Convention Time

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

It is finally here. The conventions mark the beginning of the "real" general election. The campaign finance rules change and the feel of the campaign shifts. For those interested in Team Obama the time during and right after the convention should be an indicator of where they plan to take the general. The convention serves as a symbolic turning point allowing the campaign to shift gears are make a transition to something new without it looking like desperation. McCain too has several questions surrounding him that the immediate post convention tone will answer. Here is what i think we should look for:

1. Obama on Offense.

John McCain has made a lot of mistakes during the course of the campaign. Most of these stem from the fact that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win, including deception. These deceptions make it tough for McCain to maintain a consistent and plausible identity. It has cost him his brand and has begun to sour the press on him, if only a little. Obama has so far been pretty light on the attack refusing to get into a real fight with McCain. The McCain Moment where he forgot how many houses he owns gave a glimpse of how they can attack. Now they just need to keep on the attack.

I suspect that Biden will play a big part in this. He is known as someone willing to bring the lumber when needed and Obama may have been waiting till he had his VP to lay into McCain. Biden's wit should prove a welcome addition.

Look also for other prominent Dems to start laying into McCain. The Obma camp has been very concerned about control over everything and this appears to have lessened the role for other Dems to go out an hammer McCain. All the messages seem to come from Obama himself. I think he could use the help and a coordinated offensive needs to come from multiple angles, surrogates help with that.

2. What will the Clintons do?

McCain has made a point of appealing to the possibly disaffected Clinton voters. He hopes to undercut both the enthusiasm and support of Dems behind Obama. These types of attacks may seem stupid or transparent to most voters but to those they are aimed at they might resonate. Bitter people looking for reinforcement of their views may not realize the game McCain is playing. This is why both Bill and Hillary Clinton's roles will be crucial.

They both need to get out there and tell everyone at every opportunity how great Obama is. They need to make it clear that not only should voters choose Obama because he is better than a Republican but because they personally admire him, support him. They cannot leave room for doubt. I would advocate cutting a couple of commercials imploring the former Clinton voters to back Obama and not to vote for McCain out of spite. they could go a long way towards clearing up the idea of lingering resentment.

3. McCain out of the gutter and into the sewage.

I fully expect McCain to throw every nasty idea he can think of at Obama. I would not be at all surprised to hear the McCain cut an ad with a southern white woman accusing Obama of being soft on rapists. McCain has already made attacks on Obama's patriotism and distorted his position on a number of issues. I doubt any topic is going to be off limits to McCain. The question is now, "how far will he fall?"

4. Where is the soul of the GOP

The McCain VP pick will tell us a great deal about the internal struggles and politics of the GOP. If McCain picks Romney it will signal that the well has pretty much run dry. Romney is not a particularly strong candidate for either the VP position or the presidency. His selection reveals that there is no one else available who can sieze the initiative for the next run at the presidency. Romney proved how lackluster he was during the primary. The Romney pick is also bad because he does not match up well at all with Biden.

Romney has no foreign policy experience. Biden has a lot. Romney is not a good debater, Biden is. Romney is not consistent on hardly any issues and cannot give credible explanations why he witched positions. Biden's most obvious change is on the war and he has already apologized and explained that vote.

5. Media Coverage

The other thing to watch is how the media covers the general election. Will they start to actually cover McCain based on the reality and not the constructed myth? It is not very likely given the cognitive dissonance that they are performing right now. They jump through hoop after hoop to explain away McCain's behavior. They give him every benefit of the doubt. Hopefully though his over use of the POW status will cause a backlash or eye role among the press turning his biggest asset against him. Without the press McCain is nothing.

It is probably too much to hope for that they treat the election like it is supposed to be about issues so i would not even bother wasting your time searching for that.


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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