Has the McCain campaign considered that the time to change their ad strategy is NOW, and only because two weeks ago is no longer an option?
In the last month, McCain's favorability rating has dropped 6 points, from 56.4 to 50.1, and Obama's favorability has increased, from 55.3 to 57.4, according to the RCP polling average. The Obama-focused campaign is not working.
Now Election Politics 101 dictates that when you're down and your opponent is hovering at 50% in electoral polls, it's time to enlighten voters to the negative aspects of your opponent, commonly known as "negative" ads. The McCain camp followed this rule to a tee. And in this case, it did not work.
They can blame the media and say it's because the media has a double standard for the two campaigns, and they do. They can probably blame the failed negative ad strategy on other factors as well. But the bottom line is it has not worked, and it's time to change course.
Rather than set their sights on Obama's unfavorables, how about playing to their strengths? Remember the McCain bio videos -- those that recount his experience as a war hero, a man who suffered for the sake of his country and his country men and women? What happened to the Country First theme dominating the Convention?
And we never saw ads that tout McCain's independent, pragmatic record in the Senate.
No scramble necessary to concoct concepts, use McCain himself, at his best. There's a reason this guy was popular -- at times.
Perhaps there is concern about shirking the playbook and going back up with McCain-centered ads with 20 days left to play. Yet, the reasons for going positive at this point grossly outweigh any conceivable risk:
1) McCain may not win, but I'm sure he would prefer for it to be close rather than get trounced by a Senate newbie like Obama.
2) McCain may not win, but he doesn't want to be responsible for a Democratic filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and a Democratic deluge in the House.
3) McCain may not win, but he can go out on a positive note and preserve his pride and his image.
4) McCain may not win, but he's not winning anyway, and he has nothing to lose.
While McCain's chances of winning are slim and getting slimmer every day, his campaign owes it to themselves, their supporters, and the Republican Party ... and John McCain ... to go back to basics.