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Will Going Negative Work for Palin?

October 6, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Last week the McCain-Palin campaign made some big decisions, and we started to see the results over the weekend.

First, they decided to get down and dirty, and really focus on simply trying to cast doubts in voters minds about Obama.  In other words, they are dropping any attempt to focus on the issues, or their own plans, meager as they may be, and instead focus solely on going very negative on the opposition.

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise; it’s that time in a campaign.  Additionally, McCain and Palin are down by 6-8 points in most polls nationally, and they are behind in enough key swing states that their “path to victory” really requires them to pick up Florida and Ohio.  Obama-Biden, on the other hand, have several “paths to victory,” from an electoral college vantage point.

Obama fired back negative ads as well, linking McCain to the Keating scandal.  There are plenty of Democrats crying out for even more red meat, after watching both Gore and Kerry act like gentlemen and lose.

Secondly, they decided to make Palin the attack pit bull (with lipstick)?  The sharpest attacks have come from Palin, delivered in her trademark nasal voice and her beauty pageant smile, and sometimes even a wink and a nod.  It’s played great to the partisan crowds – the base.  And that, in fact, will be Palin’s role.  She’s lost the independents and women, so now she is sent out to raise money, and fire up the evangelical, god-loving, gun-toting, choice-hating red staters.

McCain, by contrast, is supposed to step into the sympathetic, warm role.

The problem with the strategy, in my view, is that the public is very tired of negative attacks.  So for Palin, who starts out with huge negatives (40% in the most recent poll), to go strongly negative will only further alienate undecided voters, especially women.

And I can’t name anyone who actually thinks McCain is cute and cuddly – but instead someone whose smile looks pained; as if those muscles haven’t been properly exercised in over 70 years.

Going negative will certainly help shore up the Republican social conservative base, but that’s simply not enough.  They have to pull people into their camp, and I think this strategy will absolutely not accomplish that.  The election is no longer about Iraq (poor John McCain), and it was never about issues that socially conservative (i.e. religious right) people love to hate like abortion or gay rights; this election is about the economy.  And the economy is in very precarious shape right now, and will continue to be for a long time – certainly through the election.

McCain-Palin simply won’t be able to distance themselves from Bush (remember him?  he’s the President, not that you’d know it lately – oh, and he’s in McCain’s party, and, oh yeah, the new McCain forgot about the old McCain and started off by running as George X – because X comes after W, and voted with W 90% of the time).  History clearly says that the ruling party will take huge hits this election because of the economic crisis.

So fire away Palin, and watch your numbers drop, and your dream for a national political future and even a Palin Presidency be revealed for the hallucination that it is.

To read more about the ugliness that Palin is spewing, check out “Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame” by Dana Milbank on Washingtonpost.com.  If this doesn’t make your skin crawl and your stomach sink about the evil that lies behind Palin, nothing will.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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