Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Making The Case

Mark Steyn muses about John McCain’s debate performance:

Why couldn’t he have used the s-word – “socialism”? Why couldn’t he have said that his opponent is a perfectly pleasant fellow but he has an all but blank resume so all we have to go on is his votes and his associations and both suggest a doctrinaire liberal well to the left of, say, Bill Clinton? Why couldn’t he have pointed out that Barack Obama would be the most left-wing president ever elected in the United States?

He concludes that McCain lacks the “killer instinct,” but I don’t know if that is quite it. McCain, even his most ardent supporters would admit, is an emotion-driven, value-laden politician. (He thinks in terms of honor and bipartisanship, which are not ends or political goals but an attribute and a process, respectively.) With the exception of certain national security issues like Iraq, which entirely occupied his interest, he does not methodically gather data to reach a conclusion (as Mitt Romney evidenced) or marshal the evidence to make his case (as Rudy Giuliani did). He doesn’t explain step-by-step why voters should agree with him, perhaps because he doesn’t rely on a step-by-step thought process himself or maybe because he thinks his conclusions are self-evident. As a result, he doesn’t use debates to his full advantage and he handicaps himself as a salesman for his own positions.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.