the country together, much less succeed. That’s not what the Republicans are about; they are about privilege, arrogance, hatred, exclusion. They are the chosen ones, you are not. They are real Americans, you are not. They are the correct race or gender, you are not. They follow the One True God, you are a monster who follows the Devil. They are patriots, you are traitors. You either submit to their every demand, or you are an enemy.

So has Obama. Promises promises - McCain wanted an independent VP but ended up going with a very conservative babe (according to some) because she would shore up his electoral base and hopefully peel off some disaffected Clinton voters.

Anyway, for all that, I think that if there were going to be a President McCain, a strongly Democratic Senate and House would be the ideal circumstance. He’d have to reach across the aisle and be moderate on many social and economic issues, judicial appointments and so on. His reputation suggests he could do that.

The irony of it is that he’s done a very poor job of communicating this message during the campaign even though I think it’s true, having put more energy into running to the right- not just in the primaries, but in the general! So I’m extrapolating a Presidency of Sen. McCain here, and not the guy we’ve been seeing over the last year and particularly the last few months. What would really happen is beyond me, particularly since he’d need to keep appealing to the right at least on some issues to keep Congressional Republicans and his base happy.

There is no problem in voting with the people that are right.

Voting with Bush is bad because Bush is the worst president in the history of presiding.

What does this statistic prove about a person’s ability to negotiate bipartisan solutions? As far as I can tell, nothing.

Obama has been criticizing McCain with this statistic in order to show that McCain’s policies differ little from Bush’s own — but it says nothing about whether McCain or Obama can work across the aisle.

Show me a stat that shows how many bipartisan bills each has authored and maybe we’ll have a stat that proves what you’re saying.

On the one hand you have the argument that McCain has a proven track record of “reaching across the aisle.” Fine.

However, we have had a blistering exposure to the differences between the two candidates as alluded in the OP and later. In order to get what he wants, McCain has fully adopted the policy of vilifying and demonizing his opponent, and while both sides have taken liberties with the truth, those coming from the McCain campaign are much more dramatic and inciting than Obama’s. Add to this the veritable propaganda war on the media, Palin’s past and her willingness to bandy about hostilities, etc., and there is a strong track record of intentional decision-making to follow in the same “uniter” footsteps of GWB.

Much as I hate to aid the McCain cause in any way I value the truth more.

Thank you. That is the proper statistic to use.

Now unfortunately, McCain has not lived up to his bipartisan reputation during this campaign. It’s difficult to say how he would reclaim that middle ground.

Of interest to this thread, I think, are the letters exchanged between McCain and Obama back in 2006 regarding bipartisan efforts for lobbying reform:

Obama withdrew because of party pressure. McCain wrote him a beautiful scathing and sarcastic reply, and Obama then played dumb…

http://obama.senate.gov/letter/060206-sen_obama_and_sen_mccain_exchange_letters_on_ethics_reform/

I think it’s the perfect example of McCain actually doing something bipartisan while Obama talked the talked, and then balked.

It’d definitely be an uphill battle; before you can start detailing a car, you have to wash the shit off it first.

How? Same way Bush did, by uniting us into near universal contempt and scorn.

Obama lays out specific reasons in his initial letter, explaining why he thought S. 2180 was a better approach than the one McCain was backing. Rather than come back with valid arguments explaining why Obama’s reasonsing was flawed, McCain decided to throw a tantrum into a letter.

Certainly not what I would call a “beautiful” reply.

S. 2180 was the Democrats partisan solution and had no Republican sponsors. McCain had already lined up Democrats, including Obama. Obama basically said. “I’m all for non-partisanship, as long as its done the way the Democrats want.” That’s not bipartisan.