I think Josh has been getting a little too worried about the tightening of the race, but he makes a great point in this post.
Don’t ever demand someone stop attacking you. Doesn’t work. Don’t do it. Sounds weak. Sounds pathetic. And a lot else.
He’s right. Obama went after McCain today for attacking his patriotism, but he’s doing it the wrong way. He should be mocking McCain, the way he mocked Hillary in the primary campaign. He should be mocking McCain’s desperation – it’s sad to see a man of McCain’s starure and reputation sinking so low.
This is what Biden can bring to the campaign.
Obama will figure it out.
The angst on the web over the tightening of the race is starting to match the hype from the old media. Many sober bloggers like Josh Marshall are getting nervous, and others are chiming in. Meanwhile, you have Chris Matthews announcing that the race is “tied” based on a poll that has the Obama leading by 5 points.
Of course the race has tightened, and that makes all of us a little uneasy. But there are several things to keep in mind. McCain has been hammering Obama, and Obama has just come off a one-week vacation. Obama has generally had three bad weeks, as McCain found a good issue in drilling and Russia invaded Georgia, placing national security back in the spotlight.
Now, what is happening out there? Yes, the race is tightening. Barack’s numbers are coming down a little, and that is a concern. Yet McCain’s number are NOT GOING UP. There’s a price to pay for his tactics, and Obama and the press are running with that argument. It will take a toll on McCain over time. His “angry old man” image will not play well as the camapign goes on. McCain has basically repeated the Clinton “kitchen sink” strategy, and the result has basically been the same. Obama gets hurt a little, but he still stays ahead. The McCain people have to be worried that they haven’t been able to pull ahead, let alone take the lead.
There’s no doubt the Obama camapign needs to ratchet up the attacks. They’ve started to take shots at McCain, and they’ve run some decent negative ads. They need to get tougher, but everyone needs to understand that we’re still in the middle of summer. Their best attacks need should be rolled out during the convention and in early September when everyone is playing attention.
I will get more specific in a future post, but we heard next to nothing about health care (like pre-existing conditions) or social security. McCain is very vulnerable on both points. Expect a big push on both issues, with Hillary Clinton being one of the lead attackers on these points.
Obama needed to survive the inevitable summer onslaught. With the convention starting next week, he appears to have done so.