Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

A Theory Behind the McCain “Celebrity” Ads

The main crux of these celebrity ads is to diminish Obama’s ability to draw crowds, make him seem like an empty suit, paint him as shallow, etc.

But here’s another thought: what if they’re running these heavily now in order to reduce the convention bump Obama will get? In other words, they want to implant into as many minds as possible the notion that Obama in front of big crowds = just a celebrity. It’s a way to pre-influence millions of people before they watch the big convention during which Obama will accept in front of 75,000 people.

Pre-spin, that’s my theory. Make any sense?


August 8, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Great analysis. At TPM you used the word lies to describe the McCain ad. I think Obama has to hit the fact that the Republicans are lying in their ads and go to the fact that the Republicans have lied in the past, are lying now, and cannot be trusted. Calling them what they are, with specifics using objective analyses on the tax plans etc, should be enough to open the eyes of at least some voters.

    Comment by Christina | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  2. He has to run the ads “challenging” their integrity. He needs to call them liars because they are.

    Comment by Christina | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  3. Good theory. Another interesting thing is that while he’s following the Rove playbook of attacking your opponent where he’s considered strongest, he’s also inverting it in a way by attacking where he (McCain) is weakest. Consider: which candidate has flip-flopped more? Which candidate is lightest on substance?

    Reminds me of when Al D’Amato used to attack his opponents’ ethics.

    Comment by gdh1 | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  4. I think your theory is exactly right in so far as predicting McCain’s response to our convention and especially Obama’s speech. I doubt that stopping the convention bounce is the principal motive for McCain’s strategy; rather, I think it’s the broader purpose of knocking down Obama’s public image. But he’ll use this strategy also to minimize any bounce.

    Obama is fucking up by failing to respond and retaliate, and it worries me. I hope and want to believe that the Obama team knows exactly what it’s doing, and that all our handwringing ends up being baseless. But I have a hard time believing McCain’s attacks won’t stick if unanswered, and Obama acts like he intends to leave them unanswered.

    And “answered” means TV ads, not speeches or press releases. Don’t count on free media to save you, you need to BUY air time.

    Comment by DCCyclone | August 8, 2008 | Reply

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