My friend and colleague, Patrick Ottenhoff, had an interesting analysis of Virginia back in June that could be on the money:
Major federal contractors set up shop in Northern Virginia and, in turn, subcontracted work to technology firms that hired accountants and lawyers. The young professionals who work at those firms in Tysons Corner, Reston and Ashburn are part of Obama’s core constituency. But the ideology and lifeblood of many of these firms is rooted in continued defense spending — one part of the Bush legacy that McCain would be sure to continue. In an election in which Republicans’ Iraq policy will hurt McCain in almost every state, his bullish foreign policy could actually help him in some quarters of Virginia.
Let's forgive Pat for missing the economic crisis and improvement in Iraq and focus on the basic economic point for a moment. When Barney Frank said that he would cut defense spending by 25%, both resonating with an image of Barack Obama and particular statements, an opportunity was created.
Significant defense cuts have the opportunity to creat massive economic dislocations for people and communities. And they know it. Just look at the terror in Northern Virginia over BRAC. John McCain's campaign figured this out. This is basic paycheck issue for a lot of hard-working people. Suddenly, Barack Obama's "radicalism" means something to real people. Let's look at some numbers.
The key thing to realize hereis that you can cut ads in these states and people will get it. Imagine scripts like these:
Barack Obama doesn't just endanger our national security wtih his untested ideas, he endangers [state]'s economic security. In [state], that means [jobs] jobs. And it just starts there. When you remove those jobs from [state] everyone suffers from even lower house prices to the damage done to small businesses.
These can be supplemented with statements by local politians who, inevitably, fell over themselves to talk about BRAC and the damage that removing even one office at one military base, or even civilian office, would do to the community.
This is an issue that, when tied with Joe the Plumber and whatever crazy ACORN or whatever else stuff pops over the weekend can resonate with John McCain's underlying message. These are real issues. Barack Obama is talking about "change", while John McCain is talking about what's in your pocket-book. That's something that people understand and that we need to nail the last 5 days of the campaign.