Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whyeth the Surpriseth?

Hmmmm -- so the New York Times is critical of the kind of campaign being run by John McCain.

From whence cometh the surpriseth? I toldeth you folketh that he was the antiChrist [well, antiChrist II behind that Bayh fellow].

I know that a few people got fooled during the 2000 campaign, because he rode in a bus with newspaper reporters. But jesus christ, he is and always has been a bullying, self-righteous, ignoble fuck. Who views the entire world based on his place in it.


Mister Parker said...

I think what actually surprises me about John McCain's current strategy -- ignore the economy, focus on Obama's character flaws -- is that to my mind, it's clearly a losing strategy. It's hard to argue "Hey, middle class, you can't trust Obama because he's not one of us," when you choose to ignore the one topic that the middle class is most interested in right now, the crisis of faith in the financial system. Presidents don't get to choose their crisis, their crisis chooses them and they are then evaluated on how well they deal with that crisis. By choosing to focus on Obama's character, McCain is saying "I'm not going to respond to this crisis, I'm just going to kibitz from the sideline while my opponent addresses the crisis," which is tantamount to saying, "when I'm president, I'll only repond to those crises which suit me." Not an effective strategy to my mind.

Now you can argue about whether Obama is reponding to the economic crisis in a meaningful way, but he is perceived as being in there pitching.

On a side note, I think I said when Jesse Helms died that we as a nation had buried the politics of overt race baiting with him. I was deluded. I humbly apologize.

Mister Parker said...

Or let me put it another way. Historically, character-based attacks work best when the undecided electorate is pre-disposed toward you to begin with and they need to be reminded why they want to vote for you and not take a chance on the other guy. But when the electorate is not pre-disposed toward you, then character-based attacks seem irrelevant and off-target. Which is why the Willie Horton ad was effective for Bush the Elder in 1988 but attacks on Bill Clinton's (lack of) character didn't work for the same politician in 1992. Circumstances had changed. In 1988, the economy was good, international tensions had decreased over the previous four years and Bush the Elder seemed like the safe bet. By 1992, the economy was in the tank, Bush was the increasingly unpopular, seemingly out-of-touch incumbent and personal attacks on Bill Clinton seemed like an evasion and a confession that Bush was out of ideas.

For McCain, this is a 1992 election cycle not a 1988 election cycle. He can fire up his base, but I don't think he can expand his appeal to undecided voters with a campaign by, say, linking Obama to 1960s radical, William Ayers.

Of course, I could be wrong ...

Mister Parker said...

And when I say "undecided" voters, I mean the genuine swing voters in the middle, say the 6-to-8 percent in the middle. In any given presidential election, a major party candidate is pretty much guaranteed 38% of the vote. They could nominate the Easter bunny -- or Barry Goldwater or George McGovern -- and still get 38% of the vote. Then of the remaining 24%, about two-thirds are, to varying degrees, predisposed toward one party or the other. Circumstances or a remarkably good (or bad) candidate can move them in one direction or the other, but by and large, all things being equal, they'll split equally in one direction or the other. That leaves 6%-to-8% in the middle who are up for grabs.

So I'm saying McCain can't move as many of that middle 8% into his column with character-based attacks as Obama can because circumstances have pre-disposed the up-for-grabs electorate against the incumbent party.

Well, anyway, maybe ...