Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

McCain Forgetting the First Rule of Fight Club
Real Clear Politics ^ | August 03, 2008 | Salena Zito

Posted on 08/03/2008 12:00:56 PM PDT by Publius804

McCain Forgetting the First Rule of Fight Club

By Salena Zito

An old political adage says, "He who sets the debate wins the election."

If the presidential election was held tomorrow, it would be hello President Barack Obama because, so far, John McCain is handing him a victory.

McCain is better than the campaign he has run so far. Most people admit that McCain is an inspirational figure - even Obama has admitted that - so why isn't McCain telling voters where he wants to lead them?

Instead, his campaign is all about his opponent.

"He himself is reinforcing that this campaign is all about Obama," says Democratic strategist Mark Siegel. "His ads and his message are all negatives. The problem with that is, it is driving his own negatives up as well."

(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: crankyoldman; election; electionpresident; gop; mccain; mccainlist; message; obama; platform; poorpoorrinos; presidency

1 posted on 08/03/2008 12:00:56 PM PDT by Publius804
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Publius804
"He himself is reinforcing that this campaign is all about Obama," says Democratic strategist Mark Siegel. "His ads and his message are all negatives. The problem with that is, it is driving his own negatives up as well."

He has no choice but to define Obama since the Obama media cheer lead for him. And how come Obama poll numbers have tanked? Siegel your guy is a loser.

2 posted on 08/03/2008 12:06:23 PM PDT by Red Steel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Steel

I agree Red, what makes me think this strategy is working is the way the libs are whining about it. The Emperor/Messiah has no clothes and McCain is pointing that out.


3 posted on 08/03/2008 12:08:21 PM PDT by Publius804
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

I disagree entirely. The McCain campaign is brilliantly foiling the Drive-By Media’s attempt to overwhelm them with their lickspittle adoration of The One.

They are taking the lead in defining BO. It is classic and effective. Everyone knows who John McCain is. Nobody knows who Barrrrack is, so they’re telling them.


4 posted on 08/03/2008 12:09:52 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (I am voting for McCain because he is white.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804
Shut up Salena. It's working the libs hate it.
5 posted on 08/03/2008 12:09:58 PM PDT by mimaw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

All I hear from all sides is that McCain is running a terrible campaign, but he is tied in a time where he should be far behind. He is doing a great job in the past 10 days redefining his opponent. His positive campaign will begin at his convention where he will set the tone for the last 2 months.

Also, I like that they are using Obama’s own words to define him in these commercials. Kudos to the campaign for thier work.


6 posted on 08/03/2008 12:11:23 PM PDT by ilgipper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ilgipper

I also think the McCain camp is doing a great job. They are turning the media adoration and huge crowds of Obama into a negative not a positive.


7 posted on 08/03/2008 12:16:45 PM PDT by KansasGirl ( b/c Obama is just creepy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

I think his ads are working as well, but I think he should be way out in front of Obama. If he would also run positive ads about himself as well as the negative ads about Obama, I believe his poll numbers would increase while Obama’s decrease.


8 posted on 08/03/2008 12:21:17 PM PDT by murron (Proud Marine Mom)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KansasGirl; Jeff Chandler

They need to keep this up and portray Obama as the candidate of the liberal elites. The only change he will bring about is the change thats left in your pockets after his huge tax increases.


9 posted on 08/03/2008 12:21:40 PM PDT by Publius804
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

Instead, his campaign is all about his opponent.”]

McCain doesn’t have to be inspirational. Barry has committed so many errors that McCain may be able to simply shut up and become the default choice. Give the anointed one another three months and the only ones who’ll be voting dim in any significant numbers will be the hard core socialists and certain ethnic groups. Negative is gonna be real effective this time around.


10 posted on 08/03/2008 12:21:50 PM PDT by bereanway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ilgipper

This article is bs. McCain is using the time before the convention to define Obama as a celebrity without profile ,
a flip flopper and an arogant empty suit who is too afraid to debate. After the convention , McCain will have plenty
of time to tear Obama apart on issues after Obama’s character is destroy. His reference to 96 is right except
this time McCain is the Clinton doing the defining and Obama
is the Dole (where’s the outrage) , except Obama’s outrage is his race card he pulls out whenever it gets tough.


