Dear Senator McCain,
Hi there. I’m a supporter and donor to your campaign.
I want to win on November 4th. I presume you do as well. Let’s quickly recap where we’re at here on the night of October 2nd.
As you probably know by now, you’re losing this race. You lost the 1st Presidential debate and as I’m currently typing, you’re well on your way to losing the Vice Presidential debate. You’re not terribly behind in the polls, and the 2 debate losses so far haven’t been total defeats, but they were solid defeats. Let us be under no illusions about that, sir.You were losing prior to the GOP Convention, but only by a few points, so there was wisely no need to hit the panic button. You had an incredibly successful Vice Presidential pick, a fantastic GOP Convention, and you took the lead for the first time and held it for about a week to 10 days. Since then, the lead slipped away and you found yourself down by a few points. Now you’ve lost 2 debates and are losing by about 8 points. Not insurmountable by a long shot. But a problem that needs to be dealt with. You’ve been behind most of this race, so this appears to be a position you’re comfortable in. After all, leads come and go. You had one before, surely you’ll get one again, right?
May I humbly point out that it is now early October! Politically, now would be a really good time to consider hitting, what would surely be for you, a real-life “Panic” button. You might want to hit it with a sledgehammer. And you might want to consider hitting it NOW. And what would be this “Panic” button?
You might note that there’s an online dating service that is currently using a slogan of “It’s OK to look.” I have a slogan for you called “It’s OK to fight.” Really. It’s OK to fight, John. I know you crave bipartisanship and have sought to use your “Country First” theme to win and are committed to what you call an “honorable campaign”. It’s not working. At all. I don’t care if the media has been unfair, after years of you cultivating a good relationship with them. I don’t care if its unfair that moderates and independants have betrayed you, after years spent trying to establish yourself as a Maverick. The bottom line is that they have and absent a radical change in campaign strategy NOW, you will surely lose and possibly at a level that will make Bob Dole’s 1996 defeat seem mild, by contrast.
It’s OK to fight. Really. You see, it’s funny, the American people love their bipartisanship and hate see politicians fight all the time when they should be governing. Yet here’s where it gets odd, John. I’ll let you in on a dirty secret. During a Presidential General Election campaign, they EXPECT fighting. In fact, they WANT it. See, the American people have this strange desire to see SHARP DIFFERENCES be drawn between the 2 Presidential nominees. And because there’s only 2 real choices for President, they actually, well, expect a fight. It’s called competition. Without one, we effectively don’t have a democracy.
Sadly for all of us, most Americans right now are choosing or are very close to choosing Barack Obama to be our President. The American people have been fed a steady diet of Democratic talking points from the mainstream media. You’d be surprised how receptive many undecided voters would be to hearing a true opposing viewpoint, instead of one that tries to half-agree with them and acts scared all the time of being a Republican.
Looking back, what are the ONLY events in this race when you’ve actually been winning? Your selection of Sarah Palin, her partisan speech at the GOP Convention, and to a lesser extent, your semi-partisan speech as well. Everything before and after has sucked. You know it, and I know it. Everything before and after has been an abject unwillingness to fight and fight hard. Missed opportunity after missed opportunity on issues, mostly because they’d require SOME defense of the President and SOME severe criticism of Obama and the Democratic Party. Piling on by the mainstream media. Effort after effort to position yourself as a better “change agent” than Barack Obama, and failing miserably at it. Isn’t it funny how Barack Obama has no fear of being as negative as he wants to be and no fear of offending moderates in the process? And he gets away with it, too. Something to ponder…
So if partisanship is the only common denominator in your entire campaign where you’ve experienced anything resembling success, you may wish to consider returning to that in the next 2 debates. And on the campaign trail every single day until Election Day.
You can NOT peel off enough “change” voters to win, no matter how hard you try. Period. If voters truly want change more than anything else, their candidate is Obama. There’s little you can do to fool them otherwise. You’d be FAR stronger and better off in minimizing the number of folks who think “Change” is the #1 thing necessary. Your best bet is to persuade the undecided voters that you are a good choice and Obama is a bad choice.
Some defense of the President is going to be necessary. Some! SOME! I know this is anathema to you, as you’re terrified of being linked to the President, but you already are. Get over it. There are some positives to be found here. I’ll spell them out below. You don’t have to even say Bush’s name if you don’t want to. Just say “The President”. Obama has won the day on making Bush a central issue. So let’s face it squarely.
