The Campaign Spot

The Obama-Palin Fight Benefits McCain

One of my McCain guys quotes Rasmussen’s assessment that if the convention bounce has a peak, we’ll see it in tomorrow morning’s polling results. This person is in a good mood, but notes that at some point we will see “a natural relaxing” of the numbers.
This figure notices that Obama going on the attack and looking the worse for it, particularly in contrast with his post-partisan, “new kind of politics, that builds upon shared understandings that bring us together as Americans.”
A short while after saying, “It’s like they take pride in being ignorant” to describe his opponents, Obama declared yesterday, “I mean, come on, they must think you’re stupid.”
Maybe the “my opponents are ignorant/they think you’re stupid” lines will work. But there’s nothing particularly new about them, and they sound suspiciously like the same old tired negative attacks that Americans disapprove of, and that usually drive up both candidates’ negatives. It’s a polarizing move by a guy who is, if the polls are accurate, trailing, and it refutes the “brand image” – of new, moving beyond old battles, dignified, reasonable, etc.
Secondly, notice Obama is starting to go after Palin:

“She’s a skillful politician. But, you know, when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.”

That’s amusing, from the guy who requested $740 million in earmarks, steered a million to his wife’s employer, and who steered state grants to his buddies like Fr. Michael Pfleger. (Notice the AP is trying to cover for Obama by saying he hasn’t requested any lately. Wow, it’s almost as if Obama has been spending the past year doing something besides being a senator from Illinois.)
A campaign can only really send one message at a time. Notice the headline: “Obama Takes First Shot at Palin.” If the story of the day is Obama’s shot at Palin, the story isn’t any criticism of McCain. The Obama campaign’s priority of “defining” Palin, and taking the shine off of her, is taking away from the priority of making the argument against McCain.