McCain's negative strategy: Will it work?

Analysis: McCain tries to sow doubts about Obama

This voter thinks it won’t. His ads are not only negative, they’re misleading, at best, and downright lies at worst. His latest one about Obama not visiting the troops in Germany is debunked by factcheck here. In a time of war and a weak economy, the public wants a positive message. This sort of sniping makes McCain look like a bitter old man, not the upbeat president the country wants.

I’m an Obama supporter, but a soft one. I’m not crazy over him, and there are many things I disagree with him about. I’ve said before that I think McCain would make an OK president, but he’s really turning me off with all this negative crap. Tell us what you’re going to do, McCain-- I’m not interested in your distorted view of Obama.


(I have a feeling few, if any, posters here will defend McCain, so if this descends into McCain-bashing thread, I have no problems with a mod moving it to the Pit.)

With Obama talking about Obama, and McCain also talking about Obama, the only result is that people are going to be thinking of Obama first.

It won’t work. Now, it would work if Obama would allow himself to be swiftboated. But the Obama campaign learned from Kerry last year. They’re not going to allow a negative ad to air without a quick strong response.

Obama can fire back with ads showing him in front of large crowds while McCain is getting a mole removed from his face.

I must admit a certain amount of amusement in watching McCain’s campaign in action. They keep on trying to find an attack that’ll stick, but each thing they try seems to peter out, or (in the case of Obama not visiting the troops) backfire.

Their latest gambit is to paint Obama as a ‘celebrity’ like (quite specifically) Britney Spears or Paris Hilton.

Ain’t enough rolleyes.

I think it’s all going to backfire. I’m still not certain McCain is not intentionally trying to hobble himself. Look at the new rockstar ad McCain’s camp came out with just yesterday. Do they really believe this will turn fence-sitters away from Obama? McCain’s handlers just seem lost, bereft of ideas, with no sense of the pulse of the electorate.

I think it stands a fair chance of working.

I have a low regard for the intelligence of the electorate at large. The “Low-Information Voter”, his word, she is law.

Beyond that, though, I think the best chance for McCain to pull this off is if this election is a referendum on Obama rather than the referendum on Bush that we all thought we were getting.

His handlers are people who have spent the last eight years manipulating the pulse of the electorate with fear of scary brown people, either trying to destroy us with bombs or destroy us with (anchor) babies. They’re so used to controlling what the electorate feels that they haven’t noticed that the strategy isn’t working anymore. We’re more afraid of $5 gasoline and $4.50 milk than we are of Adbul or Pedro. And they just haven’t grasped that yet.

A political analyst whose name I don’t remember now once noted that high-concept issues (War on Terror, immigration, homosexuals, abortion) only work optimally when bread-and-butter issues (unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, devalued dollar) are on the back burner. When the bread-and-butter issues come to the fore, the candidates had better be addressing them, because it’s a lot harder to focus someone on homosexual marriage when they can’t even afford to commute to work.

I thought not having a pulse was a prerequisite for being part of the McCain campaign.

They’re very inclusive! They accept those with thready and irregular pulses, too.

True, and it saddens me to admit they’ve done phenomenally well with it.

Because of how they’re doing it.

Oh, there are still receptive minds upon which to sow fear of Abdul, Pedro, Shaniqua, and Adam and Steve. I just think the McCain camp is suffering a possibly disabling bout of multiple personality disorder. Unlike some of my political brethren, I honestly believe McCain wants to run a respectable and positive campaign. The GOP/RNC and their associates, however, have little to no concern about respectability and simply want to win by the tried and true methods in their arsenal, hence a conflict, and one McCain may not be able to resolve.

I don’t see the ads working. I think they will look desperate and few like the smell of desperation. The newest one with Spears and Hilton reek of Desperation.
BTW: jayjay, that cracked me up.

I don’t think it will work but I think that it is his only shot at pulling this election off. Very few people are going to vote for McCain. His only hope is to get more people to vote against Obama than for Obama. The chattering class is right this time. This is going to be a referendum on Obama.

Break it down into the subgroups. There is the group solidly for Obama and most of his support is quite solid. They’ll come out.

There are the core Conservatives. They usually vote and they follow things. They are overrepresented as the polls “likely voters”. But they are not excited about McCain. How do you get them to the polls? Get them outraged about Obama. Or scared. Whatever so that they say that McCain is at least no Obama and we gotta stop Obama.

There are those who are for McCain but are not the core. These voters are not solid for McCain. If they get comfortable with Obama they can switch.

The swing voters. Achh. They all say that they hate negative campaigning but they always swing because of it. If they get comfortable imaging Obama as Commander in Chief, if they start to identify with Obama’s story of growing up as the son of an immigrant, raised by a single Mom, and succeeding in the classic American hero archetype, if they start to feel that Obama shares their values and understands their struggles, then McCain has no chance whatsoever. His team has to throw whatever they can to make that not happen.

Portraying Obama’s success as a result of the l’brul media’s shoving him down their throats, sowing doubts about his abilities, making people question if they really wouldn’t feel more comfortable without such a change after all, is the only chance that they got. They gotta try.

It won’t work because Obama is no Kerry and his team is well prepared to counterpunch. But what else can they do? Lay down and count to ten?

I can say that they’re whiny and desperate but I’m voting for Obama so my view is a bit biased. But I remember some Right sided pundits saying that McCain’s gas commercial was stupid and now McCain’s old campaign strategist is saying that the celebrity ad is just asinine and McCain had better start shaping up.

I have the impression that Camp McCain is doing the “throw lots of crap and see what sticks” with the expectation that the duds will be forgotten before November.

Creating doubt in people’s minds is a subtle thing. But McCain seems to be running a complain, not a campaign: I don’t think these complaints about Obama’s celebrity or how much the media loves him is going to win him a lot of votes. Is this going to do what he needs, which is to ramp up voter enthusiasm? I don’t see it.

The McCain campaign has been about as subtle as a cartoon anvil, though.

I don’t think it will work anymore than when Bush I was saying (about Clinton) that they shouldn’t be measuring for drapes in the White House just yet.

The press isn’t helping; because they need this to be a race, they’re showing misleading headlines trying to make uncritical readers think McCain’s gaining ground. But they’re just as believable as the football announcer in a 42-7 game in the 4th quarter saying the losing team still has a shot. (OK, that’s hyperbole, but not that outrageous).

For instance, here’s a headline on Yahoo News showing right now:

GOP’s ‘Obama celebrity’ message gaining traction

But look inside the article - not one single poll cite or anything, just a reference to some stupid Letterman gag. Oh, yeah, it’s gaining traction amongst dittohead email forwarders; whoopie, those troglodytes are going to vote for their sumbitch even if he gets caught raping babies on church pews.


And what a perfectly concise and apt summation.

How long until Spears and Hilton denounce and reject John McCain for using them in his campaign?

Whoever gave the final aproval of that ad must have no idea what the public thinks of Brittany Spears or Paris Hilton. I mean I know Spears is a role model to perfect motherhood and how to shave ones own head…but hey, why bring out the heavy hitters now? :smiley:

Negative ads work. But, will this one? It’s really ridiculous. Obama seemed ready for it and replied quickly. Kerry just let the swiftboats go on and on as he apparently thought the attacks wouldn’t hurt him because they were without merit.

People love celebrities so how much does this really hurt Obama? Does this just reenforce the image of McCain as an old man? Does it signal a surrender of the youth vote?

The celebrity advertisment is a textbook Rove case of attacking Obama’s strengths. Thing is, it starts off with crowds chanting “O-bam-a!” and clearly meaning it.

That. Does not. Sell. That sells Obama.