John McCain’s Message
Daniel Strauss sat through a session at the center-left New America Foundation yesterday and came away with an epiphany about John McCain’s campaign: “It’s what he’s saying, not how he says it.”
Jeremy Rosner observed,
A lot of people have noted he’s just very incoherently between the right and the center, between offshore drilling and $300 million prizes for new electric batteries. … He just hasn’t figured out a strategy for being a presidential candidate. My advice is that he needs to sort of place a clear bet on whether he’s trying to do another Karl Rove base consolidation strategy or whether he’s truly trying to gun for the middle and change the Republican party — he just hasn’t figured that out.
Michael Cohen added,
If I were to ask all of you here ‘What is Barack Obama’s key message for his campaign?’ most of you could probably could answer pretty quickly, I’m assuming you would say change. If I asked you all the same question about John McCain’s campaign message I’m seeing a lot of blank faces.
I’d say McCain’s bumper sticker message is “Elect a grown-up.” And I don’t think wanting to drill for more oil while simultaneously trying to end our need for it in the longer term is at all problematic; it’s essentially a right-of-center answer to Bill Clinton’s “third way.”
I do, however, agree with the overall assessment: McCain isn’t running a focused, message based campaign. “Change” and “Hope” continue to strike me as an incredibly weak platform on which to seek the presidency but there’s not much doubt that we could use some of both. McCain’s got an uphill fight if he wants to convince people to vote to keep the White House in Republican hands and trust the cranky, old guy rather than the exciting, young one. Continually showing us videos of himself in a POW camp won’t get it done.
via Hal Hildebrand