First, Republicans always — always — campaign by portraying the Democratic candidate as an out-of-touch elitist, while their guy is a man of the people. Al Gore grew up in a penthouse apartment! (In a shabby residence hotel, but never mind.) John Kerry windsurfs! Meanwhile, George Bush vacations at his ranch (bought as a prop for the 2000 campaign — and he doesn’t ride horses — but somehow that never got brought up.)
Protesting that the candidate is really a wonderful guy doesn’t work. Stupid as it may seem, counterattack is the only option. If the Gore campaign had gone after the fakeness of the Bush ranch, or the cronyism that made Bush rich, the world would be a different place today.
Second, the Obama campaign needed to turn things around fast. Yes, the polls still show a tight race with maybe a slight edge. But a narrative was starting to emerge, of McCain as the comeback kid and Obama as the man who couldn’t live up to his own hype. And those narratives can be deadly.
So, McCain said something that the Obama campaign may be able to use to turn things around. It’s not the way things should be; we really should be talking about health care plans (and I wish Obama would.) But right now, this week, making fun of McCain’s houses (but they’re not his, they’re his wife’s!) was the only option.
It seems to me completely fair-game. John McCain saying Obama is elitist is pot calling the kettle black. McCain should at least be expected to be asked about his wives many houses. The fact that Republicans have always painted themselves as everymen should be an insult to the intelligence of the Ammerican people. McCain married a wealthy beer heiress, give me a break.