11 posted on 08/03/2008 12:40:18 PM PDT by RED SOUTH
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

The McCain team is showing us that they have to courage and focus to raise an important question: Are we going to allow someone into the White House solely on the merits of image over substance? If that were to happen, what nature of danger would we be vulnerable if the chief executive were excused from scrutiny?


12 posted on 08/03/2008 12:50:43 PM PDT by jonrick46
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ilgipper
Also, I like that they are using Obama’s own words to define him in these commercials.

Most definitely!

13 posted on 08/03/2008 12:54:10 PM PDT by b9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: jonrick46

That is the question that needs to be asked again and again. Is Obama capable? We all know the answer is NO! Can you imagine Obama sitting across the table from Vladamir Putin or Hugo Chavez? They’d eat him alive while he’d be telling them about the audacity of a hope. Obama is the quintessential candidate for a vapid decaying media driven age in American politics. He belongs on Lifetime tv not in the White House.


14 posted on 08/03/2008 12:56:03 PM PDT by Publius804
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: bereanway

Facts are stubborn things.
Ronald Reagan


15 posted on 08/03/2008 1:01:24 PM PDT by Canedawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

” so why isn’t McCain telling voters where he wants to lead them?”

Perhaps because if they knew where he wanted to lead them, they’d never follow. He’s made it this far because those voting for him don’t have a clue about his positions and votes.

McCain Supporters Farthest Off the Mark
http://www.cis.org/articles/2008/voter_release_08.html


16 posted on 08/03/2008 1:03:42 PM PDT by AuntB ( "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

John McCain has as much chance of winning in November 2008 as Bob Dole did in November 1996. McCain is about as Republican as Ted Kennedy and cares about no one but himself. McCain’s campaign so far is so uninspiring and amateurish that it makes the Dukakis campaign look brilliant. It’s going to be a Democratic landslide for Obama.


17 posted on 08/03/2008 1:08:45 PM PDT by medscribe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Chandler

The full stadium for his nomination speech could work agianst him.

It’s a necessary strategy for McCain.


18 posted on 08/03/2008 1:13:01 PM PDT by Finalapproach29er (Democrats still want to Impeach Pres. Bush and/or VP Cheney; keep your eye on these House hearings.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

Negative political ads work. Ask Dukakis, Carter, Kerry. The GOP’s best chance of defeating Barry Hussein is to trot out his Trotskyite friends, his Communist mentor, his radical Leftist agenda, his egomania, etc.
There is an abundance of material that McCain should use without mercy to discredit the snow job that the msm is trying to pull on the electorate. So far, the only group that it’s succeeding with are the clueless university students, the dedicated Socialists, and Black racists.


19 posted on 08/03/2008 1:15:35 PM PDT by kittymyrib
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

yes, but the election is not tomorrow. McCain is running for the november election. Most people will not pay attention until after Labor Day. Let’s see what he does after then.


20 posted on 08/03/2008 1:23:43 PM PDT by Sci Fi Guy (Brian De Palma hates America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

The first rule (and second rule) of Fight Club is “You do not talk about Fight Club”, not “You do not talk about your opponent”.


21 posted on 08/03/2008 1:30:12 PM PDT by RichInOC (Obama '08: Ich Bin Ein Beginner.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804
"McCain is better than the campaign he has run so far."

That's a stretch.

22 posted on 08/03/2008 1:31:38 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Bernanke is a Monetary Slut!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

Basically, the only two ways McCain can get press or air time is to talk about Obama or make a gaffe.

Go figure.


23 posted on 08/03/2008 1:38:44 PM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KansasGirl
As I said elsewhere, in the immortal words of Hollywood producer Jack Wolz to Tom Hagen, "A man in my position can't be made to look ridiculous." The haloed one is , by his own hand and that of the MSM, being made to look ridiculous.

