McCain’s new ad…


..is an Obama ad. Washington’s broken and I’m here to fix it. Me from Bizarro world! Me like logic so much, me kill it!

I’M-REALLY-NOT-SURE-WHAT-MY-ARGUMENT-IS-BUT-I-THINK-I’M-ON-TO-SOMETHING UPDATE: So here’s a guy connecting Obama’s appeal to a chocolage-bar advert that is vague, indeed meaningless, but compelling. But isn’t it McCain who’s been getting maximum political mojo out of vague-indeed-meaningless this month? Think about it. I’ve posted a string of McCain ads in the last several days that are highly debatable when they weren’t simply incomprehensible. But they’re fascinating. And while they’ve been running, he’s closed the gap with Obama in national horse-race polls (he’s still in big trouble if you superimpose state polls onto the electoral map).

If I’m the McCain campaign team, I tell myself this weird, Dadaist, LSD-tripping campaign is succeeding very well in producing measurable gains against a formidable opponent.


McCain’s new ad…

  1. Not sure what McCain team were thinking when they put this one together. McCain’s been in Congress for at least 25 years I believe so if Washington is broken why is he only now getting around to ‘fixing’ it?

    And I am fairly certain it’s not a good idea to say America has gotten worse in the past 4 years when he’s been in the Senate and there’s a Repub president. This one is going to annoy the base.

  2. The Original Maverick… takes a sharp jab to his own ribs. Obama released a new attack ad as well. But it pales in comparison to the entertainment value of McCains ad team.

  3. This strikes me as more of the traditional ad for mass tv advertising, rather than the earlier ones which appeared to me to be more for the press/politicos.

    But it makes you think – McCain being the career politican, would he be running for Pres in 2008 if his Senate term didn’t extend until 2010? (similarly Obama and Hillary for that matter until 2012).

    Simply tack onto the end of the McCain ad:

    “As his latest testimonial pointed out, John McCain has been a terrific Senator, and the US now needs him more that ever. Let’s keep him there!”

    “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this ad.”

  4. I suck at political prognostications, but this ad strikes me as a poor idea. McCain has been having a lot of success with injecting Obama narratives into the media, making sure every discussion everywhere on TV is about how Obama is “arrogant” (like in 2000 every discussion was about Al Gore being dishonest, and in 2004 everything was about John Kerry being a flip-flopper). This has absolutely nothing to do with who’s more bi-partisan and everything to do with creating a narrative by which Obama’s every action can be judged.

    Releasing this ad now seems to indicate that McCain’s people think that the purpose of the Obama attack ads was to make it clear that McCain is the true bi-partisan problem solver, when it has little to do with that. They shouldn’t be breaking up the narrative.

    Which brings up the question: why are Democrats so bad at creating media narratives about Republicans? Do they just not understand how to do it, or are they just bad at it?

  5. Hmmmm, I don’t know. Doesn’t the “original Maverick” just remind voters of why they USED to like him, back when he was a maverick?

    Also, is there not the risk that while McCain pillories Obama for supposedly being vague, bordering on meaningless, the public will be simultaneously bombarded by ads in which McCain is vague, bordering on meaningless? I mean, how’s McCain “battling big oil” again?

    More and more it seem to me McCain is making strides by promising to do exactly what Barak Obama promises he’ll do. Obama says we need to fix Washington? McCain will fix Washington. Obama says we need to be tougher with Big Oil? McCain will be tougher with Big Oil. Obama says we should get the troops out of Iraq in 16 months? McCain thinks that’s a swell idea. In fact, he’ll bring out 3 brigades a month, not just two (that last on really shocked me when I heard it!).

    The message right now from McCain seems to be not so much “I have a better plan for America than Senator Obama” as it is “I have a better chance of effectively implementing Senator Obama’s plan for America than he does!”, or “Elect me, and I’ll actually do all the things my opponent says he’ll do!”.

    What’s funny is, it’s working so far.

  6. Can you post (or give me the text) the link to the ‘liner notes’ from your first iTunes Jazz compilation? Just listening to Kenny Garrett and curious to read what you had originally written…


  7. Ah. That would assume that my archives were held in tender care by a giant corporation that valued them as gems. This is not the case. My archives have vanished utterly. I’m pretty sure I said Kenny plays melodically with a lot of fire, and that the piece feaures Kenny Kirkland, a great pianist who left us too young.

  8. This ad would be much more effective if it showed McCain speaking to a crowd of 200 000 in Berlin. The McCain campaign can’t afford the digital editors you need for that? Not a good sign.

  9. I don’t think it’s these ads that have changed the dynamics of the race in the past week or so. McCain is not really playing them on tv, only being released on his website and YouTube, but media is talking about them for certain.

    I think the change last week was due to Obama playing race card, implying all white people are racist. I don’t think Americans appreciate the accusation when they see how well Obama and his wife have done for themselves.

  10. implying all white people are racist.

    Stretching it a bit there aren’t we jwl?

  11. to offer the rabidly partisan view of a McCainiac:

    I think the whole string of ads have been really great.

    This last one is the least interesting to me because it isn’t an attack ad. McCain’s long career, in the context of this ad, only underlines the message. If Washington needed anything, its more McCains.

    The other ads aren’t weird to me – but I’m already sold on the narrative which is perfectly summarized by the quote from Barak claiming he’ll lower sea levels across the planet and then slapping up a picture of Moses parting the Red Sea.

