October 29, 2008

McCain’s Top 3 Mistakes

Posted in Outside Malaysia tagged at 12:00 pm by egalitaria

Today, Mr. Greg Schneiders who was Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications in the Carter White House – speechwriting and communication strategy – talked to us about branding and marketing of Presidential candidates. Some of the interesting things to note if you want to take over the country (hint, hint, Anwar Ibrahim.. or Najib Razak..):

“You want to allow people to be able to imagine you as President.”

This is what Obama did, and all three Presidential debates helped him. He was always at ease and cool, even when McCain was attacking him. In the first debate, McCain did not even look at him squarely in the eye. In terms of physique, McCain is old and bent (no fault of his, he is old of course and had severe injuries when a prisoner of war, so his arms can’t fold properly and neither can he do up his own tie), whilst Obama at 48 is energetic, tall and strapping, emanating new life in his very being. But all these aside, McCain could have very well rode on his own personality of stability and comfort, things that Americans actually love. Instead, he made 3 big boo-boos, according to Schneiders. These are:

  1. Sarah Palin: Palin, oh Palin. Instead of the capable Alaskan Governor she was known by, the campaign turned her into a bimbo who understood foreign policy from her window looking over to Russia, moose-shootin’, lass who allowed campaign money to be spent lavishly on her wardrobe. “Is she doing more harm than good” to McCain’s campaign is what everyone is asking in the final few days.
  2. Deciding to go back to DC to “help with the economic crisis” and almost missing the 1st Presidential Debate. Instead, Obama just acted cool about the whole thing, and used it to his advantage even. The President of the United States, he said, must be able to handle more than one thing at a time. Simultaneous task-juggling was what he could do, and millions of Americans across the country would have seen him doing so with not so much as a quiver in his voice.
  3. Joe the Plumber – When “Joe the Plumber” (he’s not even a plumber, really – just works in a plumbing company) was introduced in the Presidential Debate, it may have been relevant and even unique to introduce an actual person, but the Washington critics are saying he has oversimplified the economic situation. Further, he keeps on raising the issue of Joe even today. No sophistication of argument. Repeating it over the TV ads may be shooting himself in the foot.

Obama has a strong sense of self, confident and comfortable in his own skin, and everyone can see this plainly. To be a leader, it is said that you have to know yourself first, and know what you are after.

Americans have had Obama screened in their living rooms for so long that they can see this for themselves. Seven days to go, and McCain seems to be losing ground… (but you can never tell, things change quickly in the final days!)



  1. Erm..Sarah palin or Obama..which one better?

  2. Lochos Vestu said,

    Your analysis is so dead wrong. Fellow Malaysian, please investigate and study the developments of the 2008 US Presidential Election carefully. Your ignorance is shocking.

    All 3 points are dead wrong. In a nutshell, point 1, Palin is a clear counter to Obama. Palin is far more experienced and qualified than Obama, being a Governor, I repeat, Governor in her own right of the largest state in USA. A Governor is a head of state. What is Obama? His highest job is as a US Senator, and he hasn’t even warmed his seat yet before now eyeing the next highest job as US President! What absurdity is this! And what was his previous job before becoming a US Senator for the barely the last 3 years? Just a mere state assemblyman in Illinois! Even that is just a PART-TIME JOB, NOT A FULL-TIME JOB! What kind of madness is this to say Obama is qualified to be US President???!!!

    Point 2. McCain showed he was dedicated towards helping the country in its economic crisis. He showed he was willing to shelve self-interest (in this case, campaigning for himself to be US President) for the sake of the country, he was willing to put his country first before himself. In any other times, especially in Malaysia for which our politicians are lacking, we would be damn hell applauding such a selfless act, the willingness of a politician to concentrate on getting a crucial bailout package passed to help the economy and the citizens of a country. What the F*** did Obama do? He did nothing!!! He did nothing, and showed he couldn’t care less but more about campaigning for himself and dedicating his energy to serve himself instead of the people.

    Point 3. Dude, the guy works in a plumbing company, he’s a plumber, he’s not their secretary or something. Look it up for God’s sake and verify the info before posting such stupidity. Another stupid statement here is that you believe McCain brings up Joe the Plumber because he represents an “oversimplification of the economic situation”. Fellow Malaysian, please stop being this ignorant, and investigate properly before spewing such ignorant stupidity.

