The McCain announcement, strange for its content and volume, that it was ending campaign operations in Michigan is just the latest misstep in a presidential campaign searching for a message which resonates with this state’s voters. As disappointing as the announcement was, it could hardly be called surprising.
Not surprising because McCain’s campaign has been missing opportunity after opportunity in Michigan from day one. Perhaps, the fact that it’s not surprising is the most surprising point — given Michigan has been fertile ground for McCain’s populist message in the past.
This last decision, however, surprising or not, is emblematic of a campaign that has been asleep at the switch. There could not be a better state in this union to demonstrate what Obama’s tax and spend policies will mean for a hurting economy than Michigan. By failing to make the linkage between Obama and an increasingly unpopular Granholm administration — an administration whose tax and spend policies have been the death-knell for economic recovery –McCain has missed out on a golden opportunity to show America that Obama’s prescription won’t work for the American economy.
Seemingly, McCain forgot Tip O’Neill’s oft-stated adage learned from his political mentors long ago — all politics is local. McCain could have and should have won Michigan this year. Yes, our economy is in terrible shape, but McCain’s inability or seeming unwillingness to reach out to the Reagan Democrats in Macomb County and to independents from Washtenaw to Ingham to Kalamazoo counties, with an economic message tailored to our particular problems, renders healing our economy a secondary issue and a lost electoral opportunity.
Adding insult to injury, the McCain campaign’s cavalier announcement of its decision to withdraw troops from Michigan is staggeringly stupid. First, when withdrawing troops from a war zone, do you announce it to the enemy? It’s simply incredible that the McCain campaign would be so brazen in its white flag moment — why not just send a personal note from Senator McCain to Senator Obama, stating “Michigan’s all yours?” Second, what a demoralizing moment for Michigan’s Republicans who have busted their tail for this campaign — only to be summarily dismissed by a campaign that apparently didn’t care. Should we have expected any more from a McCain campaign that didn’t get Michigan from the start? Should we have expected any more from a campaign that apparently didn’t pay any attention to how it is that Romney beat McCain so handily here just months ago — paraphrased from the Michigan primary voter,”it’s OUR economy, stupid.” In retrospect, probably not and that’s a shame.