Wolfson: Go After McCain-Bush

Yes, you have read it here, but Howard Wolfson is right:

Democrats are running against John McCain, not Sarah Palin. Running against Gov. Palin instead of Senator McCain would be a mistake -- ultimately voters will make their assessments based on the strength and weaknesses of the top of the tickets. If anything, Democrats should be talking about McCain-Bush, not McCain-Palin. Every day we are focused on Palin is a day we are not amplifying the Obama campaign's message that Senator McCain simply represents four more years of President Bush.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    And every time that anybody (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by eric on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:38:21 AM EST
    even mentions her name, it serves to amplify her name recognition and shores up her lack of credentials.

    Whose name? n/t (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:41:01 AM EST
    Some woman who used to read the sports news (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:42:24 AM EST
    on TV in a small market.

    Not important.


    and (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by bocajeff on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:47:15 AM EST
    Ronald Reagan was some B movie actor. By diminishing her career since she was in sports is rather petty and very sexist -

    There is much to be critical of...but she has been in politics for over a decade...


    Honestly, I'm not interested in her (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:48:39 AM EST
    My hope is that she remains Governor of Alaska.

    Well, you're half right. (none / 0) (#7)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:42:50 AM EST
    Hammer her (none / 0) (#54)
    by phatpay on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:11:49 PM EST
    she uses the, "Thanks, but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.", at every campaign stop.
    It's fallacious.

    I'm from Ketchikan. It's not nowhere.
    And she has flip flopped on her position.
    The reason she should be hammered on it is because she is using that particular line to cement her own position as an outsider/reformer.
    She is the star right now and McCain is benefiting from, imho, his blind luck at picking her.

    Take her on!
    She criticized Hillary for "perceived whining". She should not get treated with kid gloves.
    Do it right. Don't even mention her gender. It's inconsequential. Hammer her on her lies.
    That's it.

    And I do not subscribe to the "Hillary should stay out of the woman on woman fray" meme.
    She's the most high profile Dem female.
    She's best suited to knock the lipstick of this pit bull. She could go ahead and knock Biden off the veep spot and I'd be even happier. October surprise?


    This really should have been so easy. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by steviez314 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:41:35 AM EST
    Bush, McCain and the Republicans FAILED you on the economy.

    Bush, McCain and the Republicans FAILED you on Katrina.

    Bush, McCain and the Republicans FAILED you on the hunt for Bin Laden.

    Bush, McCain and the Republicans FAILED you on protecting your house and mortgage.

    Bush, McCain and the Republicans FAILED you on gas prices.

    And now they want to be rewarded for their FAILURE with 4 more years.  What arrogance!

    Make them OWN THEIR FAILURE.  

    Repeat every day for 58 days.

    You (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:35:46 PM EST
    are not a small gov't guy are you?

    The propblem is (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CST on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:42:40 AM EST
    How do you take back the narrative?  As far as I can see, Obama thinks this is the way to go too.  But it doesn't matter what he wants if the media reports Palin, Palin, Palin.  At this point, I'm not sure what he can do, but it's gotta be something soon and big to distract the media from Palin-bashing so they can get back to reporting the election.

    Maybe campaigning with Bill is the answer.

    A big endorsement would do it (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:47:59 AM EST
    I've been waiting to hear form Chuck Hagel.

    I don't think (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:53:59 AM EST
    Chuck Hagel is gonna cut it.

    Colin Powell maybe just to change the conversation.

    Honestly, I think he may just have to ride this wave out, wait for the media to get tired of Sarah Palin.  And in the mean time he should be hitting up every small town in the midwest to talk about economics.


    Lesson 1 of politics: make your own waves (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:55:23 AM EST
    Yes, Powell would suffice, but I doubt he's available.

    Lesson 2 ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:00:22 PM EST
    don't let those waves make it look like you're drowning.

    But, seriously, the number 1 rule in politics is if you have a winning message, stick to that message.


    Will Powell ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:05:20 PM EST
    show us a drawing to convince us his support is genuine?



