A Ku Indeed!

Hey, Wait a Minute

Posted in Politics by Chris on November 2, 2008

Sullivan quotes from Reihan Salam’s endorsement of John McCain:

Is McCain, as the subhed has it, the “best man” to unite America? Well, I think he’d have to be. Let me stress that “uniting America” isn’t necessarily the highest priority of the next president — perhaps Barack Obama would not “unite with” about 35 percent of the country that is bitterly opposed to his agenda, and I think that’s fair enough. But McCain would, in my view, be forced to unite America because he became the standard-bearer of a minority faction in our politics. How could McCain govern without engaging in really radical outreach to Democrats and independents?

Oddly, Sullivan misses what is strange about the endorsement.

Salam’s argument seems to be something like this:

Obama has run a broad-based campaign that resonates with 65% of Americans. Thus, he has less reason politically to unite with the 35% who are opposed to him. McCain ran a very narrow campaign that has strong support from 35% of Americans only. Thus, due to his overly provincial and partisan approach, he’d be forced to unite with the other component to get things done.

Okay. So what he’s saying is: you need to be a partisan divider in order to be qualified to be, or thought to likely be, a uniter? And that people who run as uniters with broad appeal campaigns should been seen as Manchurian stealth provincial partisans who will wind up bitterly dividing the country? So if you want to unite America, vote for the guy/gal who is doing the least amount of work to talk to the most people.


I have no idea if Obama will unite the country. But that’s an odd line of reasoning.


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