The Biography Channel
09-03-2008
You may have noticed that other than a brief recap of Bush Administration initiatives by First Lady Laura Bush, there really wasn’t any talk about policy at last night’s session of the RNC convention. That was by design. More than any presidential candidate in recent memory (even George W. Bush) John McCain is campaigning for the highest office in the land largely on the strength of his character.
 
My guess is that you will only see McCain talk policy detail to the extent it is necessary to put some distance between him and the current administration, otherwise the focus will continue to be on those aspects of his biography which highlight the qualities McCain believes are essential to effective presidential leadership, individual traits like loyalty, integrity and perseverance. While Fred Thompson’s moving account of McCain’s well-known POW experience was a highlight of the evening, each of the speakers attempted to shed additional light on the candidate along these same lines.
 
In an election year where Republicans are experiencing low public approval, this is probably not a bad strategy for McCain to adopt. I have written on several occasions (you can click through the links here) about how voters actually weigh these kinds of personal characteristics quite heavily when deciding on a president. So, the campaign’s decision to put a biographical face on the proceedings is not surprising.  It is in large measure how McCain views the imperatives of the office, and, more importantly, how many voters assess presidential potential.


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