John McCain visited Gee’s Bend, Alabama, yesterday, in order to take a ferry ride across the Alabama river. It was a nice, little photo-op on a key piece of local infrastructure. As a Republican National Committee spokesperson said, “The ferry he will be riding is very important to that community. It’s both a good and terrible symbol. It’s good that it now exists, but it’s terrible it took so long to build it.”
The message started to fall apart, however, when we learned that Gee’s Bend’s ferry was paid for by a congressional earmark. If McCain had his way, the “very important” ferry wouldn’t be there. Oops.
It’s a reminder that McCain’s presidential campaign staff is still a little sloppy. We got another example today when the senator visited Youngstown, Ohio.
Standing before a nearly shuttered factory pocked with broken windows, John McCain on Tuesday urged Americans to reject the “siren song of protectionism” and embrace a future of free trade.
He used his own recent political fortunes — a dramatic fade followed by an unexpected comeback to secure the Republican presidential nomination — to illustrate that depressed Rust Belt cities such as Youngstown can have bright futures.
“A person learns along the way that if you hold on — if you don’t quit no matter what the odds — sometimes life will surprise you,” McCain said.
Did the campaign not appreciate how jarring the juxtaposition would be? He’s talking about the benefits of existing trade policy in front of a factory that’s closing after the implementation of existing trade policy. He’s a multi-millionaire telling factory workers to “hold on” and wait for “surprises,” apparently not aware of the fact that those are the last five employees of a factory that had more than 100 employees a few years ago.