Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angry, Cranky McCain Could Turn The Presidential Race Into a Blowout


You probably noticed that McCain's strategy for dealing with Obama's trip abroad was to attack the media for covering it and to throw a lot of crap against the wall and see if anything stuck. Nothing did-- except to make McCain seem more and more like an angry and out-of-touch old man. Media Matters points out this morning, in the video below, how hypocritical it was for McCain to be whining about the press when his entire political career has been based on wooing and romancing them.

In a column this morning, pollster Charlie Cook, takes note that McCain has been doing himself a great deal of damage with these tactics and has been turning off voters in a big way. He points out that Obama's polling numbers grew strongly as a result of his overseas trip, something that has never happened when McCain, Lieberman and Lindsey Graham went for their Photo Ops and shopping sprees abroad.

Cook thinks that the bounce in Obama's poll numbers was more than just him being seen "standing as an equal with world leaders, being treated as an equal, and being idolized by huge foreign crowds." That's important since McCain does everything he can to disparage him as someone with no experience. But Cook thinks that tactic is backfiring on McCain and making people like him less and less. And Cook is only one of many people noticing that McCain is losing it. Even Ed Rollins, once Ronald Reagan's campaign director, is appalled with how McCain is coming off these days. "When he ran before he was the maverick running away from the establishment, and now he's running towards it. He was jovial and fun and now he comes across as a grumpy old man." Cook:
Notwithstanding the reputation around Capitol Hill, where McCain was known for having a short fuse, he is widely seen as a wisecracking maverick, a real character.

But over the last two weeks, McCain and his campaign have taken on an edgier, angrier and even mean-spirited tone. As one observer put it, it gives the impression of McCain as a cranky old man standing on his front porch in a bathrobe and slippers barking at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.

Should this race get to the point where Obama is seen as more presidential and McCain is perceived as angry and bitter, a campaign that is legitimately competitive won't be for long.

The environment seems set for a Democrat to win. In a July 18-21 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,003 registered voters, only 13 percent of those surveyed said the country was headed in the right direction, and 74 percent said it was on the wrong track, the most pessimistic in the history of the poll.

The survey, which had a 3-point error margin and was conducted by Democrat Peter Hart and Republican Neil Newhouse, showed President Bush's approval rating at 30 percent, with a 64 percent disapproval rating. This is not the kind of environment that enables a party to win the White House for a third consecutive time.

Not surprisingly, the survey showed voters generically preferred a Democrat to win the White House this fall over a Republican by 12 percentage points, 48 to 36 percent, and Democrats to control Congress by 13 points, 49 to 36 percent.

While the positive ratings for the Democratic Party were an anemic 43 percent, with 37 percent negative, the Republican Party had just 31 percent positive and 48 percent negative.

Just as ominous for Republicans is the shift in public opinion, moving away from the laissez faire message that the party has long embraced and toward a somewhat more activist view of government.

When the poll asked which statement came closer to respondents' views, 53 percent chose "government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people," compared with 42 percent that preferred "government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals."

And for this particular matchup, when 55 percent chose "this is a time when it is important to look for a person who will bring greater changes to the current policies even if he is less experienced and tested," compared to 40 percent who chose "this is a time when it is important to look for a more experienced and tested person even if he brings fewer changes to the current policies," it does not bode well for McCain.

If Obama begins to look more presidential and is seen as having greater stature while McCain is seen as angry and unpleasant, it is an opportunity for this race to transition from a very competitive period to one that is a blowout.

Now, the 30 second Media Matters video I suggested you take a look at:

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home