July 31, 2008


Obama's best strategy? Attack: McCain's 'maverick' myth and ties to Bush should be prime targets. (Jonathan Chait, July 31, 2008, LA Times)

Here's the likely rationale: The public, by a wide margin, wants a Democrat to win the presidency. So all Obama has to do is make himself acceptable and he'll win. Hence the focus on building up his own credentials rather than tearing down McCain.

Perhaps that sounds familiar. Let me refresh your memory: it was the John Kerry campaign strategy in 2004. Four years ago, the conventional wisdom had it that a majority of the voters would reject President Bush, so winning was just a matter of Kerry proving himself as an alternative. People "are looking for some change," one pollster put it at the time, "but the change has to be acceptable. John Kerry has to prove he is acceptable."

So rather than attack Bush, Kerry focused on defining himself. The Democratic National Convention was a model of civility and positive focus. The Republican National Convention, on the other hand, was a full-throated assault on Kerry. I don't need to remind you how it all turned out. [...]

To go on the attack, Obama doesn't need to engage in character assassination and baseless charges, as his opponent has done. All he needs to do is stop letting McCain paint a wildly distorted self-portrait.

Except that it isn't a self-portrait but his public persona, thanks in no small part to folks like Mr. Chait who thought he made a good foil to W. Now the public knows who Maverick is and he has tremendous leeway to go negative. No one, on the other hand, has any idea who the Unicorn Rider is, so if he goes negative that is their perception of him. The comparison to John Kerry is precise. Democrats just keep nominating these liberal ciphers and the GOP just keeps eating their lunch.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 31, 2008 5:01 PM

The press has spent a decade building up McCain as the anti-Republican "Maverick", only to find that he's now taking aim at their newest infatuation, America's Sweetheart. Ah, the irony...

Just as funny is your buddy Perlstein's rant about how those Evil Republicans™ are calling forth Triumph of the WIll analogies when they dare show pictures of the The One's (pbuh) Victory Tour Berlin Rally.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 31, 2008 5:45 PM

"focus on building up his credentials..." With what? MSM's puffs can only go so far. Claiming the Banking Committee his committee? Claiming credits for welfare reform when he voted against it? When will he claim the surge his idea all along? Too bad for him, MSM are no longer the only game in town.

With the end of Bush presidency looming, people begin to reassess him, and conclude that the MSM have been lying.

Posted by: ic at July 31, 2008 8:17 PM
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