Friday, July 11, 2008

The News isn't all that Bad for McCain, But You'd Never Know It

There is a little - just a little - good news for McCain, though you would never know it.  Last week, the Weekly Standard noted how Newsweek has nothing but accolades to shower upon Obama and his wife; and for McCain and his wife, only storm clouds, horrors and derision.

The same is true at NBC's Today show, which is obviously as bad as or even worse than MSNBC.  Andrea Mitchell is dragged in early in the morning to do her usual negative story on the McCain campaign.  It is sickening, so I shut it off now.  Today the anti-McCain news was on the overzealousness of his friend and economic advisor, former US Senator Phil Gramm.  Tomorrow it will be more of the same garbage from NBC and MSNBC, but the Weekly Standard blog has uncovered some interesting, if not momentary good news for the McCain campaign.  You will never hear this from Newsweek, MSNBC or the Today show:

Required Reading

Dean Barnett July 11, 2008 5:28 PM - original item

1) From Rasmussen Reports, “The Daily Presidential Tracking Poll” by Scott Rasmussen

Over the weekend, I was having an impromptu conversation with the McCain campaign’s deputy director of online communications. During our chat, I predicted, “Your guy will be within two points of Obama in the Rasmussen tracking poll by the end of the week.”

I mention this anecdote not merely to highlight the tantalizing list of glittering political all-stars that I habitually hobnob with, but also to illustrate how the fact that Obama was damaging his campaign narrative with his serial flip-flops was easily foreseeable. Lo and behold, in today’s Rasmussen tracking poll, McCain has pulled to within two points.

Obviously this has nothing to do with anything the McCain campaign has done. In spite of the McCainiacs’ best efforts, balanced-budget-mania has yet to sweep the nation. And the candidate’s over-the-top disparaging of social security hasn’t served as a bracing helping of straight talk that has energized his campaign. In order to preserve whatever dwindling chances I have of someday getting a seat on the Straight Talk Express, I will only mention in passing this week’s cloddish efforts of campaign surrogates Carly Fiorina and Phil Gramm.

A few days ago, we discussed how this campaign will boil down to Obama vs. Not Obama.  Not Obama had a very good week.

2) From Real Clear Politics, “What’s Wrong With Senator Obama” by Bob Beckel.

Beckel’s article takes a sympathetic look at his 14 year-old son’s plight. In short, the lad has stopped swooning:

I was a little surprised last week when my son asked me, "What's wrong with Senator Obama?" I asked why. "Because he sounds different", he says. Thinking the kid was referring to Obama's recent moves to the center on some issues I tell him every candidate for president repositions for the general election. My son gives me one of those teenage 'what planet are you on' looks and says, "never mind."

It took awhile but I realized my point about Obama's repositioning on Iraq, FISA, etc meant nothing to my kid. All he knew was that the "Obama of Summer" was somehow different than the Yes We Can "Obama of Winter" - and it bothered him. To my kid it wasn't a question of issues, but a perception that somehow Obama had changed. As Barack Obama learned this week it is a perception shared by thousands of his supporters who do understand the issues and, unlike my son, can vote.

Does Obama really sound different or are people just hearing him differently? The uplift he provided earlier in the campaign season was so bracing precisely because it was new. But as Achilles discovered with his shield, nothing can stay new forever. We conservatives began months ago to mock Obama for labeling every issue that wasn’t to his liking a “distraction.” All he wanted to talk about was Hope/Change.

But the problem with politics is that you have to make all sorts of Hobson's choices that will escape the Hope/Change paradigm. For instance, do you beat back the environmentalists and make them accept common sense policies, or do you tell the rest of the country to lump it and enjoy its $4/gallon gas? On another level, do you talk common sense about Iraq and enrage the left or do you remain committed to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

In other words, politics has to be conducted on a lower plane than the one Obama comfortably operates on.

3) From the Washington Post, “Donors Asked to Give For Two” by Matthew Mosk

Forget about the unforgivable cheesiness of Barack Obama raising money for Hillary Clinton while he has his own pressing matters to tend to. (Is this indicative of the way he’ll stand up for American interests as president?) More interesting are the dark hints being proffered by Obama command central regarding the status of the campaign’s once historic fundraising:

In a conference call Wednesday night, a top Obama adviser told members of the senator's national finance committee that "there's a huge amount of money we need to raise, and we have to be aware of that," according to one person on the call, who said the campaign, combined with the Democratic National Committee, hopes to have raised $450 million by Election Day.

Several of Obama's top fundraisers said yesterday that they don't think trend lines showing three straight months of declining donations to the candidate are cause for concern.

The three months in question are March, April and May. So what will June’s numbers look like? Sean Oxendine, one of the wiz kids at Next Right, notices a pattern:

Obama's then-record-breaking $32M fundraising haul in January was released on February 4. Which just happened to be right before Super Tuesday.

Obama's record-breaking $55M fundraising haul in February was announced on March 6. Two days after the Ohio/Texas campaigns, when he desperately needed to release some good news.

Obama's pretty-darned-good $40M+ fundraising haul in March was announced on April 3, early in the month.

But Obama's now-under-expectations $31M in April wasn't announced until May 20. You remember, the day of the Oregon and Kentucky primary, when everyone was talking about things other than fundraising numbers?

