John McCain is slipping fast in the polls. As he senses that he has nothing to lose, the gloves are off. Team Obama will now face one mother of a nasty Republican fighting machine. They will give Obama no quarter, not one inch, and each and every moral objection will be thrown aside. And it started today.
A number of McCain campaign aides, close associates and anonymous sources from within the GOP machine have in the past 48 hours confirmed that the war is on. There won’t be any backing down; anything they can find or make up to hurt Obama, will be used. That strategy holds a big risk for the 72 year old.
When he tried the same approach, about three weeks ago, he got chastised for spouting discredited lies by not only the Obama campaign, but also the press. But it worked; Obama’s numbers started going down, McCain’s went up – and then the financial meltdown happened, upsetting the McCain game plan.
So now he’s going to go back on the attack, but with a true vengeance. Palin started today, raking up Obama’s old connections to some people. Except for Jeremiah Wright, no subjects are off-limits. But McCain had better be careful still, because there’s a new risk involved.
By now, with only a month before Election Day, voters are deciding on their choice, and they’re now adding the ‘is my candidate of choice presidential material’ question.
Bill Clinton knows how incredibly important it is to come across as being stable, cool, not worried. It makes you look presidential. That’s what he told Barack Obama during that lunch, about a month ago: “Act like a president.” And that Obama did during his first debate with McCain. The latter continuously attacked Obama and the pundits thought McCain had won the night.
But the voters didn’t think so. All the polls after the debate showed that Obama had not only clearly won the debate, but he’d also…surprised them by coming across as ‘presidential material’.
So he is viable. Presidential.
McCain has been trying to shape himself as presidential material as well – his stunt to suspend his campaign and go to Washington a day later because of the financial crisis, was evidence of that.
But now McCain is in danger of putting himself in a position he can’t get out of. That of being seen as an aggressive idiot, a screamer who spouts lies and slanders people.
That’s not perceived as being very ‘presidential’ by many people.
Still, and judging from what happened in 2000 and 2004, former Bush campaign aide Steve Schmidt, who now runs McCain’s campaign, and given that many voters are susceptible to believing lies, McCain might get away with it.