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Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

Why McCain's Attacks Will Likely Fail

A friend of mine emailed me yesterday, asking for my take on Mark Halperin's analysis: Things McCain Can Do to Try to Beat Obama That Clinton Cannot

In the past, I have not been impressed with Halperin's understanding of American politics. This time was no different.

Below is a slightly edited version of what I sent back, an annotated version of Halperin's original post.


1. Play the national security card without hesitation. [NOT MUCH OF A CARD IF IRAQ IS STILL A MESS]

2. Talk about the Iraq War without apologies or perceived contradiction. [DITTO]


4. Encourage interest groups, bloggers, and right-leaning media to explore Obama's past. [HE'S HANDLED IT WELL SO FAR]

5. Make an issue of Obama's acknowledged drug use. [YAWN]

6. Allow some supporters to risk being accused of using the race card when criticizing Obama. [ASK GEORGE "MACACA" ALLEN HOW SMART THAT IS]

7. Exploit Michelle Obama's mistakes and address her controversial remarks with unrestricted censure. [I HIGHLY DOUBT SHE WILL MAKE MANY MISTAKES]

8. Play dirty without alienating his party. [TRUE!]

9. Dismiss Obama's brief national tenure from his own lofty platform of decades in the Senate - there will be no ambiguity about who has more experience as conventionally defined. [ONLY MATTERS IF OBAMA DOES SOMETHING THAT SEEMS NAIVE, CLUMSY, IGNORANT, ET CETERA. CLINTON HAS LEARNED OBAMA GETS BETTER AS HE GOES ALONG, NOT WORSE]

10. Use his sterling war record to reinforce his image of patriotism and valor - and contrast it with his opponent's. [SEE IRAQ]

11. Emphasize Barack Hussein Obama's unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism. [SEE THIS]

12. Employ third party groups like the NRA to hit Obama on issues that might turn off general election voters. Perhaps an ad such as this will run in Ohio: "So, what do you really know about Barack Obama? Did you know he supports meeting with the head of terrorist states? Do you know he wants to get rid of your right to own a handgun? Do you know he is calling for the repeal of the law preventing gay marriage? Do you know he is for a trillion-dollar tax increase? What do you really know about Barack Obama?" [1. IT'S A LONG CAMPAIGN, HE'LL BE KNOWN 2. THESE TYPES OF APPEALS DID NOT WORK IN 2006 3. OBAMA IS PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO SWAT THIS AS THE OLD POLITICS]

13. Face an electorate less consumed with "change change change" (the main priority for Democratic voters) and keenly interested in "ready from day one" as an equally important ideal. [SEE #3 AND # 9 ABOVE]

14. Link biography (experience/courage) and leadership (straight talk) to a vision animated by detail - accentuating Obama's relative lack of specificity. [ACTUALLY OBAMA IS MUCH MORE SPECIFIC THAN MCCAIN ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES. MCCAIN IS ONLY SPECIFIC ON A NARROW RANGE OF ISSUES]

15. Give Obama his first real race against a credible Republican. (Clinton has always asserted that Obama would wilt before a fierce Republican assault.) [I'LL GIVE MARK THIS ONE]

16. Confront Obama with a united, focused campaign absent of second-guessing, which hits the same themes and message every day. [LET'S SEE IF MCCAIN IS ATTACKING OBAMA FOR "SELF-GLORY" A MONTH FROM NOW.]

Posted by Bill Scher on Feb 26, 2008 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Elections