And the May numbers ($22M) weren't announced until June 20. A Friday, aka "bury news day."

So in other words, Obama's campaign gets the importance of the news cycle with respect to fundraising. In the heat of the most competitive primary in recent times, Obama managed to get his fundraising dollars counted in 3-4 days. But now, it’s taking him 3 weeks to do it?

It is still idle speculation, but we might be in for a treat tomorrow or next Friday (or whatever day they can bury the numbers).

Since Bob Beckel’s son and I have already made the point about the declining enthusiasm of the Obama minions and I hate to beat a dead horse, I’ll instead take note of a different phenomenon. Remember a few months ago when Obama and his champions (especially in the lefty blogopshere) crowed about how they and Obama had figured out how to turn the internet into an ATM? What's happened since then? Did they misplace the recipe to the secret sauce?

It was obvious at the time that Obama’s internet fundraising, much like Ron Paul’s, had nothing to do with the campaign’s facility with the intertubes. Those who thought otherwise probably believe that the trees push the wind. Both candidates’ fundraising successes can be attributed to having captured lightning in a bottle. Of course, the relevant political consultants will promise that they can do the trick again on demand. And candidates will hire them based on that pledge. But there is no formula to such things. Howard Dean had similar successes in 2004. Joe Trippi, the purported architect of those successes, had no luck recreating them for John Edwards’s campaign this time around.

4) From, “Conservatives Deeply Depressed Over McCain Campaign” by Richard Viguerie.

Back in the day, Richard Viguerie earned quite a name for himself by inventing the mail (or something like that, anyway). Now, having modernized with the times, he scampers around the internet sending out a seemingly endless supply of emails lamenting everyone else’s lack of conservative bona fides. John McCain is currently Viguerie’s Public Enemy #1:

John McCain has had the Republican nomination sewn up for five months and has done little to convince conservatives they should come off the sidelines and fight for him.

Personnel is policy and if Senator McCain won’t surround himself with conservatives during this campaign, when he desperately needs them, why should we think that he will have conservatives making critical decisions in his administration?

Senator McCain has never been a conservative, is not one now, and will not govern as one. From McCain-Feingold to cap-and-trade, he is a supporter of one Big Government scheme after another. History shows that, in the Oval Office, where almost all the political pressure comes from supporters of Big Government, he would only get worse.

Let’s put aside the intellectual incoherence for a moment. On second thought, let’s not. In Viguerie’s telling, John McCain never has been and never will be a conservative. And yet if McCain surrounded himself with conservatives during the campaign, Viguerie would feel much more enthusiastic about things. Talk about a cheap date!

Me, I take the opposite tack. I realize that McCain has several policy inclinations that are markedly different from my own. But he did win the nomination. And he is much better than the other guy, the one who responds to Iran testing missiles that could destroy Israel by lamenting America's provocations. So I will vote for McCain, and do so relatively enthusiastically.

And I don’t want McCain to try to disingenuously purchase my undiluted enthusiasm. If he offered a massive tax cut package like Bob Dole did in 1996, I would have the exact same reaction I did to Dole’s pledge – I wouldn’t believe it. In other words, McCain should throw me under the bus. Doing so has worked for him so far. And he should run in the middle where he’s happy and where the swing votes fortuitously lie.

5) From the, “The Q is for Quality” by Ayman al Zawihiri

Consultant-speak meets Al Qaeda, and the result is comic genius.

Hello, valued Al Qaeda associate! Welcome to the inaugural issue of Vistas, the new electronic newsletter designed to keep you informed on all the fast-paced comings and goings within our Total Quality Jihad family.

In a dynamic marketplace characterized by rapid change and unexpected missiles, even the most disciplined adaptive organizations can find it challenging to keep the lines of communication open. Without understanding the strategic "big picture," associates will sometimes be confused by misleading rumors they read on unreliable infidel blogs and websites like "F**ked Insurgency" and "Jihad Deadpool." With Vistas, you will learn the real story -- of how we are attacking the competitive casualty gap with a paradigm-changing tactical adaptive strategy focused on paradise value optimization. Yes, there will be some changes, but our core leadership mission remains the same one established by Chairman Emeritus Osama Bin Laden when he founded Al Qaeda in his family goat shed nearly 15 years ago: to create a robust, cave-centric, best-of-breed strategic organization for global caliphate management solution services. If we all pull together as accountable subteams, we are on-track to rebuild momentum after the Q4 Infidel elections!

As you have possibly heard by now, Team Satan and their subsidiary Iraqi Security Forces have made several key market acquisitions in the last few months. In order to meet Q3 Return-on-Mayhem targets and maximize stakeholder value, we need to refocus our client-facing resource model. As we are currently seeking a 17th round of venture funding, budgets are extremely tight, and this will require reducing our internal work team payroll load through adaptive right-sizing on a go-forward basis. Accounting estimates indicate that much of this will be achieved via natural attrition and Apache Hellfire missiles. Still, in order to achieve costing targets, we will need to engage in involuntary outboarding.

The Communications department will be most directly effected by this initiative, as we continue transitioning of our day-to-day public relations efforts to low-cost offshore service providers like Huffington Post, DailyKos, and Democratic Underground.

Read the whole thing.


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