The Corner

More on the “Celeb” Ad

I’m warmer to it than pretty much everyone else in the political commentariat, I think. Yes, the inclusion of Paris and Britney was kind of silly, but you’ve got to look at that as cable and YouTube bait (800k hits so far). The McCain folks did a 60-second ad a few weeks ago that was inarguably “worthy” of McCain, and how much attention did it get or good did it do McCain? Oh, you don’t remember it? Never mind. McCain’s not going to win without defining Obama in a negative way. He’s just not. There are other ways to do it, but pumping Obama up as a celebrity–and pointing out how arrogant, gassy, and remote he is–is a pretty good frame that has the added advantage of being true. This post at The New Republic gets the basic idea. It says something that Obama responded to the ad so poorly–mocking may be the best weapon against him–and used the race card in a way that will likely backfire. 

The question is whether McCain will stick it out. Here’s good stuff from First Read:

 

The Day After Britney-Paris: Today might be a day when John McCain ought to simply forget to read the news clippings, turn off the cable TV, and not browse The Google. The editorials that are blasting his new Britney-Paris ad and other attacks against Obama are piling up. (An example from the St. Pete Times: “The self-described ‘happy warrior’ in the 2000 presidential campaign has turned sour in 2008, and the candor and straight talk that once made him such an attractive candidate are rapidly disappearing.”) And so are the blind quotes from Republican strategists questioning his campaign’s tactics. (See the next paragraph.) The danger here for McCain is that, by all accounts, he’s more sensitive to criticism by the media and fellow colleagues than your average Republican; as someone who’s been praised by the press more often than not, he cares what the New York Times has to say. So today and tomorrow, McCain’s body language will be interesting to watch. But since his campaign has made the decision to go after Obama — it has now produced four consecutive negative ads against the Democrat — the best course for McCain may simply be to put on the blinders and move forward. The question is whether McCain has the self-discipline to ignore the noise and march forward and accept this strategy as the winning one.

 

If he doesn’t stay focused and tough, McCain remains a huge threat to his own candidacy. I’m with these folks, cited in The New York Times:

 

Mr. McCain’s advisers continue to look for ways to bring more discipline to his message, and are being urged by some supporters to cut back the frequency of his question-and-answer sessions with reporters, a staple of his campaign but one that occasionally yields unscripted moments, misstatements and off-the-cuff pronouncements that divert attention from the themes he is trying to promote.

 

And Dan Henninger has a brutal piece on McCain’s wanderings on the stump and in interviews today in the Journal.

Most Popular

Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More
Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More
Elections

The Jerry Springer Debate

It’s a shame that Joe Biden couldn’t attend Tuesday night's debate. Okay, Biden was in attendance, but during the 90 minutes, it felt like he barely ever finished a complete sentence. It’s not clear that President Trump necessarily won the night, in the sense that people who were leaning against ... Read More
Elections

The Jerry Springer Debate

It’s a shame that Joe Biden couldn’t attend Tuesday night's debate. Okay, Biden was in attendance, but during the 90 minutes, it felt like he barely ever finished a complete sentence. It’s not clear that President Trump necessarily won the night, in the sense that people who were leaning against ... Read More
Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More