    The point why John McCain brings up Joe the Plumber is not because he is an “oversimplification of the economic situation”. It is because Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber, that when Joe makes a certain amount of money beyond a certain threshold, his tax rates are going to go up, so that, in Obama’s words, Obama “can spread the wealth” to others. The crux of the problem here is why should the govt be taking away the money you have earned from your hard work and give it to others who are making less than you? This is a form of communism and socialism! The current US stats is that the top 25% of US citizens in income are paying 67% of income taxes (Look it up). The question is whether this figure of 67% should continue to go up.

    What Joe the Plumber is concerned is why should he, when he has achieved his “American Dream” (meaning he has his own business and is financially comfortable), why should the Govt take his money and possibly give it to less deserving people? Why not have these people who are making less, work harder to achieve their own “American Dream” instead of receiving handouts from the Govt which gets this handouts by imposing higher taxes on people who have worked hard to achieve their wealth?

    In essence, many US citizens, and I think many people around the world, are suspicious of the idea of the “redistribution of wealth”. The best economic policies grow the economic pie, not reslice it! Communism and socialism have shown to have failed, and Obama’s economic ideas represent a variant of such failed economic ideologies. Imagine if Obama’s idea of “redistribution of wealth”was implemented in Malaysia? Would it be fair to the successful Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians (and genuinely successful Malaysian Malays) from the cities to see a larger share of their income taken away by the UMNO Govt to be re-distributed to the Malays living in the kampungs and hinterlands?

    The real lack of “sophistication of argument” is really your blog post.

    And “Carter White House”? WTF? Do you want to embarass yourself dude? Do you know how disastrous the Carter Presidency was for the US? It’s considered the worst, most ineffective and most effeminate of all US Presidencies in modern times. President Carter = US Version of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi !!!!

    McCain ’08!
    Hillary ’12!

  3. Lochos Vestu said,

    October 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Erm..Sarah palin or Obama..which one better?


    Sarah Palin, duh! She is way more qualified than the opportunistic phony and slick empty suit called Obama.

    McCain ‘08!
    Hillary ‘12!

  4. egalitaria said,

    Thanks Lochos for your comments, and please allow me to reply. First, I am stating the designation of the person who gave his opinions (whose comments I am also quoting above) because this is who he was. One cannot put to blame one person for the ineffectiveness of another entirely, can you? Also, I would question your use of the word effiminate cast in a negative light, unless this is precisely what you mean by the word.

    Why do you compare Obama with Palin, when we should be comparing Obama with McCain? Obama and McCain have neither had experience in an Executive position. Incidentally, I happen to agree with you that he is a bit more fluffy than he can afford to be. There should be more meat and flesh to the warm fuzzies that he is spouting. He has stadium presence, but much of the content could be beefed up further. One thing to note though, is that neither parties have hard and fast “manifestos” in the way we have them in Malaysia.

    Thank you for pointing out the fact the Joe is a plumber. I should have meant that he was not a licensed plumber, which is a fact. We can split hairs on this, but perhaps it would be a waste of time (like the Jln Alor-Kejora debate).

    Also, I detest very much your comparison of the idea of redistribution of wealth with the ethnic situation in Malaysia. First, I would not call redistribution of wealth as socialist. Think about it as tax cuts and subsidies, which are already happening in the States through college education, grants, loans etc.

    Second, it is the very argument against racial tinges that we in Malaysia should be promoting. If large Chinese and Indian companies are making big bucks, is it not fair that they should be giving a portion of their profits to their fellow Malaysians who are poorer off, regardless of their race?

    Further, should the large Malay companies that are making fat profits not be given high taxes to be given to this same constituency? Let’s not ugly the debate by putting in racial slurs. I for one would have no qualms at all having my income taxed to help Malay kampungs and hinterlands. It is less to do with (no, let me correct that, Nothing to do with) the race than it is to do with their socioeconomic situation.

    Do let me know your views and thanks for dropping by.


  5. Lochos Vestu said,

    “Think about it as tax cuts and subsidies, which are already happening in the States through college education, grants, loans etc.”

    The problem here is that in the US, 40% of the population are already NOT PAYING TAXES. So how is it that Obama can cut taxes for those that do not already pay taxes? He is going to give them a tax credit, meaning he is going to take money from other people’s income and give them to these 40%. Naturally, this is viewed to be very unfair by those who have earned their income through hard work and effort. Under Obama’s tax plan, families whose total annual income is above US$200,000 will take back slightly less than 50 cents for every dollar. US$200,000 for an annual family income is considered in the US to be in the middle-income bracket. Can you imagine having 50% of your annual income going to taxes in Malaysia?

