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megalongcat's avatar

Crazy McCain Theory.

Asked by megalongcat (598points) September 5th, 2008

Screw the search function. I don’t think this was posted before but I feel like getting this question out there anyway.

I was talking to a teacher the other day from an Electioneering class I took in the previous semester. (Funny name, eh?). And I met up with him and he blurted out the most awkward thing about McCain and why he’s been making all of these awkward choices:

“I think McCain is trying to lose this election in purpose”

I was like “Teach, you’re crazy”. But he went on to explain himself. Below is his reasoning:

McCain is an old, tired, and grumpy old man. A man who has never competed with an African American for anything and by now he is probably far to indifferent about the election to even care about his own choices or actions. If he wins, he knows that he’s too liberal for the right wingers in congress, and he will be forced to bend to the will of the left just to get any legislation passed. The effort is more than likely not worth it because anything that goes wrong during McCain’s Presidency will ultimately destroy the Republican Party’s base. However, if Obama wins, he can tackle all of these issues and if he acts according to his own rhetoric, Obama will give Republicans something to hate and they can build their base back up again. In Choosing Palin he sets himself up as a reformer, but he wanted to destroy his own strong conservative base at the same time.

Any thoughts? I’m not sure if I agree with what the teacher said, but I thought it was interesting enough to ask if anyone else thinks McCain is trying to lose on purpose.

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26 Answers

sarapnsc's avatar

I think you might want to try and find a teacher who is unbiased!!! That means TEACHING about all the opponents who are running for election, instead of just picking out one to criticize. I think their SO CALLED teaching is for their own SELF interest to get more votes for Obama.

megalongcat's avatar

My teacher isn’t biased. He wasn’t teaching me anything. He’s the kind of quirky guy who was just talking about something random. I thought I made that clear with how I set up the post.

Zaku's avatar

People, not to mention entire election campaigns, operate on many different levels, some of them not conscious. Seems like a possible story about one thing that might be going on, but that we aren’t likely to know. However it’s not “the truth”, which is never that simple, and not really knowable, especially with something so complex and remote.

sndfreQ's avatar

Teachers are entitled to their own opinion, as long as they’re not teaching their opinion as an objective fact in the classroom. megalongcat indicated that the context of the conversation was outside of class and from a teacher he had from previous semester.

I think in that context, the conversation was ethical, and as long as the teacher is not taking his opinion as fact in the classroom (which is illegal, especially in federally funded institutions), then he was perfectly fine for stating his opinion.

Aside from that, teachers (esp. in higher ed.) are protected by both the first amendment and by academic freedom to say whatever they want on their own time.

robmandu's avatar

Still, sounds like a theory completely out of left field. (Heh. See what I did there?)

Similar to Rush Limbaugh wants Obama to win because that would improve his radio show’s popularity and ratings. Or Al Franken wants McCain to win so he can get his radio show back (assuming his congressional bid falls through).

Schadenfreude (a.k.a. lulz) exists, but I’d discount it as a major strategic motivator in any given person’s life.

kevbo's avatar

I think McCain is meant to lose, but I think your teacher gives too much credit to individual motivations in this process. If McCain’s thinking is as your teacher has described, he would not have run in the first place, and he certainly would not have become this year’s “comeback kid.”

As I said, though, I think he is meant to lose and that comes either from the Republican establishment’s realization that they aren’t going to get it this time (so they throw up a disposable candidate) or more cynically there’s a man behind the curtain directing the players, which would mean that he’s going through with the charade knowing that he’s going to lose.

robmandu's avatar

@kevbo… would lurve to hear more conspiracy back story, should you feel like sharing.

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder if “teach” has ever worked on a political campaign? Only the most extreme masochist enters into a serious political campaign not caring if they win. I think McCain has endured enough torture for a lifetime, and he really doesn’t strike me as a person who loves it. I think he’s serious about the election, and is doing the best he can to win.

