Sure, he talks about the issues politely, but the policies he advocates aren't compromises that the middle 40% can agree on, they're liberal/progressive ideals that the other side will bitterly oppose no matter how nicely he presents them.
Obama hasn't been inspiring on the "return to civility" front anyway. Sure, he's a nice guy. But he hasn't inspired niceness in his supporters. They've actually been trying to beat the worst of the Republicans in a race to the bottom. A race they won by outdoing themselves in attacks on Gov. Palin. That's made the race even more bitter, and created more grudges.
My liberal friends, did you ever wonder how Bush's supporters felt when they saw the "Bush=Hitler" and "Murderer" signs? Well, you're going to find out. There's a lot of righties out there who watched the Angry Left for the last eight years and will be just as nasty on their turn.
A concerted effort to engage both sides might mitigate that . . . but the Democrats are pushing for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If they get it they can shut the opposition out of the policy conversation completely, leaving the right side of the aisle with no way to get their voice heard except on the street.
It's going to be ugly. I don't like it but that's how it looks to me. A big part of why I'm posting less is that I don't want to be part of that. I'm not part of either side and I don't want one side's mud getting stuck on me.
As for the policy side of things--I've read Obama's Blueprint for Change. Excluding the traditional bribes to key voting blocks, it's a list of ways to expand government power over people's personal lives. It even goes down to reinstituting the medieval corvee for high school students. Conscription begins at home, apparently.
The foreign policy sections have nothing new. It's a resumption of the Acceptable Level of Violence doctrine Clinton followed. As long as the Islamofascists don't kill too many people at once we'll leave them be. So they'll be free to resume the offensive at a time and place of their choosing, whenever they feel prepared. I'm hoping the recent progress in Iraq is enough for Obama to leave enough troops to hold things together until the Iraqis can stand completely on their own. If not, a second generation of Arabs will be taught that cooperating with the Americans is just signing your own death warrant, and heaven help us when we need to go back to stomp out the next outbreak.
So I haven't changed my mind on thought number one, and that's the deciding factor for me in the Presidential race.
There's a lot I don't like about John McCain. He has no respect for the First Amendment, he's too much in the "national greatness" school of big-government fans, and he only has a fair-weather liking of economic freedom. In a crisis he turns populist and we've been seeing that these past few weeks.
All that said, he understands that when people proclaim their desire to destroy our nation it's not safe to turn our back on them, or even to ease up the pressure until they admit they're beaten. McCain would do that. That's what I want the President to do. So I'll be voting for him.