Monday, September 29, 2008


This morning The Washington Post told us what Steve Schmidt of the McCain campaign says his side is going to do to regain the momentum:

Schmidt said the campaign will press two arguments as forcefully as possible in the coming days. One is that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief and that, in a time of two wars, "his policies will make the world more dangerous and America less secure." Second, he said, McCain will argue that, in a time of economic crisis, Obama will raise taxes and spending and "will make our economy worse."

I'm a little bit puzzled by this. Isn't this exactly what the McCain campaign has been doing? Isn't this precisely what isn't working, particularly according to post-debate polls?

But that's the way of the McCain campaign -- when a strategy doesn't seem to be working, or is criticized, the McCain team just sticks with it. Only when it becomes glaringly obvious that the strategy is a millstone does the campaign seem to change course.

Remember how Team McCain kept sending Sarah Palin out to repeat statements about her record ("I said thanks but no thanks") long after they were debunked? And remember McCain's insistence that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" was a reference to workers,? Nobody believed that, and yet the McCain campaign still has this ad, which startes with McCain saying "You, the American workers, are the best in the world" in heavy rotation on national television -- as if he can't bear to concede that his upbeat talk was a gaffe.

I think these may be signs of a stubbornness, a tendency to dig in heels, that pervades the McCain campaign.

It makes me think that McCain in the last two debates will probably be just as rude and contemptuous as he was in the first one, and will keep trying to argue that Obama "doesn't understand." Common sense suggests he'll change his talking points and his tone, but I'm not so sure. I think he may be too muleheaded to do that.

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