Jun 10, 2008

Is McCain's Campaign Team Up To The Job?

William Kristol writes a disturbing Op Ed in today's New York Times. He suggests that McCain can win , but he is underwhelmed with the team surrounding him. Now remember Kristol is a neocon and he is not a great fan of some of McCain's advisers. But we think that Kristol will be happier with a McCain Presidencey than an Obama one.

almost every Republican I’ve talked to is alarmed that the McCain campaign doesn’t seem up to the task of electing John McCain.
Several of these worried McCain supporters cited the decision by the campaign gurus that McCain’s Tuesday night speech should consist in large part of criticisms of Obama’s various proposals. The attacks often concluded, “That’s not change we can believe in.” Is it wise to begin a general election campaign by making fun of your opponent’s slogan and presenting yourself mostly as a debunker of his claims? Even hard-hearted Republicans think a general election message should be a bit more positive than that.
Actually, to be fair, there was a positive message Tuesday night. It was stenciled over and over on the now-notorious green backdrop behind McCain: “A leader we can believe in.” This was another play on Obama’s “change we can believe in” — and a foolish one. Because McCain doesn’t really ask for the electorate’s “belief.” Let Obama be about belief. McCain’s message is that he’s a leader we can trust, based on a record of many years, and that his character has been tested. McCain at least seems to grasp what his most effective message is. I’m told that it was McCain himself who insisted on the most effective passage in his Tuesday night speech.
Discussing the surge of troops and the new counterinsurgency strategy of early 2007, McCain pointed out, “Senator Obama opposed the new strategy. ... Yet in the last year we have seen the success of that plan as violence has fallen to a four-year low. ... None of this progress would have happened had we not changed course over a year ago. And all of this progress would be lost if Senator Obama had his way. ”
Early 2007 was as close as we’re going to get to a commander in chief moment for Senators McCain and Obama. They had to make a judgment in a difficult real-world situation — not on the healed planet of Obama’s dreams. With the Iraq war going badly, McCain took the lead in calling for a change in military strategy and a surge of troops. Obama, by contrast, went along with his party in urging withdrawal. Now, 18 months later, McCain seems pretty clearly to have been right.
Can McCain get voters to compare his judgment with Obama’s in a moment when the two of them were confronted with a weighty choice? Can McCain get voters to consider his leadership in this instance, and get them to ask when Obama took a similarly courageous stand on any issue? Yes he can — but it’s not clear if his campaign will be much help.