Nothing to Lose

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.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)


Good Idea

There was a time when McCain was the most popular politician in the country and there was a reason for it. Since the primary, he could have played to the base or returned to his usual self. Unfortunately he chose the former.

The only problem with highlighting his independent streak is that it included voting against the tax cuts and the immigration bill, which his party considered amnesty. I dont think he will alienate them, Palin will keep them around, but he has let Obama define him and he needs to define himself.

Maybe Americans actually want Bill Ayres' socialism

An astonishing post at Politico: Ben Smith says he received the following from a GOP consultant regarding focus grouping a hard hitting attack ad:

Reagan Dems and Independents. Call them blue-collar plus. Slightly more Target than Walmart.

Yes, the spot worked. Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he's too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT...but they STILL don't give a f***. They said right out, "He won't do anything better than McCain" but they're STILL voting for Obama.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

I felt like I was taking crazy pills.  I sat on the other side of the glass and realized...this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy....

Maybe the problem is that people are actually want Bill Ayres' socialism.

Maybe they don't

McCain needs to get back to economic basics. Stop the bailouts. Stop the subsidies. Stop the pork barrel.

Fiscal conservatism might have been a good issue for the GOP this cycle if anyone had had the cojones to have actually run on it.