I know you still want to be that Maverick, so be one. But do it wisely.
Have you ever stopped to think why the word “Liberal” is so feared by Obama and Biden that they never use it themselves? Do you know WHY it’s STILL such a dirty word even in 2008, with Bush at 27% approval?
At it’s core, most sane Americans realise that “Liberal” is synonymous with “Irresponsible”. That is what Obama is. This is why he’s not beating you by 20 points yet!
You represent Responsible Change. Barack Obama represents Radical Change.
And dammit, there’s SOME things in the USA that do NOT need to change. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Build a separate webpage. Call it www.johnmccain.com/BetterChange or whatever.
Make it crystal clear on the areas you disagree with President Bush, but also show areas where you AGREE with the President. And don’t be afraid of this. The people need to know.
I’m sorry, but even if this requires a few sudden policy flip-flops, do it. You don’t have a choice, at this point.
We haven’t had an attack on American soil since 9/11. Barack Obama would put that in jeopardy. Obama wants to end domestic spying, radically change or repeal the Patriot Act, and wants full habeus for captured Al Qaeda. Joe Biden actually said tonight that Obama will end pre-emption as a strategy. Is that change we need?
We received checks in 2001 thanks to the Bush tax cuts. Obama thinks that was a mistake and would repeal that, effectively forcing us to return those checks. Is that change we can believe in?
Bush wants to drill for oil first and foremost, to bring energy independance to America. Obama thinks alternative fuels are more important. Is that change that will lower gas prices now and help your family?
We want to continue the surge and kill as much remaining Al Qaeda as possible, and Obama has been obsessed with forfeiting in Iraq from the beginning. Do we need that change?
Obama’s chief housing advisor helped oversee the destruction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and was more responsible for this mess than anything on Wall Street. Might it help to point this out? Is this change that protects the taxpayer?
President Bush has appointed outstanding jurists like John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and you would too. Barack Obama would appoint jurists like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, which oppose gun rights and believe that infanticide and partial birth abortion are Constitutional. Is that change that will help our families?
It might be nice to say something like “The Democratic Party hasn’t had a new idea in 40 years and a good idea in 60 years.” But that might be asking too much.
Consider linking Obama to the current do-nothing, failed Democratic majority in the House and Senate.
Define EXACTLY what liberalism is. Don’t let Obama get away with winning this election by default, and defining liberalism as “That’s mostly just me opposing George Bush’s wrong-headed policies.” Obama has used “George Bush” as a smokescreen to coverup and avoid defending his views. No, it’s a HELL of alot more than that. It’s a series of destructive agenda items that weaken our nation financially and morally.
One last thing, Senator. The best thing I can say about conservatism, in an period of widespread dissatisfaction of the status quo, is that it has never really be implemented.
We’ve never had any serious limits on abortion. We’ve never had a major tax cut that wasn’t later undermined by more spending or higher taxes. We’ve never had widespread drilling for oil. We’ve never had, until recently, an effort to push democracy and remove destructive dictatorships. We’ve never had vouchers. We’ve never had market-based health care reform. We’ve never given young people better alternatives to Social Security. Ever consider pushing for THOSE solutions and calling it “Responsible Change”?
Obama has opposed ALL of that. Vigorously. He HAS called for tired old, failed “solutions” that waste money and undermine our basic values, including gun rights, respect for life, and being truly tough on crime.
Again, you represent “Responsible Change”. Obama is “Radical Change”.
In closing, Senator. You can close the next debate by telling America that even if you don’t like President Bush, remember that on January 20th, he will be gone forever. As will Cheney and all the members of his Cabinet. They will be replaced by new people with new ideas. The only question left is who will fill those slots and what kind of change they will bring with them.
We’ve seen the people who have surrounded Obama most of his life and in this campaign. Is that the sort of change we need? Or would you rather have myself and Sarah Palin, who understand Middle America and will push for the needed changes America wants and leave alone what America has liked for not just the last 8 years, but since the beginning of our country.
I think that will win far more votes from the American people than, “Doggone it, Barack. There you go again talking about the past instead of keeping your eye on the future.” after Obama lays out a verbal beatdown of the last 8 years.
One of the millions of your supporters who have been banging their heads against the wall watching the last 2 debates and seeing the White House slip away from us everyday.