    The McCain camp is in control right now... (none / 0) (#20)
    by cosbo on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:57:30 AM EST
    they're even deciding when and where to  Sarah Palin is to be interviewed. The only way Obama could change the narrative is if he dropped Biden and put Hillary on as VP. That's really his ONLY option for changing the narrative back to him,

    with whom? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Klio on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:03:28 PM EST
    Does Colin Powell have real credibility among people who are wavering but could be persuaded to vote for Obama?

    Not about credibility (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:11:09 PM EST
    It's about distracting the media.

    Really? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:58:14 AM EST
    Sounds like a snoozefest to me.

    This isn't the primaries where every endorsement for Obama was treated like a transformative event in the history of mankind akin to the discovery of fire.


    Yep (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:57:50 AM EST
    and that's the problem with a campaign who relies on the media too much. The media can dump you as quickly as they built you up.

    There's really nothing he can do about the media. What he can do is what Hillary did during the primaries: go to voters. Talk to them. Tell them in ten words or less how you are going to make their lives better. Quit talking like a college professor. Start thinking that it's entirely possible that you can lose this election. Obama is repeating the same mistakes Dems have been making for years. They simply can't imagine why anyone would vote for John McCain.

    And Obama needs to start talking specifics. Just being notMcCain probably isn't enough to win the election.


    Yes, the college professor ... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:19:23 PM EST
    act has got to go.

    I cringed when he said "a plague on both your houses" in the THIS WEEK interview.

    What he's going say when McCain says something outlandish in the debates?

    "Surely you jest, good squire."


    has nothing else (none / 0) (#51)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:31:02 PM EST
    oh yeah that will work except he doesn't really have anything new to say. Have you heard him talk without his telepromtor?  It is too painful! that is above my pay grade??? Someone must have screwed up that response.  

    Talk specifics? he hasn't seen a stance he is not willing to throw under the bus at the drop of a hat if it would help win. Nope fraid obama is a one pony show and that pony is getting old.


    I think this tactic may have run its course (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:43:59 AM EST
    In that sense Obama's "McSame" argument is perfectly analogous to McCain's "experience vs. celebrity" argument: both of these tacks worked serviceably to move the dial in the early stages, but at this point they have reached the point of severely diminishing marginal returns.  

    And crucially, these two (old) opposing arguments are deeply interrelated and have dictated the new course of the campaign.  McCain's addition of Palin to the ticket and reformulation of his campaign as "[conservative] change you can believe in" is a direct response to both the McSame argument and his realization that the "experience" argument was going to lead him to a respectable loss at best.  

    The McCain team's most audacious move - the one that will put his team into the historical playbooks for future campaigns if he can pull it off - is how he reacted to the failure to choose Hillary as VP by pivoting on a dime and recasting his candidacy as a POSITIVE message ("vote for us, we'll clean out this sh*tfilled Augean stable 'cause we're like Nixon going to China") rather than the negative message of "vote for me 'cause you can't trust that other guy."  The effectiveness is amplified because, whether we agree or not, this is clearly the McCain has always seen himself: now that he's back to being the "maverick reformer" again he's stumping like a man on fire (I've seen his recent appearances, and as an appreciator of quality political theater he is very effective.)

    The upshot of this is that Wolfson is WRONG.  If Obama keeps running on the "McSame" tactic then HE suddenly becomes the 'conservative' one in this race, in the sense that he then is the one casting his campaign in purely negative terms: "vote for me 'cause you can't trust that other guy to not be more of the same."  You see the cruelly ironic inversion of positions here?  McCain is now pitching himself as the candidate of hope and change, the reformer with results...and Obama would be turning himself into the pooh-poohing sourpuss.

    Therefore Obama HAS to run a positive campaign.  Not positive in the "no negative ads" sense, but positive in the "here's a real program that makes you think I'm going to do something different" sense.  As unbelievable as it seems, he hasn't been able to make this sale.  It seemed like it was so back in the primary days, but his shift to the center combined with his thoroughly doctrinaire convention acceptance speech now makes him a lot more like a traditional Democrat.  If Obama's gonna win he needs to reclaim the change mantle that McCain (brilliantly, I admit) managed to purloin from him.

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by litigatormom on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:44:50 AM EST
    although I do think it is important to show that Palin lied about opposing the Bridge to Nowhere.

