Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That's what I'm talking about


I know Josh Marshall and David Kurtz over at TPM disagree, as they have called for ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! since August, but this is where Obama is at his best... neatly parrying the attack and turning it right back against McCain. He calls it BS, and points out that the McCain camp is focusing on this kind of nonsense because they have nothing to say about the issues... all the while looking calm, cool, collected... forceful, but not angry.

Journalistic organizations like TPM, as well as political junkies, tend to focus on the immediate, and are thus obsessed with the concept of "winning the news cycle". This is basically nonsense IMHO, because it ignores the long term cost of what the candidates do to win the news cycle. The thing that is missed with this kind of myopic viewpoint, is that Obama is attacking and he is going negative on McCain... it's just getting overshadowed by the completely insane sleaze spewing out of McCain campaign headquarters. What is Obama supposed to do? Try and out-crazy the McCain camp just to be the top story? No. First off, that would be impossible... second, like I said, these antics have a cost. The press is starting to bail, and even die-hard McCain mancrushers like Chris Matthews are going WTF dude. In a few days or so, once the convention bounce has receded, the Palin novelty has worn off, and Obama's back up by 3-5 points... will winning this news cycle with CRAZY be worth it? McCain comes out of this with further diminished cred with the press and looks desperate, while Obama comes off looking like the President, and as a man who cares about the American people, not trivialities.

I don't know, maybe I'm naive and this strategy is doomed to failure, but I'm with Howard Wolfson here... the Obama campaign built the best brand in politics (and beat the most powerful political machine in recent memory) with this strategy and I don't imagine they're going to stop now... and, quite frankly, I trust their political instincts more than I do TPM's or Paul Begala's.