Sunday, July 27, 2008

1976 all over again, pt3 - McCain's Path to Victory

As I have argued and mentioned the 2008 and 1976 parallels previously here and here and here. So it's a nice confirmation when a great pundit like Michael Barone sees 1976 in 2008, and talks about how the Ford team almost pulled off an incredible upset:

The Ford ad team honed in on his record, with man-on-the-street ads, some filmed on the streets of Atlanta. It was risky, going against the grain of public opinion. But the Ford campaign persisted, and it worked. The McCain campaign needs to take the same risk and to persist in the face of media disapproval.

Finally, the Ford campaign altered the mood of the nation. Voters then, as now, thought the nation was off on the wrong track. The Ford campaign, with a catchy song, "I'm Feeling Good About America," and upbeat ads starting off with shots of Air Force One, argued that their candidate was leading the nation around the corner, making Americans feel proud again. The McCain campaign needs to do something similar, to argue that their candidate can help the nation turn the corner and lead us into better times.

The good news for McCain is that Ford was able to recover from a 20+ point deficit in the polls from August to election day with his fall campaign, and we see Obama quite a bit weaker in the polls than that, although Obama is still leading overall. Over at NextRight, I put a post called McCain's Path to Victory, giving a template of what McCain needed to do to win. Key points:
... the path to McCain victory is clear enough - define the choice, define your opponent, and define your positive plan for Americans. The MSM is so much in Obama's corner that they will not cede the narrative easily. But McCain will have to be bold and GRAB the narrative by taking all advantages and going on offense.

1. Define the choice in this election - More Govt or less Govt; winning the GWOT and defending our freedom while we defeat trerrorists or basing decisions on expediency not our long-term strategic interest; reforming Govt with transparency and end to earmarks and real fiscal restraint or status quo tax-and-spend-and-borrow that weakens our economy;

2. Define Obama as inexperienced, poor judgement, leftwing extremist with a history of suspicious assocations, who is wrong on Iraq, wrong on taxes, wrong on spending, wrong judges, wrong to support gay marriage in Cali, wrong to support abortion-on-demand, and wrong on how to lead America forward

3. Reach out to all Americans and all groups on a number of issues besides this that tie the family, freedom and national security defending-America agenda together.

4. Take over the optimism. Our hope for the future lies in defending our freedom and expanding opportunity today. Express it and keep expressing it so people know that voting for you is voting for a better future. (Thats what Obama is selling with his 'hope and change' message; can we please be a little original and steal the concept without recycling his words and sounding like me-too artists?) ... As in "McCain, proven reformer ... working for your future" "McCain - building a better tomorrow" or "Let's build a better tomorrow, together."

This 4-point campaign template above is a skeleton of what gave Reagan his blowout win in 1984.

McCain's main challenge in implementing the strategy will be the initiative. The Obama campaign has run a big, expensive, media-savvy campaign, and they can afford to do that and hog all the oxygen, because the Obamedia is in their corner and will repat the Obama campaign narrative as gospel (latest case in point: 20,000 people showed up to hear Obama speak in Berlin yet all the news services are carrying the bogus inflated numbers of the Obama campaign estimate of 200,000 instead. as what happened. Rejoinder.)

McCain will need a "grab the microphone" moment. A game-changer: Palin for VP? Simply beat Obama in debates? (but don't count on it). major speech soon? ... Or maybe ...One-term promise?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Stagecraft and suspence of disbelief
Briggsy quotes Frank Luntz: “...part of stagecraft is to capture the public’s imagination."

This explains why Cicero, exPat and others suspend logic regularly here. They willfully accept Obama's stage craft as real in order to fully experience and appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas. They suspend disbelief (and logic) of what would ordinarily be seen as incredible"

"In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith."
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge