Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

“And so are they all; all honorable men …”

Isaac Chotiner makes a point that’s been bothering me lately:

Why exactly do Democrats need to bring up McCain’s military record every single time they criticize him? It feels contrived, sounds phony, and makes McCain appear to be a larger-than-life figure.

To put it another way, what is accomplished from a strategic perspective by this constant fluffing? I guess it’s supposed to draw a contrast by showing that Obama won’t sink to McCain’s level, but as Chotiner points out, at this point it just sounds rote and forced.

Lest we forget, Marc Antony uses the “honorable man” gambit in his eulogy of Caesar for a very specific purpose: to rile the crowd up against Brutus and his co-conspirators. If they insist on praising McCain, what Dems need to do is pivot directly from praise to attack:

I honor John McCain’s service to this country four decades ago, but continuing the failed Bush policies is not serving America. Keeping us in Iraq for 100 years is not serving America. Selling out all your past positions to placate the narrow interests of the right wing is not serving America. And adopting the Swift Boat politics of Karl Rove to divide this country is not serving America.


August 28, 2008 - Posted by | Media Strategy, talking points | ,


  1. One reason they have to keep doing this is because of pundits like Brokaw:

    Having said that, I agree with you, it’s time to stop with that.

    Comment by dansac | August 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Obama,

    You are the first candidate the U.S. has had in a long time that has continued to spread false information from the first time you hit the campaign trail.

    I find your technique one of the most offensive I have ever experienced. I find your ethics are on the border of being unethical and your manipulation of the facts most disgusting.

    It is common knowledge that the media will always press United States citizens to vote for the candidate who offers them the biggest kick-backs, pay-backs, and over-all “favors”. That is you, Obama.

    Then look at your over all personas: Your stance, the way you hold your head, your gestures, the clothes you wear, the pronouns and adjectives you use. Everything about you is the personification of an individual, who does NOT, let me repeat DOES NOT, have the United States citizens interests’ at heart. You are an elitist and the persona I just described is living proof — your entire appearance is proof — FACT — of what I say.

    Okay – now let’s talk about education. You have a law degree but did not practice law. Why? Readers – look this one up and you will see why. And, the result is not a positive one.

    Then there is the community organizer work you undertook in the state of Illinois. That, too, has been overstated and turned into something “positive” that it in fact was NOT. Dear readers – check this one out yourself as there are many Illinois citizens who will tell you the “truth.”

    My education – NOBAMA – is equal to or greater than your education. I do have the same ability as you to influence U.S. Citizens: And I certainly am taking the opportunity to exploit you for what you truly are.

    You see I am an educator, who works for a famous “Research One” institution, who has the ability to write Journal Articles that all college students will use for research. The true facts about you will come out and in a place that will most definitely do the most good – to influence voters “young voters” on how to spot an individual who does not represent the United States in the capacity as he states he will. Make no mistake, Obama, people will definitely know the subject of the Journal Articles is referencing you and your 2008 Presidential campaign.

    See you in “honest” fact-finding print.

    Comment by Versailles | October 4, 2008 | Reply

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