With just 10 days to go until election day, and McCain still trailing in every single poll, usually by a fairly bad margin, it is worth reminding ourselves once again how it was just about a month and a half ago that McCain-Palin was AHEAD, including one poll that had them up by 10 points. How did it all go so wrong? Its really not that hard to figure out.
Normally, a Presidential campaign involves two candidates that aren’t well liked. This year however, both parties managed to nominate candidates who, despite their obvious shortcomings on the issues, are well liked personally. This was the year to run a much more positive, upbeat campaign, and when you must run negative ads make them the ‘fun’ kind, like the ‘Celebrity’ ad that worked so well because it was lighthearted and true. The ultra-negative personal attacks on Obama didnt work, and in this environment it should’ve been obvious that they couldn’t possibly work. Thats poor campaign strategy #1.
On a less serious, but not unimportant, note, another mistake the McCain campaign made was with their signs. I was out the other day helping to put up McCain signs, and afterward just riding around seeing the various signs around the area. The McCain and Obama signs are pretty much the same color, a good solid color no doubt, but McCain had MUCH better. Instead of a solid blue, how about reflecting his Running Mate by making his sign half blue and half pink? The top part that says McCain should’ve been blue, as it was, but the bottom half that says Palin should’ve been pink. It would’ve stood out, and re-emphasised the best part of the ticket, his running mate. Just one more opportunity missed.
Back to policy. In this time of economic crisis, McCain blew his economic credentials by not only supporting the socialist Bailout that the American People hated, but he did it in a manner that also made him look a bit nuts. Its hard to imagine how he possibly could’ve handed that whole situation any worse, and it allowed Obama to simply sit back, do nothing, supply absolutely no leadership whatsoever, basicly ‘vote present’ one more time, and come out of the whole thing smelling like a rose despite the fact that he too supported the bailout. But this election is ALL ABOUT the economy, because of the crisis. McCain needed SO badly to come out with some kind of major economic proposal to reassure the voters that while yes, he made a terrible mistake supporting that bailout, if you vote for him he will do much better in the future. Sadly, his first decision was to instead IGNORE the economy altogether and focus on Ayres, the worst timing possible for that move. Then he finally wised up after seeing his defecit climb even higher, gee what do you know the people seem to actually want to hear about the economy during an economic crisis? No doubt the Mccain Campaign officials were shocked by this revelation 🙂 .
Having finally gotten the message however, do they make a major statement, announcing a one year suspension of the gas tax, the capital gains tax, all taxes on IRAs and 401ks, cool stuff like that? No sir, they make a couple super boring proposals that I can’t even remember right now and I’m paying WAY more attention to this race than the average person, Im guessing the average Joe Six Pack out there couldn’t tell you a single thing that McCain wants to do on the economy if elected. And why? Because what little he actually proposed isn’t even being promoted, instead he’s spending all his time going negative on Obama once again. At least its on the economy this time, but he’s making the incredible mistake of calling Obama’s proposal to cut taxes ‘socialism’. If you’re going to attack his tax plan, you attack him for his tax INCReASES, not his tax CUTS, that is just insane. Granted they are going after his ‘spread the wealth’ tax hike comments, and thats good, but instead of saying ‘Obama wont cut anybody’s taxes, he’s only going to raise taxes’ you still hear people making the insane argument that ‘Obama wants to cut taxes for 40% of Americans who dont pay any taxes, and thats socialism’. First, the idea that 40 percent of Americans dont pay taxes is insane, NO American doesn’t pay taxes, you couldnt escape them no matter how hard you tried. Granted many Americans dont pay FEDERAL INCOME taxes, but that isnt relevant, even if you dont pay federal income taxes you are still overtaxed in America and deserve a tax cut. Instead of saying ‘we agree every American needs a tax cut, and we will cut every American’s taxes, but Obama will raise taxes on all Americans to pay for his massive spending plans’, an argument that would be, you know, SANE, they instead attack the very idea of cutting taxes for the lower 40% of America. FORTY PERCENT of the country, just look at that from a purely political perspective. How can anybody in their right minds WILFULLY INSULT 40 percent of the voters, by saying to them that they dont deserve a tax cut, and that if they’re given one that amounts to WELFARE?? Im not sure whether thats better or worse than calling them racists, as Murtha did, but in either case its absolutely horrible and nobody in their right mind should be doing it.
So for all the mistakes he’s made, McCain is no doubt still in this race with a chance. So how does he finish the campaign on an up-note, win the vast majority of the late deciders as Hillary always did, and win this election for the good of America? Well, they’re on the right track with this whole ‘Joe the Plumber’ campaign, they definitely need to stick with that theme, but BROADEN IT to include not just attacks on Obama’s plan, but actually saying HERE IS HOW MY PLAN WILL HELP JOE THE PLUMBER. It would be so easy to put an ad up saying that Obama wants to raise taxes on Joe the Plumber, but I want to cut his taxes by (fill in the amount here), good hard numbers to show concrete proof of how a McCain administration would help folks like Joe. It is NOT, NOT, NOT enough just to attack Obama, you HAVE to show the folks how your plan will help them. This shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp, but for the McCain campaign it certainly is.
Another thing they have to do is give Sarah Palin more opportunities to rebut the savage attacks by the liberal media. No doubt if not for those attacks McCain would probably be ahead right now. They need to do a half hour TV buy like Obama is doing, giving those 30 minutes to Sarah, promoting her record in Alaska, and letting her speak for herself to explain to the American People why she is in fact the MOST qualified of the four Presidential and VP candidates, and that Obama is by far the least qualified. Such a 30 minute buy would no doubt get more viewers than Obama’s will, and be MUCH more beneficial to the McCain campaign than Obama’s buy will be to his own.
Finally, the McCain campaign has two major issues that they are on the side of the VAST majority of Americans, and Obama is on the other side, and they should be used in the final ten days. The first is obvious, Drilling and Energy Independence. This is an economic issue and its a national security issue, Drill Baby Drill, how did this issue get dropped from the McCain playbook? Its such a winner, McCain and the Republicans support getting our own oil here, Democrats do not. Its simple, its effective. The other issue is one that somehow Obama has gotten a free pass on the ENTIRE campaign, I honestly don’t understand how it happened or why. His support of drivers liscenses for illegal immigrants is SUCH a devastatingly bad position, he took it in a futile effort to get the hispanic vote in the primaries, and now that issue should be houding him every single day of the general election campaign. Instead its not being mentioned at all, except in some independent ad I saw a week or so back, that they ran in Ohio I think. That would explain why McCain is doing better in Ohio than most of the other swing states, and it needs to be in EVERY swing state, this is a HUGE HUGE loser for Obama, and if there are to be any more negative ads by the McCain campaign that is the one issue they should focus on.
So there you have it, a formula for victory, even with only 10 days to go its not too late. Lets get out there and win this thing!