Monday, October 13, 2008

The Comeback Codger

John McCain's search for a campaign narrative continues.

Next up - Rocky Balboa to Obama's Apollo Creed:

Three weeks before Election Day, John McCain on Monday is unveiling what his aides call a more forceful new stump speech in which he portrays himself as a scrappy fighter on the comeback trail against an opponent who’s already “measuring the drapes” in the Oval Office.

“The national media has written us off.,” McCain says in excerpts released by the campaign. “Sen. Obama is measuring the drapes and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.”
We've got them just where we want them?

Um... where is that, exactly, John? Standing on the back of your neck? Kicking your butt from coast to coast and back again? Forcing you to compete in southern states that every Republican candidate has been able to take for granted for 30 years? That's where you want Obama? Are you serious?

Allies are calling this “hitting the ‘reset’ button” on the campaign, with McCain re-emerging after a long Sunday strategy session with a feisty tack that uses candor and humor, at a time when his rallies have become known for raucous rage and clumsy attacks.
Hitting the reset button.

Twenty-two days from the election, and you're hitting the "reset button"? Is that change anybody can believe in?

The remarks reflect the graceful cadences of Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide and co-author, and suggest that the senator plans to fight without personally going viciously negative in the final days. He can leave that to the television advertisements.
Yes, Senator, I'm sure the base will love that. I am sure that will excite them every bit as much as "Who is the real Barack Obama?" They won't be upset at all to see the kinder, gentler McCain show up at Wednesday's debate, despite the fact that you explicitly promised them that you would go after Obama during that debate with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.

What I find most amazing is how long it is taking the "flailing" narrative to take hold in the campaign coverage. By any measure, the McCain campaign is in complete disarray. A different day, a different rationale for McCain's candidacy. Don't like the tone the campaign has adopted? Wait a minute, and it'll change.

If Barack Obama announced that he was "hitting the reset button" 22 days from the election, I have no doubt that the political press would be writing his candidacy's obituary. For some reason, McCain retains enough good will with the media that they are willing to take a wait-and-see attitude, even though the stench of death already permeates his campaign.

blog comments powered by Disqus