Monday, August 11, 2008

Not Getting Any Easier

A L.A. Times article published today illuminates one of the problems that Republican nominee John McCain will be facing in the coming days and weeks. The senator has been known for years as something of a "maverick", constantly going against the grain of traditional G.O.P platforms and voting patterns. Now, after setting that title aside in order to actually win the nomination, his campaign is trying to reclaim that title. The reason: after efforts to ensure conservative voters of his Republican credentials, McCain now has to win back the independent and ultra centrist voters that used to see him as the forward-thinking, not-so-typical Republican senator from Arizona.

And the Obama campaign senses an opportunity. This can be seen as a chance for a new attack on their rival. McCain's re-assertion of his past departures from traditional G.O.P. politics gives his opponent the opportunity to paint McCain as a politician, shifting his course just to get what he wants; in this case, the Republican nomination. The article from the L.A. Times calls it the "dilution of the McCain brand." In other words, McCain does not appear to be the trail-blazing politician voters think he used to be. And I'll have to admit, I may be one of them, considering I grew up with a McCain who was known for constantly being more popular among democrats than his colleagues in his own party.

This is not to say that Obama does not also face a few challenges in the days ahead. First of all, Obama seems to be taking this week off, letting McCain have the spotlight for once and therefore, more opportunities to improve his image and strategies generally without interference from his democratic opponent. Second, another article from Politico quotes one pollster as saying "Every poll shows that people want a Democratic president, the problem is they’re not sure they want Barack Obama.” So for Obama, the challenge is to prove that he is not just a Democratic presidential candidate but the Democratic presidential candidate. Tall orders for both candidates. Good luck to all. You're going to need it.


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