Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

For they shall inherit the earth. They aren't likely to run the government, though.

I don't know if the Republicans raised the white flag yesterday, but you could make that argument based on comportment of the gentle, gentle gentlemen at the top of the ticket this year. John McCain was in Lakeville yesterday and he basically shut down some of his supporters who were calling for him to attack Barack Obama. At one point he was even booed when he spoke well of the junior senator from Illinois.

Meanwhile, Norm Coleman has announced that he will stop running negative ads against Al Franken. Over half of Coleman's negative ads have consisted of showing footage of Franken in full rant mode, swearing, swaggering, cursing and acting like a low-rent thug. But recent polls suggest that showing Franken in his own words doesn't seem to hurt Franken as much as it does Coleman. Franken will of course continue to run his scurrilities.

Perhaps the internal polling that the campaigns are doing is saying something that's not immediately apparent, but it seems passing strange to start playing Mr. Nice Guy at this late hour. People always say that they hate negative advertising, but it inevitably works. That's why it is done in every election cycle. It's why Franken may win and why a nothingburger like Aswin Madia has a good chance of taking the open 3rd CD seat away. Madia and his surrogates have run an especially appalling campaign against opponent Erik Paulsen that has been pretty much 100% false. And his reward may very well be a seat in Congress. Madia is apparently Change You Can Believe In. To his credit, Paulsen has been fighting back, but the damage may have been done.

It's possible that McCain and Coleman may be rewarded for taking the high road from here on out. But I'd be very surprised.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No need to look at internal polls to figure out whats going on. Every national poll since the Ayes stuff started has shown McCain's negatives increasing, Obama's dropping, and Obama holding or increasing his lead. I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but negative campaigning just isn't going to work in absence of any positive reason to vote to the other guy, and McCain still hasn't given us that.
Also negative ads only work if they play into some pre-existing concern people have about the candidate. e.g. Willie Horton worked because people already believed Democrats were soft on crime. Obama isn't Jesse Jackson, and trying to paint him as some kind of bomb throwing radical just doesn't match up with the cool-tempered, wonkish guy we've been watching for the past two years.
And speaking of waving the white flag, the (very unconfirmed) rumor is that the RNC is pulling the plug on the McCain campaign and putting their money into trying to hold down losses in congress.