    The real point about Palin, though, is that it shows that McBush the So-Called Maverick capitulated to the extreme right wing of his party, just as Bush did on various policy matters (as well as in picking Cheney as his VP).  

    In the end, its got to be about McBush's judgment, and the fact that he was and is willing to do or say anything to get elected, and that his appeal to moderates and independents is based on a lie.  

    Not sure who the "we" is. . . (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:46:12 AM EST
    in ". Every day we are focused on Palin", but I think the Obama campaign has not been particularly focused on Palin (although we haven't been hearing too much about what the Obama campaign is focused on during media hurricane Sarah.

    Palin can be used to point out two critical aspects of any putative McCain Presidency -- his repetition of Bush's disastrous hiring policies and the fact that his strings are pulled by a out of the mainstream special interest group (James Dobson).  I think those are legitimate and valuable points to make.

    Otherwise he should -- and, as far as I can tell, is trying to -- keep the focus on McCain and his total lack of positive policies.

    see? this is a mistake - (none / 0) (#24)
    by Klio on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:00:54 PM EST
    why does she reinforce the disastrous hiring policies of the Bush administration?  Is she really incompetent or merely inexperienced?  You need to be careful of just how you insult her.

    And while SP is clearly beloved by the Republican base, Huckabee would have done as well, if that were the only attraction.  It was a brilliant pick by McCain b/c of all that and the way it exacerbates the unhealed rift on the left.


    Exactly HOW MANY people have to tell (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:48:30 AM EST
    this to the obama campaign...by the time he gets it in gear, the McCain to bush ship may have sailed.

    why don't you provide (2.66 / 3) (#31)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:09:08 PM EST
    some specifics from the Obama campaign that clearly demonstrates that they have focused on Palin.  Why don't you provide some quotes from Obama, Biden and Axelrod that prove they have been focused on Palin and not 8 years of failed policy?

    Why don't you give us some concrete examples of Obama/Biden doing this?  We will all await the many instances of such actions.

    Or is this just another factless response in anger because your candidate could not beat O's team in the primary?


    Here are a couple of links (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by Marvin42 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:54:37 PM EST
    Obama Unofficial campaign arm #1

    Obama Unofficial campaign arm #2

    And before you start typing this is NOT the Obama campaign do you really think the Digg politics page first turned into all anti-Hillary all the time and now has turned into all anti-Palin all the time ALL BY ITSELF.

    Please, astro-turfing is an Obama campaign tactic. And its starting to backfire.


    You are right (none / 0) (#49)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:25:09 PM EST
    let's just look at Obama's payrolls and see how much he is paying them.  

    Sure I am game (none / 0) (#52)
    by Marvin42 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    We have to probably look through Axelrod's company client and payment lists, do you think he'll open it up for you and me to take a quick look?

    lol (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:39:27 PM EST
    come on marvin, you know he's from chicago!

    When your boy is down, you sure get testy! (4.00 / 3) (#36)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:36:32 PM EST
    Just pointing out that obama is not taking those of your ilk's advice...take a chill pill please

    making accusations (1.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:25:27 PM EST
    without merit as usual

    hmmmm took you two hours to come up (none / 0) (#56)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:36:31 PM EST
    with that snappy retort...lmao

    That "boy" scared me (none / 0) (#58)
    by obiden08 on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 01:22:22 PM EST
    Better be glad you're not a candidate or you'd be accused of playing the race card.  Yes, this is where we are in the campaign.

    I disagree (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by bocajeff on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:49:37 AM EST
    YOu don't have to tie anything to anyone. Just simply compare and contrast plans  - then take those results and compare to Bush...Game, set and match at that point.

    I've (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:02:13 PM EST
    been advocating for the compare and constrast around here for quite a while. They are so effective. Obama could do an ad that shows McCain in a negative light and himself in a positive one. His campaign has utterly failed on this account.

    It's the economy. (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by lambert on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:45:41 PM EST

    but (none / 0) (#3)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:41:27 AM EST
    Its the same strategy for both. Nail them to Bush. But I agree more McCain nailing is in order.