When the final 8 weeks begin after Labor Day, the McCain people will hit more than enough big issues to make the haloed one feel that he's awakened with the head of a horse in his bed.

24 posted on 08/03/2008 2:00:00 PM PDT by xkaydet65 (Freedom is purchased not with gold, but with steel.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Publius804
The author could not be more wrong. This election will have little or nothing to do with McCain. The simple choice is Obama or “other”, and the way things are shaping up, “other” looks like a shoe in. The less we hear about McCain, the better his chances. In fact, the only way McCain could screw it up would be by attracting attention to himself, hence the negative campaign.
25 posted on 08/03/2008 2:00:27 PM PDT by PUGACHEV
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PUGACHEV
How do you feel Obama’s massive get-out-the-vote strategy compares to polls? Does it really matter what the polls say, if one candidate is able to produce more votes on election day?

Obama has the largest field operation in the history of American politics.

In Alaska, Obama has four field offices open (Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Palmer) to McCain’s none. In Montana, Obama had six offices to McCain’s none in July ...

In Virginia, Obama has a 20-6 field office edge, with as many as 60 expected to be open in the near future ... in each of Florida and Pennsylvania Obama is expected to have a minimum of 200 paid organizers.

In Wisconsin, Obama has 15 offices open now, with 24 expected to be open by mid-August. The staffers are directly paid by Obama’s “Campaign for Change” organization. By contrast, Republicans have five party offices open that handle both McCain field work as well as the state leg. races, which somewhat dilutes the effort.

Already there is staff on the ground in traditional battleground states, as well as a number of nontraditional ones. Current plans call for large-scale operations in at least 22 states, with medium operations in many, many others. But paid staff are just one small part of what campaign manager David Plouffe has described as “the persuasion army.”

From the July 19th edition of the Boston Globe:

“The climate has made millions of Americans who haven't been involved in a political campaign ever in their lifetimes very active,” said. “We estimate that 70 percent of our grass-roots volunteers haven't worked in a campaign before. . . . We're somewhere just shy of 2 million volunteers, and we think we can potentially triple that on Election Day.”

That would mean 6 million volunteers. For comparison, about 116 million people voted in the 2004 presidential election.

The Obama-Clinton battle set primary turnout records in state after state, and Hildebrand expects more of the same in November: “We think the turnout will be beyond record turnout, and if we're effective, we will have done two additional things - brought in millions of new people who are registered to vote and we will increase the percentage of registered voters who will turn out.”

To accomplish that, Obama’s campaign is assembling what would be the largest field operation in the history of American politics. Advertising and campaign communications will be important and debate performances will be critical, but the Obama campaign is investing heavily in the importance of organizing voters and getting them to the polls on Nov. 4.

... “This allows us to increase the volume of voters we're talking to and have it be done with people who live in their community,” Hildebrand said.

Veteran Democratic operative John Sasso of Massachusetts said that level of organization is “unprecedented on the Democratic side.” The Obama model, particularly in its use of the Internet as an organizing tool, is a significant upgrade, he said.

“People tend to believe information delivered by people they know and who live in their neighborhood more than an ad they see on television or what some third party from out of their state is telling them,” said Sasso, who supported Clinton in the primaries and has played key roles in many presidential campaigns. “It can really change the electoral map.”

Throughout the day today, we'll be looking at some of the many events that have been going on across the country as we begin to build out our ground operation. In many places, there are already staff and offices that you can connect with. No matter where you live, you can sign-up for updates on campaign activities in your area and connect with grassroots supporters in your community.

There is no better way to reach to voters than through face to face contact. What began in Iowa and South Carolina is now being replicated across the country. The largest field operation in the history of American politics presents an unprecedented opportunity for ordinary people to get involved. Per obama’s website.

He might have 6,000,000 volunteers in addition to hundreds of paid staff for get out the vote. Their minds are already made up, and the majority of these are new voters. Obama has the money to spend on driving his get-out-the-vote effort.

