Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

What I’d Like to Hear Tonight: McCain’s Negative Campaign

I would humbly like to propose a new series for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for what I’d like to hear from Obama tonight, and I thought it would be a good exercise for all of us to weigh in with our thoughts. Not fully-formed speeches, mind you, but a couple paragraphs on how you’d like to hear him address certain issues. Feel free to contribute your own “What I’d Like to Hear” posts on whatever topic you choose.

The first issue is one that I consider crucial not just from a short-term political perspective, but from a substantive perspective as well. McCain’s scorched-earth campaign has proved to be his most potent weapon against Obama, but as we’ve seen over the past eight years, Rovian politics are also corrosive to our democracy. So it is vital that Obama defeat not just McCain, but also Rove-ism. Because as long as these campaigns are seen as effective, they’ll keep going to that well.

And that’s exactly the connection I’d like to see Obama make in his speech. As an added bonus, by outlining in advance what the GOP strategy will be, Obama can help innoculate himself against it.

Here’s one way he could phrase it:

In just a few days, the Republicans will gather in Minneapolis. And I have little doubt they’ll spend the majority of their time attacking me. They’ll talk about events that happened 40 years ago, when I was seven. They’ll talk about people who have nothing to do with my campaign, and nothing to do with what kind of president I’ll be. Some of their attacks will contradict each other. And some will be flat-out untrue. But that doesn’t matter. All they care about is throwing lots of mud in the hopes that enough of it sticks.

And really, can you blame them? What else are they going to run on? George Bush’s record? They have nothing to offer, so all they can do is scream and shout and pound the table try to distract you from the mess they’ve made of the country over the past eight years. The last thing they want is for you to hold them accountable for their actions.

And that’s why John McCain, having embraced the Bush policies he previously opposed, is now embracing the same campaign operatives and mudslinging strategies that George Bush once deployed against him. It’s sad, almost tragic. But that’s the choice he’s made.

And now it’s you who has a choice to make. Do you reward the Republians’ cynical games? Do you allow yourself to get distracted?

Or do you say, no, not this time? Do you say that the stakes in this election are too important to have it be decided by trivialities. And do you walk into the voting booth on Nov. 4 and send a message: No more of Karl Rove’s scorched-earth politics! No more focusing on the trivial at the expense of the vital issues facing this country. Do you decide that if you don’t hold them accountable now, they’ll never learn?

John McCain has put his faith in Paris Hilton. I’m putting my faith in the American voters.


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


  1. I like the idea of taking his campaigning and making it a a character attack.

    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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