Why Barack Won?
Posted October 21, 2008 by Kamal Nawash
Warren Buffet recently said "I would rather be lucky than smart." As far as luck goes, Obama has been on the receiving end of unprecedented luck while McCain has been on the receiving end of the kind of luck that would make a grown man cry. I mean... when the economy reaches crisis mode within a few weeks of the presidential election and you (McCain) are aligned with the incumbent party... lady luck ain't smiling attchya.
However, the Obama phenomenon can't be explained with luck alone. Obama was doing well before news of the economic crisis--when the economy was just facing a slow down, lower home values and some foreclosures. When Bill Clinton won the presidency, he said "it's the economy stupid." In the case of Obama, "it is the economy and Iraq---stupid."
Recall that Obama gained credibility by opposing a war that turned into the most expensive military adventure in America history. It is no secret that most of the international community, including most of our allies, considered the Iraq war "unjustified." Unfortunately for McCain, as the war dragged on, more Americans became convinced that America entered the war under false pretenses and Americans began punishing republicans because of their unconditional support for the war.
Even more disastrous for Republicans is that until today Republican leaders, including McCain, have not conceded that the war was wrong and even more important is that McCain has not reassured Americans that the flawed thinking that led to the Iraq war would never happen again. Instead, McCain focused on the surge and the fact that his vision may have led to a more acceptable situation in Iraq. Without a doubt, thanks to McCain, the surge was a success but this did not impress Americans because Obama reminded them that the issue is not the surge, it is judgment and he had the judgment to oppose the war from the beginning. This is a powerful argument that McCain has not been able to answer to the satisfaction of most Americans.
Certainly, it would be difficult for McCain to admit that his support for the war was wrong. Fine... but then he needs to convince Americans that the thinking that led to the Iraq war would never happen under his presidency. He needs to further convince Americans that he believes in diplomacy above all else and not say anything that would even imply that he has aggressive intentions against any nation. It would be impossible for McCain to disassociate himself from President Bush unless he convinces Americans that he has no hostile intentions against any nation and that his focus is to strengthen America by growing the economy and saving people's jobs, homes and livelihood.
Without a doubt McCain's advisors would argue against such a change in McCain's rhetoric. However, it is not unheard of to change one's view on a major issue. Obama changed his view about drilling for oil when it became apparent that most Americans wanted drilling. McCain needs to also listen to the wishes of the majority of Americans, as he correctly did on the immigration issue, and understand that Americans question his judgment because of his strong support for invading Iraq. McCain needs to understand that Americans are angry about the war and apprehensive about their economic security. McCain's need to change people's perception of him has become even more urgent because an increasing number of Americans now believe that the current economic crisis is in part due to the cost of the Iraq war. It does not matter that this belief may be wrong because perception is reality.
It should be noted that I am not arguing that Iraq is a total failure. In fact, I believe that Iraq will bounce back and actually become a success story within a short period of time. Iraq has the people and resources to reinvent itself once security is established and all indicators are pointing to a success story in Iraq. The problem is that most Americans no longer care. All they know is that the Iraq war was wrong and that McCain was one of the main backers of the war. This is McCain's challenge.