26 posted on 08/03/2008 2:14:52 PM PDT by falpro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Publius804
McCain is better than the campaign he has run so far. Most people admit that McCain is an inspirational figure - even Obama has admitted that - so why isn't McCain telling voters where he wants to lead them?

Instead, his campaign is all about his opponent.


Pretty good article, and something I've bee saying for a few weeks now - the moment McCain started making this all about Obama, is the moment that he finally lost the race.

It didn't work for Hillary Clinton (and she played much dirtier than McCain has), but like somebody said, when McCain started heavily courting Hillary supporters, even featuring them on his web page for a while, it was to be expected he might try some of the tactics that appealed to those supporters, but he forgets that Hillary lost.

When you make your campaign all about your opponent, you may point out their flaws to a few undecideds, but in the process, you only make the case why they shouldn't vote for Obama, you don't make the caes of why they should vote for you, and that's much more important.

You also give your opponent a chance to refute anything you say, because the media immediately rushes to him to hear his side, and more importantly you are giving your opponent much more air time by focusing on him.
27 posted on 08/03/2008 2:29:47 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ilgipper

Agreed and all the Senate and House Pubs running should put out ads defining not only Obama but all 435 Dem socialist pacifists. A .30 second ad could do it with a simple list of 5 issues where Pubs differ with their opponents and the Dem Messiah.


28 posted on 08/03/2008 2:34:04 PM PDT by phillyfanatic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Publius804
IMHO McCain is not running to win he is running to show, nothing more. while the media is having seemingly minute by minute Barackgasims over this Marxist want-ta-be there is no real choice for the huddled masses. We collectively bend over and drop trou for our "flavor of the month" politician we accept the LCD (lowest common denominator) hopping we will get something other than what we have, ie a ruling class in Washington. They throw a few bones and we (collectively) are awed by the BS that they sling, but yet we do nothing, and wail and gnash teeth when they screw us again. Term limits would be nice, but real action from the electors would be at least novel.

Oh well, I vote no to either. Since I do not believe that McCain is in this to win, I will not vote for him.

Perhaps Pat Paulson

29 posted on 08/03/2008 2:50:14 PM PDT by SERE_DOC (Todays politicians, living proof why we have and need a second amendment to the constitution.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: medscribe

You’re right. Let’s tear him down so we can usher in the presidency of the second coming of Lenin. /sarc


30 posted on 08/03/2008 3:08:04 PM PDT by frankiep (Every socialist is a disguised dictator - Ludwig von Mises)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

I think the slaying of the Clinton “sopranos” by B.O., out of the blue, rattled everyone - McCain staff included, MSM, the left, the right - everyone.

McCain & Co needed some time to “process” this, rethink what happened, decide a strategy.

It’s not over yet


31 posted on 08/03/2008 3:14:13 PM PDT by 4Liberty (discount window = bank corporate welfare + inflation tax)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KansasGirl
They are turning the media adoration and huge crowds of Obama into a negative not a positive.

There. Fixed it.
32 posted on 08/03/2008 4:54:37 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Publius804

Washington lobbyist Mark Siegel

Siegel, a former Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee and Deputy Assistant to the President in the Carter White House

During the 2000 presidential recount crisis, he was the on-air consultant to The Today Show on NBC.

During three Democratic National Conventions, Siegel served as political consultant to Walter Cronkite, acting as his analyst and spotter.

Siegel was the chief strategist of the Humphrey for President Campaign in 1972, the political director of the Democratic National Convention in 1976 and the Coordinator of the Draft Kennedy movement in 1980.

He has also served as speechwriter to President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Henny Eman of Aruba.

Mark Siegel was a very close friend and confidante of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Their relationship spanned the past twenty-five years, during which time Mark served as her representative in Washington during the tenures of her two governments, was her speech writer, and worked with her on her historic speech before a joint session of congress in 1989.