I only hope Obama can win, since a McCain presidency, in my opinion, would be economically and socially disastrous for this nation. He says he loves the nation, and maybe he believes it, but he sure has a funny way of showing it.

Sloane2024's avatar

Pssh… I kinda think your teacher might have been a touch sleep deprived when he spouted off this theory. I mean, think about all the money, time, and effort that has been invested into this campaign. It just makes no logical sense if he is intentionally trying to lose this election. Why would he have run in the first place??

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

That’s an interesting theory. One observation; Palin was chosen (probably by McCain’s advisors, not McCain himself), to bolster his support among right-wingers, not weaken it. The Religious Right in particular is all ga-ga-eyed over her; I think she was chosen to energize them, to come out in droves to vote like they did in ‘04. If he really wanted to market himself as a reformer, he should have taken a cue from Huckabee’s go-nowhere campaign and concluded that America is sick and tired of the Right. Instead, he’s sold out to them. Unite the party, polarize the country. I think it’s shameful, but it will probably wind up backfiring on him in November.

@Sloane2024, McCain was probably as surprised as anyone about his victories in the primaries, after the beating he took at the hands of the Neocons in 2000. If he did not expect to win, isn’t it possible – just possible, mind you, not probable – that he doesn’t want to win? Sometimes crazy theories are the most interesting ones to pursue.

marissa's avatar

On the topic of McCain theories and his reason for picking Palin, I’ve wondered if the other ‘big name’ Republicans that he might have chosen didn’t want the nomination. My reasoning on this is as follows.
1) I will be really surprised if the Republicans win this election, this has nothing to do with my opinion of the candidates and everything to do with probability. It is not likely that one party will hold the white house as long as the Republicans would, if McCain won. People tend to want a party change in the White House after this long.
2) If a politician wants to have a future chance of becoming President, they don’t want to be the VP pick on the ticket that lost (can we all say “Edwards”?), especially with McCain who has a perceived history of not following the ‘party line’ (why upset the base that you may one day want to support you in your own presidential run).
3) They don’t want to publicly turn down the VP offer, because they want to appear supportive of McCain (after all, he is the Republican candidate), so the best way around this is to privately let McCain know they aren’t interested, he picks a ‘nobody’ (I’m not saying Palin is nobody, I’m just using it to point out that she in not well known nationally), his pick keeps the conservative base happy, he keeps his ‘renegade’ image that has worked for him and the past.

blastfamy's avatar

I definitely have to say that in the age of internet and television ubiquity, there is not much of a thing as someone not known nationally. Anyone brought to the forefront in politics, as Palin has been, get immediate recognition to the point of celebrity almost overnight. This negates the idea that Palin is a nobody, only because nobody is a nobody when they can be googled.

marissa's avatar

@blastfamy, I understand your point, but I’m speaking of her in comparison to some of the better known candidates that have been more prominent prior to Palin being picked as McCain’s running mate

marinelife's avatar

I do not think your teacher is correct.

I heard an interesting insider story of the choosing of Sarah Palin. Apparently, Karl Rove wanted McCain to pick Mitt Romney. McCain was pissed off that Rove was still trying to drive the Republican bus and in a fit of pique said that Sarah Palin was going to be his VP nominee when she had not even been vetted by the RNC.

The RNC was then forced as revelation after revelation came out to say that, of course, Sarah Palin had been vetted, and none of these things were problems to them.

If this were true, it underscores for me how terrifying the idea of a guy with McCain’s temper and poor impulse control (untreated PTSD) in the White House running our country is.

kevbo's avatar

@rob, perhaps I’ll let DNC chair Terry McAuliffe explain…

Guess which word was muted?

