John McCain's So-Called Reboot
by Todd Beeton, Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:18:22 AM EDT
John McCain pushed the "reset button" on his campaign today with a speech designed to portray himself as a quintessentially American fighter who has Obama "right where we want him." The speech focuses more on McCain and is notable for what it lacks -- any overt character attack on Obama, just as Bill Kristol advises in his column this morning:
The bad news, of course, is that right now Obama's approval/disapproval rating is better than McCain's. Indeed, Obama's is a bit higher than it was a month ago. That suggests the failure of the McCain campaign's attacks on Obama.
So drop them. [...]
...for whatever reason -- the public mood, campaign ineptness, McCain's alternation between hesitancy and harshness, which reflects the fact that he's uncomfortable in the attack role -- the other attacks on Obama just aren't working. There's no reason to think they're suddenly going to.
Certainly McCain seemed to prime us for such a reversal with his dramatic upbraiding of supporters at his rallies on Friday; in the wake of those events, McCain's taking a more positive tone, one that focused more on building himself up rather than than tearing Obama down, might have seemed both politically wise AND genuine. Sometimes the smart thing and the right thing are the same. But alas, the John McCain who seemed regretful at the turn his own campaign had taken was nowhere to be found yesterday in an interview in which he appeared to be more vocal than he's ever been on the topic of Obama's association with Ayers, using Sean Hannity's talking points and calling Obama, essentially, a liar.
In his column, Kristol strongly suggests that McCain fire his entire campaign, but more and more it appears that the problem is more the candidate than those surrounding him. I mean, time and time again, when his own campaign zigs, John McCain zags. We may even need to come up with a new word other than "erratic" as he seems to have worn that one out.