33 posted on 08/03/2008 5:01:03 PM PDT by kcvl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankiep
You’re right. Let’s tear him down so we can usher in the presidency of the second coming of Lenin. /sarc

So far in this century, the Republicans are not doing much better than the Democrats. They waste Congressional majorities, they give us a larger, more powerful federal government that is keen on removing even more control from local and state entities over various issues. They don't listen to their military commanders until it's almost too late and/or pick the wrong ones to listen too based on how closely they align themselves with the official line. In a very important Supreme Court decision, they sided against land owners. I could go on, but it's too damn depressing.
34 posted on 08/03/2008 5:33:30 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: af_vet_rr
Pretty good article, and something I've bee saying for a few weeks now - the moment McCain started making this all about Obama, is the moment that he finally lost the race.

What positives does McCain have to run on beyond the fact that he's not Obama? It seems to me that his being 'not Obama' is by far his best quality, so why should he not focus on it?

Frankly, I'd much rather have someone who could run a positive campaign, but I don't really see how Obama could do that.

35 posted on 08/03/2008 6:50:20 PM PDT by supercat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: supercat
What positives does McCain have to run on beyond the fact that he's not Obama? It seems to me that his being 'not Obama' is by far his best quality, so why should he not focus on it?

When your platform is "I'm not the other guy" and not "You should vote for me because I believe this, this, and this", then you probably shouldn't be running.

Of course, McCain started out on "I've got this experience, I've done this, done that, etc". I guess maybe he ran of steam and got desperate and pulled a Hillary.

Unfortunately for McCain, and Hillary has proven this, it doesn't work against Obama. Hillary was doing everything she could to say that Obama had all but planted bombs all over the place and she still lost. In the end, Hillary may have won the angry white middle-aged Virginia Slims-smoking female demographic, but she lost overall.

To McCain's credit, he hasn't went as far as Hillary has, but it's pretty clear he's following her campaign's line-of-attack and it's pretty clear he'll end up losing. People get tired of that stuff, and they begin to lap up everything Obama says because they are tired of politicians attacking one another (regardless of whether it's deserved or not).

It's pretty sad that McCain is handing the campaign to Obama. I know that after what Rove (and Bush) did to McCain in 2000, that McCain (and his wife) would never really forgive Rove for the vicious rumors and what-not, but at some point McCain has to swallow his pride and try and get Rove on board.
36 posted on 08/03/2008 7:11:27 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: medscribe
McCain’s campaign so far is so uninspiring and amateurish that it makes the Dukakis campaign look brilliant. It’s going to be a Democratic landslide for Obama.

While I believe that McCain's campaign thus far is pretty much as you describe, the fact is that the Obama campaign is even worse. The truth of this is attested to by recent polling.

McCain should have been buried by now, with all the advantages given the Dems thus far. Fact is, despite all these advantages, McCain is still in a dead heat. Ask yourself why?

the infowarrior

37 posted on 08/03/2008 7:59:15 PM PDT by infowarrior
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: frankiep

McCain has not given any reason why anyone should vote FOR him. You can’t just be against something or someone and win elections. You must be FOR something, and McCain so far has come up empty.


38 posted on 08/03/2008 8:30:37 PM PDT by medscribe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: infowarrior

Remember 1980? 2008 is 1980 but this time the Dems will have the landslide. The polls during that election were pretty close, right up until Election Day, which turned out to be a blowout for Ronald Reagan.

McCain can’t even excite the GOP base less than 4 months from November. There is no way in hell he’s going to pick up the independent voters he needs to win.

As for the polls that steadily come out, they’re totally useless. Remember that it’s not the popular vote that wins (or we’d have President Al Gore for the past 8 years), it’s the electoral vote, and only the electoral vote, that counts. There are no “blue” states that McCain even comes close to picking up right now. Given the defections of the RINOS in states like NH, CO, NM, etc, Obama will pick up enough of those battleground states to win the 270 electoral votes needed to get the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


39 posted on 08/03/2008 8:38:26 PM PDT by medscribe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Publius804; Red Steel
I agree Red, what makes me think this strategy is working is the way the libs are whining about it.

Yep, liberal scumbag whining is always the best barometer.

40 posted on 08/03/2008 8:43:58 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson