We're heading into the final two weeks and let's be honest, right now Barack Obama is in the driver's seat. $150 million dollars raised in September - if I'm not mistaken, practically matching dollar for dollar everything that has been raised by the Republican National Committee over the entire cycle. Colin Powell - who still has massive amounts of credibility with the great ignorant mass that comprise a majority of perennial fence-sitters just endorsed Obama, which means a very good newscycle or two at this crucial juncture for the Obama/Biden ticket. And finally, Obama just drew a 100000 strong crowd in bell-weather Missouri.
So let's not fool ourselves; even with the caveat that two weeks is a long time in politics, it is now very definitely Obama's election to lose. Even with polls being in the low single digits, a razor thin 0.5 point win is just as good as 15 point landslide. And with the Press on the lookout to deep-six any Obama/Biden gaffes down the memory hole and play up any gaffes (or even invent some when such gaffes fail to present themselves) from the McCain camp, a McCain victory is going to be something of a miracle for the historians to marvel at.
But it can be done.
The GOP and the McCain Campaign are reported to cumulatively have over $160 million on hand - considering Obama's September fundraising numbers this is probably significantly less than what the other side has to play with going down the final stretch. Ironically, McCain would not be at such a disadvantage if not for his own McCain-Feingold legislation - at the time, when he was informed that he was slitting his own party's throat for media plaudits, he scoffed and continued to preen for the cameras.
That said, provided McCain still wants to win this rather than going for an "honorable loss" as his long-time CoS is allegedly advocating, all $160 million needs to be blown in these last sixteen days, prudence be damned. If loans need to be taken out to supplement the money on hand, they should be taken out and the money spent.
McCain's only hope now lies with his campaign and the RNC fighting the air war better than anyone has ever fought it in modern campaign history. Note that it's not a matter of quantity (even though that's important), because Obama has more than enough to compete and prevail easily on that front. It's now about quality, addressing the topmost concern(s) on voters' minds, balancing strong attacks on the other side (never ever forget; good negative campaigning works - every single time), with providing clear, sharp and coherent plans for the future in a way that voters only seeing/hearing for the first time.
This is what I'm praying for, that the McCain campaign and the RNC had this planned all along - waiting for just that right moment to open fire with all they've got. I'm using the word "praying" because to actually expect it is another matter altogether.
As most of us have already discovered; the GOP earned its "Stupid Party" moniker fair and square.
In 2006, I fooled myself into believing that the GOP's silence on the air waves was part of some cunning plan, that the party leadership was not so stupid as to completely ignore the air part of the campaign to pour everything into the GOTV machine Rove and Mehlman built without the ammunition (voters) to make it successful. On blogs all over the net, Republicans/Conservatives repeated the phrases "Rope-a-Dope" and "Turn Out!!!" like a [email protected] mantra, waiting, hoping for the planned (we thought) Eleventh Hour ad blitz to begin.
But, of course, it never did. The result was that, contrary to the conventional wisdom in some parts of the Right, the base actually turned up ... but the difference-making swing voters broke 70-30 for the Democrats all over the nation.
I've learned since 1997 that hoping that the GOP's bigwigs have learned a lesson from experience is usually a recipe for heartbreak, but at this point, it's all I have.
The McCain campaign and RNC need to run sharp, memorable and hard-hitting ads on the following;
- The Economy & Taxes:
- In our system of Government, the Congress controls the purse. Despite the attacks of 9/11, despite Enron and the accounting scandals, the economy enjoyed 41 consecutive months of solid growth and nearly ten million new jobs from 2003 to early 2007. Then the Democrats took over Congress ...
- Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines were the CEOs of Fannie Mae, the architects of the sub-prime disaster who were funneling money to Democrats in Congress to continue keeping them free of proper regulatory oversight. The Democrats blocked all efforts to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even after it was revealed that they were cooking the books in multiple investigations.
- John McCain sponsored, along with his fellow Republicans, Senators Dole, Sununu and Hagel, legislation to bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under control in 2005 - and while every Republican on the Senate Banking Committee when it came up voted for it, every single Democrat on the Committee voted against it. Why? Because they were being paid off by Fannie Mae executives i.e Chris Dodd, Barney "Roll the Dice" Frank et al. Barack Obama has received more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae in four years than any Senator in history. In return, he put former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson in charge of picking his VP.
- The Bush Administration issued warnings about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's shady business practices every year since 2001. It tried to reform them in 2003. The Democrats blocked and filibustered reform every single time.
