Monday, September 01, 2008

McCain Move Seals Obama Speech Zing

The adage about being too smart by a half worked very nicely in Obama’s favor last Friday. Remember how the McCain campaign was “stealing his thunder” by diverting the media’s attention from his Thursday night’s acceptance speech to the hype of anticipation for the Republican VP announcement? They played the media, sending false text messages, lying regarding the whereabouts of various potential candidates for the job (and making many new enemies in the process) – and, indeed, they managed to divert public attention big time from the speech to the pick.

Now, there were two typical responses to Obama’s speech: The campaign savvy response, such as that of Pat Buchanan and Mike Murphy, both old Republican war horses, who couldn’t conceal their admiration, seeing the speech as the powerful weapon it was in advancing the Dem campaign. And then there was the reaction of speech writers, also Republican, like Peggy Noonan and Bill Safire, who gave the speech a fairly low grade, saying it was short on both facts and poetry.

And you know what? Noonan and Safire were right. And while the usual Foxnazi claptrap may no have gotten much track outside the Ditto realm, a more serious critique of Obama’s speech could hurt the Dem candidate because, let’s face it, his speech really was short on facts, packed with conjecture and almost brutally unfair – like a good campaign speech should be.

Had the McCain campaign waited until the first day of their convention to announce the VP, the media would have bitten and chewed the speech, and would have at least dulled down its glow in the memory of many viewers. But they chose to overwhelm the media with their Alaskan beauty queen move and with that virtually sealed the overall acceptance of the Buchanan-Murphy view, that the speech was the most amazing of its kind in presidential history (as Buchanan put it, more or less). That is now the common impression among some 38 million viewers. Not a bad thing at all.

Once again, the McCain campaign has shown it is long on tactics and painfully short on strategy.


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