30 Days Out…

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Lots of process talk on the political tom-toms right now about McCain pulling out of Michigan and re-deploying resources to other states. This moving forces around the map like Gen. Rommel in the desert stuff may be catnip to the media and a huge pre-occupation of the campaign staffs, but it can obscure the big picture. McCain is in trouble in Michigan for the same reason he is in trouble in GOP leaning Florida and North Carolina; when it come to strategy Team Obama is throwing the McCain High Command around the room like stunt men in a Bruce Lee picture. The terrain of the election has shifted mightily to economic fear and Obama is moving his campaign to exploit that. Meanwhile the McCain campaign retains its lamentable focus on press tactics at the expense of a real strategy. While Obama’s huge financial resources are an advantage, the vital issue for McCain is not cutting all Detroit TV spending to find money to increase a TV ad buy in Charlotte from 1700 rating points a week to 2600 rating points because Obama can afford 3800 rating points. What really counts is what message McCain is using his 1800 rating points to carry, and even more importantly what message McCain and Palin are out selling in the media every day. For the last nine weeks the McCain campaign has tried win by raising Obama’s negatives. Ads have attacked, McCain and Palin has have attacked. This has failed. Over the top negative attacks and a campaign message that too often seems to be little more than sarcasm and suppressed anger has damaged McCain’s priceless and hard earned “brand” as a different kind of Republican. McCain’s best option now is to ditch the chainsaw and offer a scared and angry country what it badly wants; hope and leadership.

Palin should drop the braying attacks on Obama’s aging hippie bomber pals and start connecting to her cherished hockey moms on the one issue they = are actually worried about; a quickly slowing economy. Chuck the hacky and ineffective negative ads and switch to man on the street spots with real people voicing their real doubts about Obama; too weak to stand up to Washington’s mighty special interest cartel or the newly empowered Democratic bosses of the Congress and Senate, too liberal to know how to fix the economy, too inexperienced to handle a dangerous world. On Tuesday, McCain should look into the camera and connect to the 80 million scared and worried Americans who will be watching him.

McCain is losing. To regain a chance to win, McCain must run as who he truly is; pragmatic, tough, bi-partisan and ready to break some special interest china to get the right things done in Washington. Fix the message, and you will fix the states.