- An Obama Administration with Democrats as the Majority Party in Congress, would mean that their friends and patrons at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac escape scot-free. A McCain Administration would appoint a Special Prosecutor i.e. Rudy Giuliani, to investigate and bring to justice everyone who conspired to personally enrich themselves even as they put the American economy in jeopardy.
- 662000 small businesses in America earn over $250000 every year. These 662000 business employ millions of American workers churning out many of the products Americans use every day not knowing that a shop of perhaps just ten people is responsible. The owners use these revenues and profits to hire people, re-invest in their business, buy new equipment, and provide for their families, etc. Barack Obama's tax hikes means job losses and business closures.
- A McCain Administration would ensure that tax policy enacted in Washington does not punish success and allows hard working Americans of all walks of life to keep more of their own money in their pockets and grow the economy. Obama's policies, which are opposed by hundreds of economists, including five Nobel Laureates (i.e. Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Robert Mundell, Edward Prescott, and Vernon Smith) would do the opposite.
- This year gas prices got as high as $4 a gallon. Yet Democrats, including Barack Obama, instead of listening to the American people, listened to Far Left special interest groups and tried to lock up America's domestic supply of oil and gas. An Obama Administration with Democrats as the Majority Party in Congress means a return of the ban on offshore drilling.
- There is more natural oil seepage from the ocean floor off America's shores in one month than there has been in ten years from Norway's offshore drilling platforms. The technology is available to extract the oil off America's shores safely and cheaply.
- A McCain Administration would take a balanced "All of the Above" approach to energy policy, realizing that alternative fuels technology would take time to become viable even though progress is being made every day. In the mean time, America's energy needs today need to be addressed. A McCain administration would curtail unnecessary litigation and streamline the approvals process for building new refineries, natural gas, and clean coal power plants even while enforcing strict environmental regulations.
- A McCain Administration would dedicate XX% of oil company taxes to funding alternative energy research, from solar, to wind, to tidal energy research.
- 80% of France's electricity is generated by nuclear power, which is cleaner, safer and more energy efficient than coal. A McCain Administration would rescind the Carter Administration's executive orders restricting the building of new nuclear power plants. In the thirty years since Carter, technological advances have made nuclear power safe enough to pose no risks and 99% of nuclear material is now recyclable.
- National Security:
- The War in Iraq is practically over and the government of Iraq is taking charge. The end is in sight. John McCain called for The Surge and supported it when many in Congress, including many Republicans, said it wouldn't work. John McCain has the background, experience and expertise necessary to see the end of the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan through. Barack Obama, on the other hand, still refuses to call the Surge a success.
- When Obama's supporters at MoveOn sponsored an ad in the New York Time calling America's Commanding General in Iraq and the primary architect of The Surge, General David Petreaus, "General Betray-Us", Barack Obama said nothing, and continued to court MoveOn's support for his campaign for the White House.
- When the Democratic Majority in the Senate, for purely partisan reasons, decided to humiliate and block the customary second term for Marine General Peter Pace, the first Marine Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an architect of the Surge in Iraq and an excellent and brave military officer who had served his country for 40 years, Barack Obama joined them.
- A McCain Administration would continue the successful Terrorist International Communications Surveillance that the Democrats in Congress have wanted to shut down since 2006, a program that has been key in keeping America safe since 9/11.
- A McCain Administration would ensure that rogue regimes do not have access to weapons of mass destruction and would use all means to curtail WMD proliferation. A McCain Administration would consult with the UN, but would not give the UN any sort of veto power over America's actions with regard to its national security.
- An Obama Administration with Democrats as the Majority Party in Congress means that tax-payer dollars would be spent funding abortions at home and abroad i.e. the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act".
- An Obama Administration with Democrats as the Majority Party in Congress means that NARAL and NOW are going to get their wish and both the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban face repeal.
- A McCain Administration would mean that the mainstream, humane view of human life at its most innocent and vulnerable would continue to hold sway in Washington.
The McCain Campaign has to run one of the most intense and intelligent ad campaign blitzes America has ever seen. That has to be part of the plan or else his strange refusal to engage on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issue and allow the Democrats to put all of the blame on the GOP and President Bush when the economic crisis got into the headlines a few weeks ago to steal his campaign's thunder after the Palin pick makes no sense.
It has to be an ad campaign that educates and appeals to both the Right and the middle. The above subjects is what I'd suggest they settle on.
All that is left to do now is pray that the GOP is not going to live down to its "Stupid Party" nickname.