L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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04 September 2008 Blog Home : September 2008 : Permalink

More on McCain-Palin Strategy

So I decided to have a look at the TNR blogs and see what they had to say about Palin, McCain and co. There are some amusing juxtapositions of posts. For example there is a question "Can McCain Separate Himself From Bush? " and then a couple of posts earlier an answer: How Sarah Palin Is Like Ross Perot (And William Jennings Bryan). In case it isn't obvious the McCain Palin strategy is to not mention Bush at all but present themselves as reformers and mavericks come to clean up the cesspool of Washington (and yes there are contradictions in this position). Which also means that this question is answered too implicitly:

Strategically, my biggest quibble is that I don't see how you out-"change" and out-reform Obama. His credibility there has been pretty well-established. I'm not sure it helps to finish a close second on change if, in the process, you mostly junk the experience argument, which is a real vulnerability for him.

Obama is presented as the "insider". Sure he's an insider who promises change and reform but it has to be pretty simple to get the message across that real change/reform requires outsiders. Indeed over at NRO Victor Davis Hanson points out that one clear differentiator between McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden is the lack of lawyers on the Republican ticket.

Expect people to make that point over the next few weeks.

Something else I noted at TNR. An odd piece by Alan Wolfe: Why Sarah Palin's Speech Will Not Win Over All Evangelicals. In it he claims:

Sarah Palin's speech last night was rapturously received by the delegates to the Republican convention, most of whom are conservative Christians. But just because most Republicans are conservative Christians does not mean that all conservative Christians are Republican. I have the feeling that Palin's speech will not wear well among many of the primarily younger evangelicals I have come to know.

I do not believe that "most Republicans are conservative Christians" In fact from what I've seen a large part of the problem McCain had was that he was neither appealing to the libertarian wing nor to the conservative Christian wing. Palin appeals to both.

Then there is the problem that TNR creates out of whole cloth, that somehow Palin is supposed to appeal to dissaffected Clinton feminists and younger (single) people. I'm sure that the Republicans will be happy to welcome votes from those demographics but I don't expect that to be where they go looking for them. The strategy has to be more to appeal to middle aged, working and middle class voters. Hence a focus on tax cuts, cutting the price of oil (and hence gasoline etc.) and the other things that make a difference to the people who have a job and a family. In other words the Republicans aren't going after every voter any more than the Democrats are. The question is which demographics are larger and which are more likely to vote.

Older folks are typically, more right of center anyway because life tends to strip away the naive idealism of youth that makes socialistic ideas sound good so it will be easier to appeal to them anyway. Also my recollection is that older people tend to vote more than younger ones hence it makes even better strategic sense to appeal to the older folks. 

Guess what TNR? McCain doesn't care about your readership.