McCain Actually Has a Good Idea

>> Friday, August 8, 2008

Actually, not McCain per se -- but some one in his employ. This person is Taylor Griffin, a veteran of the Bush White House and Treasury Department, who serves McCain as a senior adviser. His idea is contained in a leaked memo, the "Economic Communications Plan", obtained by the Huffington Post. The core of this memo is that McCain should target the economy as an issue with a specific focus on families. This is actually a smart plan.

The entire memo is not available but a significant amount is discussed in the HuffPo article. There is a lot there that is unoriginal and weak including the painting of Obama as a “Job Killer”. It relies on very old standbys of the GOP painting the left as in bed with “trial lawyer” and wanting to “raise taxes”. One part though is very important to discuss. That is the targeting of women and lower income families regarding economic difficulty.

"People are tired of big corporations, lobbyist and special interests who they feel prosper at their expense," the memo reads. "People must understand that John McCain is not only thinking of their future, but their children's futures as well."

To do this, McCain's camp plans to utilize a number of tactics, including "family budget roundtables, grocery store visits," and "roundtable events heavily tilted towards women to discuss the pressures the economy is placing on family finances and how McCain's plan would help." The campaign also will work the fourth estate. As detailed in Taylor's memo, McCain will "provide compelling set of programming and surrogate activity to drive media interest," and "mobilize economists in target states supporting the McCain plan to engage the media in support of our plan."

So far Obama has shown no signs of any weakness among women and very little among lower class persons. Among Women Obama is leading 48 – 39 in the Gallup Daily Tracking for July 28 – Aug 3 and he was up 56 – 34 in a Research 2000 Poll for the end of July. One potential reason that Obama has not shown any weakness in this area is that McCain has failed to properly execute on the potential inherent in the strategy. Digby explains the potential,

I belong to a non-political website that includes women across the country from all economic strata, educational backgrounds and ages. Those who are working class and young as well as retirees are starting to talk, non-stop, about the economy, specifically prices. These aren't political people, as I said. Indeed, they don't even frame these discussions in political terms. They just comment on how hard it's getting for them to adequately feed their families, budgets are tight, they are cutting back. They ask for advice on how to make their dollars stretch and complain that they can't give their kids what they want. The pinch is very real.

McCain is smart to focus on that particular group, if that's what he's doing, because they are really looking for help. The fact that he's the last man on the planet to give it to them isn't relevant. If he's speaking to them and they feel they can trust him they may just vote for him. All they know is that they are having a hard time making ends meet and the details are probably less important than the idea that he knows they are hurting and promises to help.

Exactly. At this point, it looks like there is no significant amount of lingering resentment over Clinton’s defeat among her female base. That does not mean that it could not be built back up by an effective marketing plan. McCain has done a terrible job of executing his strategy. His message is not getting out. People saw him in a cheese aisle but could not possibly connect it to his economic plan because he does not promote any economic plan. He has been talking constantly on energy issues linked to national security. McCain has not effectively linked anything he will do to lowering prices and relieving the burden on families.

He has been totally off this message as his attacks following Obama’s trip abroad were too vague and character based. They were not connected to the economy in a solid way. McCain talked about off shore drilling but that plan was undercut because of the fight over the effectiveness of proper tire pressure. He lost that fight and made his plan look bad. In addition, the media is not carrying his water regarding his economic ideas. We should be seeing McCain on a Clintonesque listening tour in the homes of families to talk about the price issues. Simply focusing on “jobs” and “small businesses” is not going to be enough.

I may not be a political genius but if you going to attack Obama as being a celebrity shouldn’t you connect that back to his job? An attack on Obama for being abroad giving speeches to big crowds while American families suffer seems like it might have some punch. Get McCain in the Senate for once and have him introduce a bill to do something regarding food prices or the economy. McCain works for the American family while Obama is off having fun. McCain has no problem lying to people so he should have no problem attacking Obama like this or claiming his Economic Plan would help people.

Domestic Issues are generally Democratic issues but much of this campaign has been spent talking about Iraq and the “surge” or other matters of foreign policy in an attempt by Obama to bolster his credentials in this area. McCain has an opportunity to play the knight errant for those worried about the financial security of their family. He can play on their fear and scare them into voting for him. Of course, all of this assumes that McCain can get his act together.


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

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