Mark Helperin pens a stupid piece on how John McCain can beat Barack Obama using methods Clinton can’t. Let’s take it apart.
1. Play the national security card without hesitation.
2. Talk about the Iraq War without apologies or perceived contradiction.
3. Go at Obama unambiguously from the right.
All these are fine. Obama doesn’t have any experience on foreign policy. And unlike Clinton, McCain does. Being firm on Iraq has helped McCain as he’s been consistent on it. And Obama’s weaknesses are the far-left economic views he has embraced in the primary. He will tack right in the general election – and that’s when McCain can pounce.
But the rest of Halperin’s ideas are a mixture of the dumb and the meaningless. It reads like the empty rhetoric ignorant people insist is Obama’s forte combined with the pointless nastiness of Anne Coulter. Quite frankly, it reads exactly like what the Clinton camp has been doing. And I’m sure it will have the same effect.
4. Encourage interest groups, bloggers, and right-leaning media to explore Obama’s past.
Muck-racking? If people didn’t care about Clinton’s adultery and shady Whitewater deals, they won’t care about Obama’s Rezko stuff. Clinton has tried this. It didn’t work.
5. Make an issue of Obama’s acknowledged drug use.
This would be incredibly dumb. Obama admitting to drug use makes me want to vote for him, since he’s not trying to insult my intelligence. Clinton has tried this. It didn’t work.
6. Allow some supporters to risk being accused of using the race card when criticizing Obama.
I’ve been hearing this complaint a lot — that criticism of Obama will be equated with racism. Perhaps. We know that criticism of conservative blacks (Rice, Powell, Watts) is not racism, according to the Left, while criticism of liberal blacks is.
But I think “racism!” cries would actually backfire on Obama. The one thing he does not want to become in this election is “the black guy”. If his supporters start playing the race card, it will cripple his campaign.
7. Exploit Michelle Obama’s mistakes and address her controversial remarks with unrestricted censure.
As I said before, Michelle Obama’s words doesn’t bother me. Hillary Clinton said a lot of crazy things as first lady as well. Until Michelle Obama indicates she’s going to be part of the Administration, any dumb remarks she makes are irrelevant.
8. Play dirty without alienating his party.
And how do you do this, precisely?
9. Dismiss Obama’s brief national tenure from his own lofty platform of decades in the Senate – there will be no ambiguity about who has more experience as conventionally defined.
Because this worked so well for Hillary.
10. Use his sterling war record to reinforce his image of patriotism and valor – and contrast it with his opponent’s.
Yes, President Dole rode that particular rail right into the White House. Oh, wait.
11. Emphasize Barack Hussein Obama’s unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism.
This is not only stupid, it’s offensive. I don’t give a shit if Obama’s middle name is Hitler and he’s descended from Martians. Neither, I suspect, do most Americans.
12. Employ third party groups like the NRA to hit Obama on issues that might turn off general election voters. Perhaps an ad such as this will run in Ohio: “So, what do you really know about Barack Obama? Did you know he supports meeting with the head of terrorist states? Do you know he wants to get rid of your right to own a handgun? Do you know he is calling for the repeal of the law preventing gay marriage? Do you know he is for a trillion-dollar tax increase? What do you really know about Barack Obama?”
Of course, none of these things are true. Which I guess makes them perfect 527 issues. This is effective, if unpleasant, advice.
13. Face an electorate less consumed with “change change change” (the main priority for Democratic voters) and keenly interested in “ready from day one” as an equally important ideal.
Again, this worked so well for Hillary. In fact, “ready from day one” were her exact words.
14. Link biography (experience/courage) and leadership (straight talk) to a vision animated by detail – accentuating Obama’s relative lack of specificity.
Halperin is lazy, as are most Right-Wing pundits when it comes to Obama. He’s been very specific about policy — that’s his weakness. His policy specifics are pure liberal pap.
15. Give Obama his first real race against a credible Republican. (Clinton has always asserted that Obama would wilt before a fierce Republican assault.)
More empty words. What’s the alternative? Running a non-real race? Against a silly Republican? This was more of a talking point for Clinton. She could have pointed out that the only Republican he beat was crazy-ass Alan Keyes. I don’t see how, “he’s never beaten a Republican” is going to sway the voters.
16. Confront Obama with a united, focused campaign absent of second-guessing, which hits the same themes and message every day.
Of course, Obama’s got that down as well. And conservatism has thrived for the last few years by never second-guessing anything.
This is all a bunch of shit. Frankly, it makes wonder if Mark Halperin and Mark Penn are, in fact, the same person. Has anyone actually seen them together?
Here’s what you need to do to defeat Barack Obama and it’s very simple — run as a fiscal conservative. Emphasize his big spending plans and tax increases. Outflank him on Iraq. Those are the two big issues. Everything else — from his middle name to his drug use — is pure shit. Emphasizing these issues will do nothing to advance the campaign and everything to annoy the voters.
Obama can be beaten — but only on substance. If you try to slime him or out-personality him, you will lose.
Update: West Virginia Rebel tips me to Blankley’s superior strategy.