Since candidate John McCain broke as the frontrunner in Florida there has been a never ending stream of conspiracy theories and negative excuses expaling how McCain pulled of such a rebound. As I crunch the numbers I see a very fascinating occurrence happening with the McCain campaign that is very positive and noteworthy. I list three areas.
The power of his message: Romney outspent McCain 8-to-1 in Florida and lost significantly. In fact, during most of the campaign McCain has been under-funded. With little money, McCain’s message was able to win both Republicans and Independents. Having a message that works on its merits is an astounding political advantage. Huckabee also enjoyed the ability to move voters with no money.
The power of his positions: As reported in the Walls Street Journal, intensive polling of Republican voters showed widespread positive and negatives for all the candidates. What stood out is that John McCain scored best on the most important issues; (1) best able to handle economy (2) best able to handle terrorism and (3) high marks on character. Republicans who did not vote for McCain still rated him high in these areas. McCain’s greatest strengths just happened to be where it mattered most. You can’t win a primary or a general election if you don’t win where it matters.
The power of Personability: During last year’s debates I noted that the two most relaxed candidates were Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Have we soon forgotten that voters still love a candidate for whom they can share a beer with? At times, Fred Thompson revealed great warmth and personability in the debates, but never consistent enough. The other candidates (who gave superb speeches last year) seemed to grow worse over time. Remember how George Bush stuttered and stumbled through his debates? Yet Bush’s projection of honesty and realness was undeniable. Barack Obama has succeeded in this area and his rise is one for the history books.
These are encouraging lessons to learn from. These lessons are positive answers amidst the wave of negative explanations. People cite media bias to explain McCain’s rise. Yet McCain suffered from a year long bad publicity wave when his key staff left and his fundraising dried up. The media kept referring to him as “Dead man walking”. People cite that McCain was buffeted by the shadowy Republican “establishment.” Some “establishment” they are if it left him woefully without money for most of the campaign season. My analysis is that something more positive and more subtle has been occurring during this election for McCain and Obama. It is worth paying attention to.