Monday, October 6, 2008

Debating Ed Rollins Advice to McCain

Mike Huckabee's former campaign chairman Ed Rollins published this piece giving advice to John McCain on CNN today (Commentary: Time for John McCain to turn up the heat).

Even though I am a liberal I have respect for Rollins.  He is very smart and clear-headed (too bad for McCain he didn't hire Rollins as his Campaign Manager!).

Though I'm not complaining...  ;-)

BUT, i do have 3 points to debate Rollins on.

#1, the 90's argument:
Electing President Obama would eliminate important checks and balances on liberal Democratic power in Washington and that could be a disaster. It was a disaster when Bush and the Republicans controlled it all. It was a disaster when Clinton and the Democrats controlled it all.
Claiming the Democratic Congress & President in the 90's was a disaster needs backing up: most people remember the '90s as a period of American success!  Also, remember, Republicans took over Congress in the mid-'90's,

#2, the "Change is only a brand" argument:
According to the latest Gallup polling, 87 percent of the country thinks the economic picture is getting worse -- another record. The Republican brand is as damaged as at any time since the Watergate scandal 35 years ago. The country is facing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression nearly eight decades ago.
Rollins continues to argue,
What [Obama's] campaign has done is create a "brand" that represents change. But voters don't know what that means.
Rollins criticizes the Change theme of the Democrats as merely a "brand," but at the same time laments the GOP's damaged "brand."   The two arguments cancel each other out. 

Furthermore, citing the Gallup Poll above, voters indeed have a good idea what Change means: in this case the definition is a negative one, "Change" means essentially "whatever the Republicans ARE NOT."

#3, the "We don't know him" argument:
...we have seen thousands of pictures and heard hundreds of speeches and watched in amazement as his team has put together a brilliant campaign that beat back the Democratic establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. But we still don't know him.
Really?  Isn't it a bit late to make that argument?

After thousands of speeches and 2 personal books how can we NOT know who Barack Obama is?  He's been out there showing us who he is for over a year straight now.  If we don't know him by now we haven't been listening....

.... and that leads to the major problem John McCain and the GOP have this year: a large portion of public has decided they *do* know who Barack Obama is, and that he is everything he says he is.  

And that, "my friends," is the real reason John McCain is losing this election.  The voters have decided they *do* know who these two candidates are.  One represents the successful fiscal and foreign policies reminiscent of the flourishing 1990's, and the other represents the failed values and policies of the last 8.  Is it any wonder that John McCain is behind?  And as his campaign turns desperately to distractions and personal Swift-boat-style attacks, voters will only be reminded more of the negative politics of George Bush & Dick Cheney.

If there is anything I agree with Rollins on, it is this:
From what I hear, the campaign's plans are to put John McCain back in the seat of his A-4 Skyhawk bomber and drop bomb after bomb on Obama to try to convince voters he is unfit to lead.

I think that formula will lead to failure, just as Hillary Clinton's strategy failed.

Personal attacks won't work this late in the campaign and may backfire on McCain

D. Tree

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