McCain targets Bill Daley, loses Republican endorsement and support

In one of the latest smear ads from the McCain Campain, former Secretary of Commerce, William Daley, is displayed with an unflatering mug shot, and is called “heir to the Chicago political machine”. He is then tied to Obama, along the with other alleged associations about which McCain and Palin seem to be obsessed these days.

Only thing is, as Andrea Mitchell points out on MSNBC, McCain has himself been a longtime friend and associate of Daley, especially as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. In fact, Mitchell said, Daley felt blindsided by the ad because just last week, he attended a McCain rally where he got an autographed picture. (I wonder whether McCain informed him that he was about to be slammed.)

Anyway, as it turns out, at least one prominent Republican, a former Michigan governor, says he now regrets his endorsement of McCain:

He endorsed John McCain in the presidential primary, but now former Republican Gov. William Milliken is expressing doubts about his party’s nominee.

“He is not the McCain I endorsed,” said Milliken, reached at his Traverse City home Thursday. "He keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.

"I’m disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues."Lincoln Chafee, Phil Arthurhultz, and Bob Eleveld are other Michigan Republicans who’ve had enough and now are actively endorsing, and even campaining for, Obama.

There are lots of interesting angles at which to approach this debate. But one of the most interesting to me is why McCain’s negative campain ads (called 100% negative by advertising experts) aren’t working this year, when such ads have classically had so much effect, according to many pundits. Swiftboating, according to some, practically destroyed Kerry. So, why is McCain’s shit-slinging so ineffective?

I think it’s a couple of things. One, there’s too much going on this time: one economic catasrophe after another; two long and costly ground wars; a younger and more enlightened electorate; and an extremely unpopular party, headed by an extremely unpopular president. I think McCain is coming across like the angry old uncle at a family gathering who ruins everybody’s mood at the table by constantly nagging a cousin about some ancient grudge. He truly is giving the world an object lesson on how not to run a presidential campain.

As McCain himself might mutter, as he shuffles around the room, “Remarkable.”

Nitpick: Lincoln Chafee is a former Republican, now officially an Independent, and he’s a Rhode Islander.

Thanks for that correction, Kimstu, which I might add is not as trivial and unimportant as it might at first seem.

I think there has been a misreading of the effect of the Swift Boat. The thinking is that Republicans always win elections because of negative attacks on the Democratic nominee, but for the most part the attacks are not on the man personally but Democrats in general - they are the party of “long haired hippie-type pinko fags” while the Republicans are the party of real Americans. Bush didn’t attack Gore’s character or past associations, the same is true of Bush/Dukakis, and Reagan/Carter and Mondale. They attacked them as being liberals who would lead the country to the brink of socialism.

Kerry was different, these were very personal attacks questioning his honesty about the purple heart and even his patriotism. It happened to work because of the circumstances of the times, but it’s not the way the Republicans generally win. If the economy wasn’t so bad now and if Bush had not screwed everything up, there would be no need to bring up Ayers, McCain would be way ahead of the liberal Democrat.

What, you’ve seen the Commie flag I’ve got tacked up on the wall inside-a my garage?

I also don’t think Kerry wanted the presidency the way Obama does. Kerry didn’t push back when the attacks came. I don’t think he liked the conflict.

Plus remember when Kerry walked up to the podium at the DNC to accept his party’s nomination, his body language was very hang-dog. He saluted as if to say “Reporting for duty”. It gave me the feeling that he was being dragged onto his party’s ticket.

I met and shook hands with Kerry several times during that campaign.
Kerry’s a good man, and a smart one, but he wasn’t hungry.

Well Daley is from Chicago and Chicago means corruption. No more needs to be said.

They really think that this is going to resonate with any one other than those already armed with pitchforks at their rallies?

Its beyond pathetic.

I don’t even have a garage! You can call home and ask my wife.

And, in fact, the “heir to the Chicago political machine” is, in fact, Daly’s brother Richard.

(One can, apparently, never have to many “in facts” laying around these days.)

And how is your knee feeling?

OK, sorry, I’ll drop the reference.

Why? Because so many people LIKE Obama. This isn’t like other years where we were grudgingly voting for the lesser of two evils. Obama’s actually got fans, and lots of them in the press, and attacking someone we actually like doesn’t make us happy. Even people who don’t agree with his policies seem to like him, and it’s not really making them happy, either. When even his supporters didn’t really *like *Kerry, it didn’t hurt his opponent to smear him. When so many of us were just trying to decide who was the least sucky of the two, negative things had more influence.

One question and one comment:

  1. So you don’t think using the word liberal the way the Republicans used it at those times was meant to be about character and associations, in general?

  2. I think the present status of things is different this time too because Obama, for various reasons, is seen as a hightly viable (and likeable) candidate, thus engendering different reactions to the smears, which have been scurrilous, scatter-shot and unrelenting.

Thanks! Actually, I thought it was pretty trivial and unimportant, but I love Linc and the Biggest Little, and I couldn’t stand the thought of Michigan taking the credit for him. :slight_smile: Why do you say it’s not trivial?

Knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to get that. I use it at every opportunity.

Only that they associated with other liberals, not criminals. And I never meant to say there weren’t any personal attacks, what else is saying that Gore claimed to invent the internet? But that sort of attack has never been the primary focus, it’s not what wins them elections (even in Kerry’s case it only helped out) and it is not going to win one for McCain.

They told me that if I voted for Kerry the country would be on the brink of socialism by 2008.
Looks like they were right.

(Adapted from an old Goldwater supporter joke.)

Not to be cynical, but I wonder how much of the Michigan reaction is the result of McCain stabbing them in the back by pulling out early. <insert cheap joke here.> What statewide races are happening in Michigan this year, and how would a reduction in the McCain vote hurt the Republicans?

Frank (upthread) got it too.

Really, really promising to end the hijack now.

Ah. Well, too bad they fucked that up. They blew the opportunity to script an ominous bass voice bellowing a thickly punctuated “DICK Daley”. Honestly, at this point, I think that as soon as it dawns on the old dumbass just how stupid all this is, he’ll very quickly swing to something else. His strategy is basically just “Hey, try this!”

That’s a good point. The Barack Obama who sits quietly but alertly on the stage, looking McCain straight in the eye, is too much unlike the caricature for it ever to stick with any but the lowest information voter.

Because it widens the effect. If there’s a Rhode Islander, then the backlash goes beyond Michigan.

Just saw that. But I can’t let you and Frank know that because it would be further hijacking the thread.