What a difference a few weeks make. It wasn’t too long ago that the prevailing viewpoint was that Obama was running on a clear change message, while McCain’s campaign lacked a coherent, overarching, theme.
Today, liberal blogger Josh Marshall writes:
McCain’s message is pretty clear and essentially twofold: 1) Obama is, in so many words, a frivolous phony, someone who really doesn’t have any business running for president. 2) McCain is a strong leader who can defend the country. There are all sorts of sub- and secondary themes — Obama’s an outsider, questionably American, etc. But all the nitty gritty points are subservient to those two interlocking messages.
From Obama, honestly, I don’t sense a really clear message. There are attacks on McCain, some of which are quite good. There are positive uplifting commercials. And there are ads/messages targeted to particular states — like Yucca Mountain in Utah and the DHL layoffs in Ohio. But it’s hard for me to come up with a clear cut Obama message in way that it’s pretty simple for me to do with McCain. Even the ‘change’ message, which is the basis of Obama’s campaign, seems much more diffuse to me than it was during the pimaries.
The difference, I think, is that during the Democratic primaries, the eagerness for change was felt so passionately among the electorate, that once Obama tapped into that desire, he was off to the races. Clearly the electorate as a whole also wants change, but I’m not sure that they are frothing at the mouth to the extent that Democratic voters were. That’s not to say that Obama can’t win. It’s just that the bar is higher. Giving lofty speeches about “change” is no longer enough. Obama needs a second act.
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