My Beautiful Wickedness


Not going well…
October 21, 2008, 6:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

McCain’s trip to Missouri (where Obama drew 175,000, by park police estimates) didn’t go so well. He was, it is true, speaking on a Monday, but he still managed to pull only 2,500 in St. Louis and 6,000 in Kansas City. They were more like pep rallies than campaign stops.

Then, there’s the campaign’s decision to drop out of Colorado. They don’t think they can win it. According to CNN, the new strategy is to try to win ” Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and make a comeback in Pennsylvania.” The electoral map makes it clear that this isn’t a likely scenario. He’s currently behind or within the margin of error for all of these states. In PA, he’s down by 12 points and the gap is growing. He needs them all to be President. What can I say? Once a flyboy gambler, always a flyboy gambler. Man, I don’t want this guy in charge of the nuclear football.

And here’s why this scenario won’t work. This strategy requires cash, cash, and more cash to work. To take NC as an example, the people left who are undecided may or may not decide to vote. The campaigns have to persuade them to vote and then urge them towards one candidate and away from the other. There’s not enough hours between here and the election to make stops in NC daily, not when you’re also avidly pursuing VA, FL, OH, PA, and NV. That’s a recipe for frequent flyer miles, not a ground campaign. That means you have to take it to the airwaves and even though McCain has been getting good deals on airtime through his lobbyist buddies who want further gutting of the FCC, he just doesn’t have enough cash to compete with Obama here…not if he’s also trying to compete and win in six other places. So, here’s what’s going to happen.

He’s going to use robocalls a lot. Robocalls can be targeted and they are cheap…but only if you have a land line. Use them too much and people get aggravated and turn off their phones.

He is going to use radio ads — that’s probably a good strategy because some people have a negative reaction to his face, think he looks too severe. It’s also a good medium for smears because people don’t associate the sight of you with this negative information that you’ve spread about the other candidate.

He’s going to borrow money. He’s going to have to. He’ll either borrow it from himself or borrow it from his wife (whose liquidity at the moment is an under-discussed element of the campaign…I’d like to hear how her portfolio of assets was hit in the last three weeks, even though the campaign likes to pretend that she’s not a gazillionaire). Unfortunately, this means that he’s going to be in the pocket of the financial industry, without whom he won’t be able to get into office. He’s had a history of dubious banking lobbying entanglements, so I wouldn’t want to have been the staffer who had to tell the boss that he’s going to have to suck it up and seek funds from the guys he’s been trying to shovel dirt on for the last month. You’ve already seen him temper his attacks on big banks — now you know why. It’s not unusual for campaigns to have to borrow money…but Obama’s huge monetary advantage is such that McCain has the potential to wind up seriously in debt personally if he doesn’t pull this out. You’ll be able to gauge whether he’s really going for it or whether he’s in essence conceding by how much he borrows, when, and from whom. Anything less than $20 million means that he’s trying to not kill the downticket races, but knows that his own campaign is sunk.

Incidentally, can anyone explain to me why the RNCC is broke? Republican donors are both wealthy and generous, but for the last few years, the RNCC has had to solicit wealthy businessmen with no political experience to finance their own campaigns because the national Republican committees are tapped out. Is this a by-product of the “every race, every contest” strategy that Howard Dean is pursuing?

Anyhow, back to what’s going to happen.

The TV ads he’s going to buy are going to be multi-market ads. He’ll buy in Toledo so that he can reach Michigan and eastern Indiana (known as Michiana) He’ll buy in Cincinnati, so that he can keep saturating KY. He’ll buy in Youngstown and Morgantown so that he gets some PA coverage. I am guessing that one of the reasons that he dropped out of Colorado was the mountains. You can’t get both eastern CO and mountain CO with the same buy and he’s just out of money. He’s going to run into the same problem with VA and NC, though, frankly. I think he’s letting himself be fooled by all the dudes who come out to shout hell yeah at Sarah Palin — the “real American” thing is only pissing off people on the coast and in northern VA. Anyhow, he’s going to have to fight like hell for southwestern VA — insider info suggests that he’s behind in all parts of VA, but if he buys TV time for SW VA, he gets more gain for his buck.

I just don’t see how he’s going to do it. I also have been looking at Senate races and I’m not going out on a limb much when I say that the Dems will wind up with at least 56 Senators. (I don’t think that 58 or 59 is going to happen, barring something wild.)

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2 Comments so far
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I forget where I saw it, but someone was talking about the fact that what’s interesting about Palin going around giving her speeches to the “real America” is that she HAS to go give speeches there, because even there, their support is shakey.

I really, really hope we can pull this win off. I don’t have any illusions about Obama being the best president ever, but damn, I’m ready for him to give it a try.

Comment by Aunt B.

Bridgett, I do think that Dean’s strategy is behind a lot of the Republicans’ tactical woes. If this goes on as it seems to be going, and Obama becomes president, I sure hope he keeps Dean on at the DNC.

Comment by nm




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