Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Tyrant Sun

I really don't see the point in the McCain campaign's strategic shift into ugly mode. It just paints Sen. McCain as an angry old man. At this point, when his campaign is pulling out of states like Michigan, going negative is a desperate attempt to pull Sen. Obama down without making the case for Sen. McCain himself. Plus, if Sen. McCain expects to rattle Sen. Obama in the remaining debates he's in for a surprise. Sen. Obama took on the Clinton machine, the smears and underhanded attacks on his character, the subtle use of race to instill fear, and the complaints of a biased media. He took those on and still won the primary.
This is another point where the establishment candidate tries a strategy that worked in the past but just slides off Sen. Obama. Again, Sen. Obama isn't running the typical campaign with a strategy based on making the opposition's ideology obsolete and the primary tactic of the rope-a-dope design to wear down opponents until they have nothing left. If Sen. McCain really believes that he can use the same attacks the Clintons did then clearly he hasn't paid attention for the last nine months of campaigning. Nearly every major media organization and dozens of Republican bloggers have dug into the senator's past and came up with nothing. The negative approach just hasn't worked.
What's more, while the McCain campaign throws more money into ad buys, the ground game Sen. Obama laid out during the summer will come to fruition. Personally, I don't know the reasons why Sen. Obama went in this direction, but he did decide to use his campaign's resources to go door to door and build a new base. I mean, when you have superstars like Jay-Z holding concerts for voter registration drives you know Sen. Obama has thought this out long in advance.
It's that ground game that will do more to nullify Sen. McCain's negative turn. Having Obama supporters going around, talking with people and explaining how and why the McCain ads are wrong is a strong defense. Moreover, the McCain campaign doesn't have the resources to counter such a ground game. To continue the use of football analogies, the McCain campaign relies on its quarterback to make the long passes while the Obama campaign constantly runs the ball, wearing down the defense and making the occasional short pass. It reminds me of the early 90s Dallas Cowboys who would have the opponent's defense exhausted by half-time.
The worse thing that can happen right now is Sen. McCain to go into a debate, trying to keep his contempt for Sen. Obama bottled up, and letting it loose. An unrestrained John McCain is a serious force, but I doubt if it will suddenly turn Sen. Obama into the angry black man the McCain campaign so desperately wants. Instead, I think you'll see a half-crazed Sen. McCain going up against an unnaturally calm Sen. Obama. Getting mad and showing it doesn't help support the argument that Sen. McCain has the right temperament for the presidency; it does just the opposite.
The whole strategic shift is short-sighted and true stupid. It means Sen. McCain is reacting to Sen. Obama, not the other way around. And a month before the election is not when you want to go on defense.