John McCain's So-Called Reboot

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.

Watch it:

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.

Tags: John McCain (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: John McCain's So-Called Reboot

perhaps a good strategy to run with starting at about the 6 week mark. But 3 weeks? When your negatives are pretty low? meh.

McCain has one more free shot at massive message control, during the debate. But who will we see. The "I'll whip his you-know-what" McCain, the "the gloves are going to come off" McCain?

Lurching is about right.

by notedgeways 2008-10-13 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's So-Called Reboot
Who can figure this guy. I am a VietNam era veteran and I respect him for his service but I don't have any respect for him politically. He was fortunate enough to marry Cindy who was very rich which has compensated him some materially for his 5 years as a POW. But he never has really been out front in the Senate when it comes to other people who are disadvantaged.
But the last straw for me was in 2000 when the Bush people put out the big lie on him that he had fathered a negro child out of wedlock--he and Cindy had adopted a child. I was shocked when McCain showed no pride. I thought he should have:
  1. Disavowed his Senate Seat as a Republican
  2. Turned himself over to the Democrats and run for a Senate seat as such. Had he been in Congress since 2000 as a Democrat he could have blocked the Bush Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito--the two most conservative justices in history.
  3. He does not like many politicians have to bow and scrape to the party--his wife is so rich that he can do anything he wants -- its like being self insured.
But with all that going for him, he whimps out to the BUSHIES. He even helped Bush in 2004. What a pile of crap. Bush blew the guy away with his pack of lies (like he lies to everyone) and yet McCain supported him.
THE REASON THIS IS SO BAD MCCAIN: Had he converted to being a Democrat in 2000 like he should have, McCain would most likely have run in 2004 for President and WON as a Democrat.  
by hddun2008 2008-10-13 10:22AM | 0 recs
His corner told him

Nothing left but a knock-out punch...

Problem is, in the 12th round, and you're tired, and your opponent is essentially a counter-puncher who is not likely to set up in the middle of the ring and let you wail away?

Plus, I believe with the prime time TV buy, AxelRod is sitting on HIS October surprise: Some major announcements, cabinet ideas, SOMETHING that will blow the newscylces for McCain.

That is what this is, an attempt to grab the media?

I think it's BOTH too soon and too late, as I believe Axelrod has a plan to abolutely dominate the last two weeks of the coverage.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-13 09:34AM | 0 recs
Axelrod had a history of saving up endorsements...

...during the primaries and pulling them out when he needed them.

I wonder if he has a few of those in his back pocket right now, though I can't imagine who they'd be beyond Powell.

by Bush Bites 2008-10-13 10:02AM | 0 recs
Kristol's hilarious.

Last week, he was chatting with Palin to pump up the Rev. Wright stuff and now he's saying "Don't go negative."

You can tell this clown was Dan Quayle's chief of staff, can't you?

by Bush Bites 2008-10-13 09:36AM | 0 recs
Nate at 538 nails it

Nate's got an analysis of this strategy up on 538. This is the key for me:


What the McCain campaign really, really doesn't want is for this move to be portrayed as desperate stunt. McCain has already developed a reputation for being a bit erratic under pressure -- the ABC/Post poll now shows that a 48-45 plurality of voters trust Obama to handle an "unexpected major crisis" -- and Bill Burton and Robert Gibbs must be foaming at the mouth waiting to spin something like this.

The only way for McCain to do that is for him to convince the media that he already had the momentum. The campaign will probably try and claim the moral highground, perhaps contrasting McCain's repudiation of the woman who called Obama an "Arab" on Friday against John Lewis's comments from Saturday. They will suggest that McCain found his voice, and made the "maverick" move of telling off the Beltway Republicans who were urging him to go for blood. They will suggest that the reboot is a continuation of this strategy, and that -- as the Zogby poll so obviously attests to! -- voters were already responding favorably to McCain's new tone.

The problem is that Gallup trumped him. If Gallup had shown any tightening they could spin it this way, but with Gallup and ABC/WaPo both at +10 it won't work. This doesn't work if it just looks like a desperation move from a candidate who's well behind -- and that means perception, not reality.

I imagine there was a LOT of groaning when Gallup came out today. They've got one more shot tomorrow -- if the polls tighten they could try to spin this Wednesday morning ahead of the debate. Otherwise it's a no go.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-10-13 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Nate at 538 nails it

I think Gallup today was huge.   If it had tightened and only showed Obama ahead by 5 or 6, it would have given McCain a lot of ammunition going into the debate.   At this point, it looks like the dip was mearly statistical noise over the weekend.
Gallup has now had Obama at or above 50% for 10 days now.   During that same time McCain was at or below 43%.  
Additionally, even their Likely voting scenarios keeps Obama above 50%, and shoots him up to 53% when ignoring past voting habits.

I went and voted last Friday and stood in line for just over an hour.   There was a huge number of young Black voters, many of whom I would guess were not likely voters from the past.   I saw many actually asking for the instruction sheet on how to use the Diebold machines, which have been around for years.

by gavoter 2008-10-13 09:51AM | 0 recs
So you let out the rabid dogs

Someone calls you on it, and AFTER everyone says it's sick demented move, you want applause for TRYING tp reel them in?

Sheesh, talk about low expectations.

I know the media wants to make this a horse race and all, but between THIS and non-stop speculating on the Bradley effect, this is getting silly.

Obama's campaign is winning everywhere, McCain's boat is leaking like a sieve, and a speech is not going to change any of that.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-13 09:56AM | 0 recs
Sorry Wacko Jacko - all I see is

The Blue Screen of Death for you.

by activatedbybush 2008-10-13 09:58AM | 0 recs
Another day, another campaign direction

Is this how this guy's going to govern?

There's no reset button on the Presidency. Obama should point that out for him.

by iohs2008 2008-10-13 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: John McCain's So-Called Reboot

I didn't see one person of color in the room.

by bg108 2008-10-13 10:22AM | 0 recs
McCain: Warrior - Not Political Leader

Let's face it - McCain is a warrior; the third in a line of a dedicated and distinguished military family.  All of his instincts in tackling problems are based on military ideation.

Graduating 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy did not portend a brilliant military career, thus the jump to politics.  

His performance in Presidential elections is exhibit A in the case that effective political leadership requires a different skill set than warrior - and McCain is showing that he doesn't have it.

by TJ1 2008-10-13 10:26AM | 0 recs

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