Crossposted at OpinionTimes.com
The recently converted McCain supporters (once disaffected members of the Republican base) should be excited about the current McCain bump. But it will be all for naught if the McCain campaign doesn’t focus that energy on a strong effort to get like-minded voters to the polls. Just kiss it all goodbye without a grassroots effort which eclipses 2004. And Karl Rove (love him or hate him) isn’t running that show this time. Rick Davis is. He’s doing an excellent job with media response and has made some great decisions at the convention and with how to message the pick of Palin for VP. But his candidate is out there talking about setting up a commission to study the recent crisis among Wall Street firms as well as regulation of financial institutions. But he should be troubled that the ground game is only now forming with just a few weeks to go, and the McCain is once again drawing upon ideas which serve only to depress the base.Consider:
Palin is awesome and has the troops fired up. This is a great advantage if utilized properly, but that advantage will fade quickly if the energy that brought her to the table is not consistent in the messaging. Talk of government regulation of the financial markets is not consistent with the newly engaged base.
Though messaging in the McCain camp has been right on target over the last 2-3 month, its been just a bit too cocky lately. What is needed now is a bit of vision casting about where McCain will take the country forward from here. Ignore the Obama attacks and give a Reaganesque vision for the future.
With things going so sell of late, it’s very easy to sleep secure rather than fretting over how the vote will arrive at the polls. And and the McCain campaign should be fretting. Unless the grassroots effort is able to outperform a well organized and financed grassroots effort by the Obama campaign, the game is over. The McCain people should have newly energized activist up anxious every night and working like crazy during the day until victory is secured.
There is a very short time to build a grassroots machine that didn’t exist earlier in the year. It’s almost an insurmountable task. Emails from the McCain campaign seem to indicate they are aware of this, but there is no indication on the ground the base knows how to hook into the effort.
It’s a formula for disaster to ignore the grassroots effort. And it is hubris to think the base is organized and set to drive votes to the polls. With John McCain recently going back to the “McCain/Feingold-speak” of reform through government regulation, the energy could evaporate quickly. And there’s a rumor that McCain will support the “Gang of 10”–or whatever the number is now–energy plan. If he votes for that specious legislation, it will be a disaster. Increase the call for more drilling. Work the floor of the Senate to hold the line until drilling opens up. He also needs to rally the base with a sound, forward-looking vision for fiscal responsibility and lower taxes while denouncing liberal calls for higher corporate taxes.
The concern Rick Davis should have right now is that Republicans are awfully excited feeling that they have this thing in the bag after the convention. He needs to develop a sense of urgency that after bad news on Wall Street and the increasing support for a sham energy bill the recent bounce for McCain could all fade away .
Oh! Maybe that is already beginning to happen?