09/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Those McCain Houses... Why They Don't Matter

The problem with John McCain and his houses is not that he has them or doesn't know how many he has. It's that most Americans aspire to be so lucky, to have his wealth.

So to belabor the point that McCain doesn't know how many houses he has - while it's witty and of the moment now - shows a misunderstanding of 'the psychology' of how many Americans think. Americans want to be rich, they want to be so fortunate that they don't know how many houses they have.

A good example of the gap between how Democrats think and the reality of our culture is this exchange from "The Larry King Live" show, between King, Bobby Jindal and Bill Richardson:

KING: And John McCain answered, governor, does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from a vacation on a private beach in Hawaii, bought his own million dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon, really want to get into a debate about houses? How do you respond, Governor Jindal, to all of that?

JINDAL: // I think what they really care about is how do they keep their own homes, how do they pay their mortgages, how they afford gas? What I think the candidates should be talking about is how do we get energy independence. I prefer Senator McCain's approach, with more domestic production, more nuclear, clean coal, conservation. Senator Obama has said he wants to raise taxes on gas on coal, on natural gas. He doesn't want more domestic production. He's against nuclear power for America.//

// KING: Do you think this house thing, Governor Richardson, has any traction?

RICHARDSON: It remains to be seen. I mean Senator McCain should know how many homes he has.

Richardson doesn't have a good comeback for Jindal, and Jindal is able to frame the issue in a way that makes McCain look good and Obama disconnected from the issues that people really care about.

So what might Richardson have said? Well, my problem with McCain, if I were to make the argument, is that he doesn"t think about people like me.

And, here's a clip you've probably seen a few times, confusing key details about Iran: it hints at a certain laziness of mind. This kind of modus operandi from an influential person creates friction abroad because it says - I do not care. Even though I have access to a lot of information, I do not care to get the facts correct. I do not need to get the facts correct. And, it massages a feeling in all of us that we don't have to get the facts right. By setting this standard he conveys to us that none of us really need to know the facts. That maybe most of the time is good enough.

While it's arguable that a leader who comes up short, who has a flaw like this one, could surround himself with better men and women, wouldn't you rather someone who started out with better stuff to begin with?

Dems can capitalize on this. Because they seem to understand complication, nuance, and detail, they could play that strength. They could show that the other way of being in the world is dangerous. They could show how a simple-minded leader creates more chaos and how this type of person makes us less safe. They could show we need a leader to take us through chaos, not create more of it.

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