    The ads aren’t Dadaist. The Obama campaign – scrath that – Obama movement is.

  12. If no Americans read the news, or do the math (republican = republican, 1 = 1, hmm) this is a fine ad!

    And most of them don’t so really it’s just fine. Poke your chad out beside the ‘R’!

  13. Blues Clair I might be stretching it a bit but I am not certain, who knows exactly what he thinks.

    He did say his grandmother was mildly racist and that she was a ‘typical white person’. He also talks a lot about what he looks like and how he isn’t similar to past presidents. He is definitely playing the race card.

    Results from Rasmussen poll about McCain’s ad with Hilton/Spears and Obama’s dollar bill comment:

    Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen news coverage of the McCain campaign commercial that includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and suggests that Barack Obama is a celebrity just like them. Of those, just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not.

    However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.

    Not surprisingly, the McCain ad generates significantly different perceptions along racial and ethnic lines. Most African-American voters—58%–saw the McCain ad as racist. Just 18% of white voters and 14% of all other voters shared that view.

    As for Obama’s comment, 53% of white voters saw it as racist, as did 44% of African-Americans and 61% of all other voters.

  14. Hey PW, have you (or anyone else around these parts) seen Paris Hilton’s response ad to McCain. I think it’s on Funny or Die or something. It is mildly amusing, and might be worth a cross reference.

  15. To jwl: I hear what you are saying about the base, but McCain is simply going to have to take that risk in order to reach out to the independents and moderate Democrats he needs in order to win.

    Let’s face it — had the Republicans selected a more traditional GOP nominee like Romney, Huckabee, or Thompson, that candidate would be down by 20 points right now. The only reason why the GOP even has a hope of retaining the White House is the fact that McCain has a lot of bi-partisan appeal. The public knows that he and Bush had their differences, to put it mildly, which is why Obama’s attempts to tie him to Bush aren’t sticking all that well. McCain is seen as “authentic”, as the marketing types like to say these days. Whether he is or not can be debated all day, but there is little doubt that McCain has established himself a bit of a brand in American politics, which is why he is hanging in there during a year that is shaping up to be a massacre for the GOP in the House and Senate. Running an ad playing up that “maverick” past helps him reach out to independents at a time when Obama has been knocked off message.

    The GOP base will rally to McCain when push comes to shove. Heck, even Bob Dole got a dead cat bounce in the last week of the 1996 election. The GOP vote “came home”, thus making it a somewhat more respectable defeat than it was shaping up to be. If the GOP base can rally around a candidate who ran a campaign as brutal as Dole’s, they will no doubt rally around McCain.

  16. That Paris video is pretty funny.

    Male voice over (with pics of McCain): “He’s the oldest celebrity on the world. Like, super old. Old enough to remember when dancing was a sin, and beer was served in a bucket. But, is he ready to lead?”.


  17. Dennis I don’t know what to think about McCain and his campaign because he’s doing the exact opposite of what is normal. Ordinarily, the nominee of each party is appealing to the base and has to modify their policies to attract the middle/independents.

    Repubs realized that traditional conservative candidate had little chance, as you point out, so they choose all Democrats favourite Republican and now the base is taking a ‘lie back and think of england’ type attitude. That’s dangerous because conservatives and evangelicals have history of sitting on their hands and not voting if they don’t like the candidate.

    So I have come to the conclusion that McCain has to do the opposite of the normal strategy – he needs to appeal to the base and not worry about the middle because he already has the independents.

  18. CNN’s poll today is “Whose energy plan shows the most promise? McCain’s, Obama’s or Hilton’s.

    Right now it’s
    McCain 27%
    Obama 33%
    Paris 39%


    Worse, McCain is expected to call today for an “all of the above” plan for energy. Probably an interesting plan, but man, I bet the McCain campaign wishes they’d made that announcement 24 hours sooner! How can they POSSIBLY avoid the spin on the Comedy shows that McCain is adopting Paris Hilton’s energy strategy a day after she announced it?!?!

    Paris for VP?


  19. I second the Lord’s nomination of Paris for VP – consider the demographics as they are almost a counter point : young, blonde, woman, money, more money and more brains than what is superficially evident and according to her own promo she’s hot (personally I disagree on this one too skinny – eat something Paris you can afford it). I think she could turn in to be a subtle and yet strangely enough a vicious attack dog (there’s another joke here but I am not going there)for the Prez!

  20. My understanding of the standard U.S. political campaign is that you spend primary season appealing to the base. The second you have sewn up your party’s nomination, the race to the centre begins. First one there wins. Primary season ended long ago, which means that both candidates are scrapping for the centre.

    At this stage of the campaign, and of his career, there really isn’t much John McCain can, or should do to appeal to conservatives and evangelicals. (Besides, if they were as influencial as they thought, how did McCain win the nomination? All the conservative bloggers and talk radio types fought tooth and nail against McCain in the primaries, and it didn’t matter a bit.) Those voters will decide on their own how badly they want to avoid having Barack Obama in the White House. McCain’s task over the next three months is to convince independents and moderate Democrats that he is fit to be President, and that handing the Democrats the keys to both the executive and legislative branches of government would be a mistake.

    I think there is a lot of life in the ticket-splitting argument for McCain. In fact, I think you saw a glimpse of it in his latest ad. McCain can say, “vote for me to keep Congress in check”. Barack Obama simply can’t run on that, for obvious reasons.

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