    Wow! (none / 0) (#10)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:45:46 AM EST
    Wolfson is reading TL and listening to BTD!

    But I do think the choice of Palin says a lot about the type of judges and other key people McCain will choose, and I find it scary.  She would be the first pentecostal in the White House.  That alone wouldn't be as scary if Palin didn't make it clear how this would impact every decision she would make. No wonder Religious conservatives love that John McCain gave into pressure and chose Palin rather than someone he really wanted as his VP.

    But BTD, and now Wolfson, are both right.  Even though the pick of Palin reflects badly on McCain, that argument is not simple enough.  We need to stick with McCain = 4 more years of Bush.  I sure hope it works!

    Go After McCain-Bush? (none / 0) (#17)
    by delacarpa on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:49:49 AM EST
    They have been doing this IMO and it isn't working with the polls coming in as they are. I think many are deciding that maybe McCain isn't a third time Bush. IMO the economy is still his best choice. Put Hillary out there to the recuse as she seemed to do that well talking about the real things that women relate to, but why are we having this conversation anyway. It could have been different.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#38)
    by Matt in Chicago on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:48:36 PM EST
    Going after Bush to get to McCain might appeal to the left wing base, but I don't think it is appealing to America as a whole.

    Right or wrong, McCain has for the last 10 years built a reputation as a "Maverick" withing the Republican Party who is willing to take on Bush.  Using the next 60 days to try to destroy that isn't going to work... IMO.  The fact that he "agrees" with Bush on many issues simply means that they are both in the same political party... who would take it as a negative if we said that Obama agreed with Harry Reid on a lot of issues?

    Once again, Obama needs to be giving reasons to people to vote FOR him, not AGAINST McCain.  Frankly, I think Obama has a lot more recent baggage than McCain... and so has more reasons to stick on message and convince America why he is right and McCain is wrong.

    BTW, softening his positions on the Tax Cuts, back peddling on his abortion answer and the stupid answer about "thinking about" joining the military are not helping his case.

    Too many unforced errors!


    Hillary is doing this in FL this morning (none / 0) (#25)
    by bjorn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:01:08 PM EST
    and doing it brilliantly.  For some reason, she comes across more relaxed, more focused and more articulate than Obama...she nails it and it is hard to imagine people that hear her talk not voting for Dems and Obama in Nov.

    Dems (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:03:00 PM EST
    maybe but Obama? Probably not. I just don't see how she delivers much for Obama since she's not on the ticket.

    She can deliver (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by CST on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:13:06 PM EST
    By reminding people the inherent difference between a Dem and a Republican.  And Obama is a democrat and McCain is a republican.  She can remind people of that in an effective way that I think will help Obama.  But only if he's out there doing the same thing.

    Well (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:34:32 PM EST
    I would agree with you if Obama hadn't spent so much time talking about how he's post partisan. If he had spent months acting like a partisan democrat then she definitely would be able to deliver votes.

    Hillary (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Amiss on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:36:53 PM EST
    If it were not so sad, expecting Hillary to go out and deliver for Obama would be funny. First time he hits a speed bump, the cries for her to "rescue him" come out. I know she will do all she can for him, but I really find the cries for her to go out and deliver for him.......well, disgusting.......is the only word I can think of.Especially since it was his own hubris that kept her off the ticket.

    More of McSame (none / 0) (#29)
    by MTSINAIMAMA on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:04:59 PM EST

    just surrogates/stand-in's for


    That's the albatross that needs to be hammered around McCain's neck.

    So, I'm a little nit-picky. (none / 0) (#39)
    by princess1159 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:15:19 PM EST
    Sen McCain often refers to Gov. Palin as the most popular govenor in the US.  Is this true because he says so, so we all should believe him?  Or was there some criteria used to determine this "fact"?
    If there was, I would like to know what it was.  Off the top of my head, I can name six govenors and I put her 5th. Maybe I'm not ranking her correctly. Can someone, smarter than me, tell me the error in my judgement?

    It is true (none / 0) (#40)
    by nell on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:23:36 PM EST
    She has the highest approval rating of any governor in the US, it is above 80 percent.

    You can look up a bunch of polls, I think Ras did one as recently as two or three days ago showing still sky high approval ratings.