    I have emphasize that sound economic policies grow the economic pie, not reslice it. Obama has no plans, nor the experience in managing economics. His intention is to merely redistribute wealth to achieve “economic justice and equality” as he sees it. Time and again, the idea of socialism and a “welfare state” which Obama’s economic policies will bring the USA to, has proven to be a disaster. The “welfare state” in France and Germany has crippled both nations economy because the associate economic policies are too inflexible to encourage growth of businesses and the growth of the economic pie for everyone.

    “I would not call redistribution of wealth as socialist”
    Then what will you call socialist then? Let me quote Karl Marx “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
    The flaw with Marx’s reasoning is that for those in need, are they deserving of help? The problem with redistributing wealth is that how do we know that to whom we provide these redistributed funds are worthy of receiving help? How do you know that maybe these people have not worked hard enough to achieve success? Why should the failures of others be subsidized by the success of others?

    Through taxation and government help to those in the lower brackets of income, some degree of redistribution of of wealth do occur in most countries. But Obama’s cornerstone policy is to further accelerate and further engage in such a redistribution. Higher taxes to support Obama’s wealth redistribution plans deter those who can afford to spend from spending to stimulate the economy. Higher taxes for the sake of wealth redistribution is a bad prescription for an economy in crisis.

    “large Malay companies that are making fat profits not be given high taxes to be given to this same constituency”
    You have to understand that any corporation is not stupid. When they receive higher taxes, they pass such taxes on to the consumers through higher prices of their products and possibly raising inflation.

    “Thank you for pointing out the fact the Joe is a plumber. I should have meant that he was not a licensed plumber, which is a fact. We can split hairs on this, but perhaps it would be a waste of time (like the Jln Alor-Kejora debate).”
    This should not even be worthy of pixels on your blog. Why care whether Joe was licensed or not, when you have Obama hanging out with the likes of racists like his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright or former US domestic terrorist bomber William Ayers?

    “Also, I detest very much your comparison of the idea of redistribution of wealth with the ethnic situation in Malaysia.”
    It was an example, an analogy. Let’s not be so “politically correct” that we fail to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Let’s be frank. Many Blacks would benefit from Obama’s policies of receiving tax credits because most of them are in the lower socio-economic classes. The majority population in Malaysia’s lower socio-economic classes are also Malay, perhaps by virtue of the large Malay population. The question here is, is this the correct decision to help them by giving them handouts? Just like what the UMNO govt has been trying to do for the last 50 years? Has it been helpful? No. It has put the Malays on crutches, as Dr M has attested. Giving handouts to people will not encourage them to work harder, it will make them “handicapped” and dependent on such handouts. It will encourage them to be lazy. They will abuse the “welfare state” and the handouts given to them. The handouts and redistribution Obama has in mind are not tuition coupons or college education, grants, loans as you mentioned (Note: Loans are not part of Obama’s redistribution plans). They are tax credits, plain and simple, writing these people who already don’t pay taxes a check with money.

    Ask any Malaysian if they are willing to have their taxes raised so that the UMNO govt can give out checks to people who don’t already pay taxes.

  6. Lochos Vestu said,

    “Why do you compare Obama with Palin, when we should be comparing Obama with McCain?”

    Because Obama himself is already not as qualified or less qualified than the VP candidate on the Republican ticket. Isn’t it absurd that the man who is the Presidential Candidate on the “Democratic” ticket is in fact less qualified than the other ticket’s VP?

    “Obama and McCain have neither had experience in an Executive position.”
    Irregardless, McCain through his life experience has shown great leadership, character and moral fortitude. With Obama however, it seems all degree of rationality and common sense in people just goes out the window. How is it that a war hero is losing to an empty suit politician who has not done a single thing for his country beats me. It seems perhaps that this election season in US, voters are going to choose show over substance. Obama is the consummate Hollywood candidate, very nice shiny packaging, but a stinking and empty content.

