October 13, 2008
Fire the Campaign
By WILLIAM KRISTOL
It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign.
He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s. The Obama team is well organized, flush with resources, and the candidate and the campaign are in sync. The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional. Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.
He may be anyway. Bush is unpopular. The media is hostile. The financial meltdown has made things tougher. Maybe the situation is hopeless — and if it is, then nothing McCain or his campaign does matters.
But I’m not convinced by such claims of inevitability. McCain isn’t Bush. The media isn’t all-powerful. And the economic crisis still presents an opportunity to show leadership.
The 2008 campaign is now about something very big — both our future prosperity and our national security. Yet the McCain campaign has become smaller.
What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over. Shut down the rapid responses, end the frantic e-mails, bench the spinning surrogates, stop putting up new TV and Internet ads every minute. In fact, pull all the ads — they’re doing no good anyway. Use that money for televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time.
And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They’re happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free.
Click on the title of the post to read the entire op-ed.
Issues and policies aside, the McCain campaign is a disaster, and it's devolving quickly. The next three weeks will be interesting.