    How does (none / 0) (#41)
    by princess1159 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:33:24 PM EST
    highest approval in one state translate to most popular govenor in the country?  If my goveneor(D-IL) gave me a tax rebate, I'd approve of him too.

    Obama needs to focue on everything (none / 0) (#43)
    by pluege on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:53:08 PM EST
    restricting the attack to mcain-bush allows mccain to focus his response. ergo if mccain can convince enough voters that mccain is somewhat different than bush - he wins. Obama needs a multi-pronged attack. Besides not allowing mccain to focus his response this promotes the general feeling doom that is in fact the mccain candidacy.

    Besides, ultimately plenty of people aren't going to like palin and if they're neutral between Obama and mccain, it becomes a deciding factor.

    Is it really so hard to attack on more than one front?

    Lets get the media involved (none / 0) (#45)
    by miller51550 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:57:07 PM EST
    Well, I would like to see someone post information regarding the following:

    Obams's Occidental College records
    Obama's Columbia College records
    Obama's Columbia Thesis paper
    Obama's Harvard College records
    Obama's Selective Service Registration
    Obama's Medical records
    Obama's Illinois State Senate records
    A certified copy of Obama's Original Birth Certificate
    Obama's embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth
    Any Obama Harvard Law Review articles that were published   (I have found one.)
    Obma's University of Chicago scholarly articles or publications.

    Mr. Obama is being considered for the highest job in America, and he should provide the above as if he would be interviewing for that position in Corporate Amercian.

    McSame might be true (none / 0) (#47)
    by scourtney on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:19:43 PM EST
    but I think the message is not working, it has run it's course. McCain might be a 3rd Bush term, but I don't think the majority of voters are convinced of that, especially with the Palin pick reinforncing his maverick image. They need to move on to a stronger attack theme!

    It is over -Obama is toast (none / 0) (#48)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:22:29 PM EST
    The game has changed and Obama is playing catch up. He isn't "the one" anymore sucking up all the oxygen. Palin is. He isn't the agent of change any more, McCain/Palin are, and have actually done those things and not just talked about them. This election was already made difficult when repugs chose the maverick McCain something I was skeptical could happen. Then when democrats shot themselves in the foot and chose a candidate that could only garner half of the votes of the faithful and actually limped across the finish line. More importantly in a party to whom votes obviously aren't the criteria for choosing a nominee (hence the need for super delegates to save us from actual voters) were complete idiots and didn't force the equal vote getters onto the ticket. With Palin McCain did what he needed to do - consolidate his base. I can't say that loud enough but dems or should I say "the one" thought that  wasn't necessary. Watch McCains new ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVIaqCjvLpU
    -with the questions about Obama's flip flops on important  democratic  issues and his lack of  real accomplishments the american people will go with the reformer.

    Slightly disagree (none / 0) (#55)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:21:28 PM EST
    They don't need to spend all their time calling McCain "four more years of Bush".  I'm not sure that line is the most effective largely because McCain is not Bush and people know that.

    Rather, as I have said before, they should focus on McCain being "four more years of Republican control."  Generic Republican polls worse than McCain so turn him into generic Republican.  It wouldn't matter if it were McCain, Palin, Romney, Huckabee, or Jeb Bush on the top of the ticket - they are all shareholders of a failed party and a failed ideology.  Convince the voters that it's time to dump that stock and invest in one that has paid off for them before - Democrats.

    something to mull over (none / 0) (#57)
    by offbeat alaskan on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:13:55 PM EST
    first lets look at the partys

    demacrats= more goverment rule more taxes more government hand in the average person pocket.

    obama and biden subscribe to this thought process no matter what they state in public tv.

    republican= suposed less government rule less direct tax on the average person and less government involvement in every day life.

    fact is both partys are corrupt there is no getting away from that it becomes the choice of the lesser evil..

    second thought.
    read your constitution people fact is Democracy does not belong in our country in any way shape or form.

    we are guarnteed a republican form of gov per our constitution  if you dont like it live some where else. no where in the constitution does it say we are a Democracy we are a republic.  read the fundimental differance in what the two are.