    Let me put this in perspective of how Obama pales in comparison to McCain: Obama has spent less years in the Senate (coming to 4 years, but you can discount the last 2 years because he has been spending that time running for President) than McCain has spent being tortured as a POW under the Vietnamese Communists (about 5 and 1/2 years). Isn’t that absurd how thin Obama’s life accomplishments are compared to Jon McCain? Do you want to begin even comparing McCain’s senate career to Obama? Obama cannot hold a candle to McCain. And Obama is the idiot who opposed America’s only chance at Universal Healthcare through Hillary Clinton, all for the sake of Obama’s political expediency. What a selfish a**hole!

  7. Lochos Vestu said,

    One last thing before I sign off, I just want every Malaysian to realize that Obama is not all that he is cracked up to be. Obama’s campaign and the fawning pro-Obama US media with the likes of CNN and MSNBC has successfully played up a favorable narrative and image of Obama that is altogether a delusion.

    He is not a trans-racial figure. See his 20 YEARS association with racist and hate-monger Jeremiah Wright (can you imagine an Ulama in Malaysia saying such things as Malaysian Chinese/Indians inventing the AIDS virus to kill Malaysian Malays) and his two self-absorbed/self-serving autobiographies where he stated he is ashamed of the 50% white part of him and how he desire to be Black so much.

    He is not a clean politician. Why don’t you find out how he won his first election as an Illinois state assemblyman? (Hint: He got the courts to disqualify all his opponents ala Lee Kuan Yew/Singapore style, so he can run unopposed). Next step: find out how he won his current seat as senator (Hint: Exposing more of his opponents dirty laundry, including something as personal as an opponent’s divorce proceedings. The opponent’s wife, who is relevant to this point, so happens to be Jeri Ryan who stars as the Borg character Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager).

    He is corrupt. Look up his dealings with Tony Rezko, his slumlord financier, and find out how Obama bought his mansion family home (ala Obama’s “Istana Zakaria”) in Chicago with the help this convicted felon.

    Obama has taken a lot of pork/federal funding for his pet projects/pet causes/contributors than McCain. McCain has taken ZERO pork-barrel funding.

  8. MiaoMiao said,

    It’s pretty hard to decide how fair should a policy be. It’s a trade off between letting the poor to wait for the rich group to expand the economy pie or having govt to reslice the pie, given any kind of resources is rare to achieve at both scenarios the same time.

    Also, taxing in 50% in the States is different from 50% income tax in Malaysia. Have we missed out on Purchasing Power of both countries, to even start comparing of what’s the best level to be taxed on?

    Nonetheless, I still have hope on redistribution of wealth, as long as it’s executed properly. I’m sure of those redistributed wealth, there are genuine poor group that benefited from it. Problem is, how do we seperate the geniune ones and the lazy ones?

  9. amoker said,

    Of Course Obama

  10. obama said,

    How I wish we have a Obama in Malaysia. But the Malaysian Obama would have been perpetually detained under ISA in Malaysia.

  11. obama said,

    But I want to add too that Obama’s view on tax is crap. I tend to agree with McCain on economic issue. I like Obama because it represents a new hope for everything rotten. Hope is still better than rotten administration.

  12. egalitaria said,

    Thanks for the comments. I will just address these points briefly:

    1. Experience – If it was about experience and number of years in office, Bush would best qualify. It’s just unfortunate that the US Law doesn’t allow more than two terms, otherwise you could have rooted for Bush perhaps. I have no doubt that Obama has less experience than McCain, but that’s precisely the thing about this Presidential race, my dear. It is so unusual and electrifying precisely because of its irony – You are right, if it was about logic, McCain should be winning the ticket pants down. He has all the right credentials. But that is just not cutting it with the American voter this time around.

    2. Media – Criticise MSNBC if you wish for being too left and Democrat leaning. In a way, this has to balance out the right, Republican, Fox News Channel. This is the result of free market media.

    Thanks for the online sparring and if there is more to respond to, I shall do so later. Will be on the road for the next few days. Thanks and all the best! We will know the results on Tuesday night – good luck and may be the best man win.


  13. Lochos Vestu said,

    “otherwise you could have rooted for Bush perhaps. I have no doubt that Obama has less experience than McCain, but that’s precisely the thing about this Presidential race, my dear.”

    First off, I do not appreciate your condescension.

    Second, if you would like to continue to engage in the stupidity of equating McCain to Bush, the same lie and misinformation that Obama engages in, the you need to do better research, which you are so far lacking, into the political and historical relationship between McCain and Bush. See my comments to your latest blog post if you need a hint on where to start.

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