Here’s the transcript:

megalongcat's avatar

I’d like to reiterate again that my teacher doesn’t have any political standpoint. To be honest, I don’t think he really cares. It was just a crazy interesting theory that I thought was amusingly worthwhile. He’s come up with just as crazy theories about Obama too. It was a hypothetical question/situation more than anything else.

marissa's avatar

@megalongcat, I’m willing to consider just about any theory, no matter how crazy it might sound at first, I remind myself all the time how crazy the theory that the world is round sounded when folks first heard it

megalongcat's avatar

It doesn’t really bother me if anyone considers it or not, but it’s that a lot of posts have been personal attacks on the person who came up with the hypothetical situation as if they were stating some sort of fact, and not just a fun crazy theory.

robmandu's avatar

@kevbo, not sure I see McAulliffe’s mouth actually moving for the “muted” word. The word is not in the transcript.

Also, this was supposedly live on with Blitzer. Yah, they can do the profanity-blocking 15 second delay thing, but still.

Also, who the flip uses a hand-held camcorder to record shows? I mean really, at least get a tripod. In any case with something so grainy, I could imagine it would be relatively trivial to add a few frames in there to make a “gap” in the dude’s speech… and then point to it as a word being “muted” out.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I would have to disagree with your prof. I don’t think you spend your entire life in politics, and run for president like 4 times, to throw it away when you’re finally nominated. I don’t know what the official republican strategy is, but I don’t think McCain personally wants to lose. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. He’s investing a lot of his own money, his time—it’s almost a year of the short time he has left (come on, he’s old), and his energy into something he didn’t want. And as much as I think Palin is a crazy bitch, I think it made perfect sense for him to chose her as a strategy to win, because he tends to attract the most liberal of republicans, and many independents, but he doesn’t have much cache with staunch conservatives. She does. She gets them salivating with her NRA bumper stickers and her vehement pro-life hockey mom crap, so they’ll all come out to the polls, if nothing else, just to support her.

While the theory may be “fun” I would emphasize the “crazy” part. It just doesn’t make sense.

kevbo's avatar

@rob, youtube pulled the video once already, and it’s alright by me if you suspend your disbelief.

How else would you upload a video if all you had was a VCR and a DVD player or even a proprietary DVR?

If we take your view, then what did that statement mean? What new world are we going to be taken into after Obama/Biden “take over this government” (to use his phrasing)?

The more I encounter “coincidence theorists” (for lack of a better term) the more I realize that it’s kind of like those optical illusions, such as the rabbit and the duck. If you only see the rabbit, you can’t see the duck.

For example, megalongcat’s professor sees the rabbit—that McCain’s personal motivations are dictating his behavior. I think that’s as reasonable a statement as anyone can make. I agree with his gut feeling about McCain being on the losing end of the election, but I see the duck as well as the rabbit, and I believe the duck also plays a role. I’m not claiming to be smarter than an academic who teaches on elections. I just have the benefit (read: curse) of a different perspective that there are motivations at play that are contrary many of our assumptions about who’s a good guy and who isn’t.

robmandu's avatar

@kevbo, it’s not that I don’t see the duck. For me, it just falls under the blade of Occam’s Razor.

I guess if I was as lickety-split with all the uploading as this YouTube guy, I’d probably invest the effort to setup something digitally uploadable (like a DVD-recorder)... but hey, that’s just me.

Anyway, wasn’t trying to knock it down… more to ask questions to understand the viewpoint better. I gotta work on that, b/c it comes across as argumentative.

kevbo's avatar

@rob, I don’t want to go on forever about this, but Occam’s Razor gets me to my conclusion as well.

gailcalled's avatar

Occam’s razor- swoon. (And schadenfreude as a lagniappe.) I’m ready for a verbal threesome, Mr. DeMilne.

galileogirl's avatar

I doubt if Senator McCain had much to do with the choice of Gov. Palin. I doubt very much if he has anything to do with his own campaign except showing up and giving speeches written without his input. John McCain disappeared four years ago after 67 years of existence….this guy, well he is unrecognizable. That is what happens when you sell your soul to the devil…or the neocons-the devils on earth.

allengreen's avatar

Galeil you are right on—I think McCain will get elected then tip over, so the crazy Right can get their own puppet in Palin.

Say President Palin, how does it make you feel?

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