After the VP running mates have been chosen and the dust settles from the conventions, the real race for the presidency will begin. There will be the continual punch, counterpunch and the constant attacks regarding experience, taxes and all the other issues. But let's face it, the candidates represent both the left and right of the political spectrum, so it's common sense to conclude that pretty much everyone has already decided who they'll vote for. However, there's still about 5-10% of the voters who haven't chosen a candidate. I would refer to this segment as "people who faithfully vote but honestly don't have an active interest in politics." They go to work, pay their taxes and raise their family but just aren't interested in the political scene. They quietly conclude; well, I'll vote because it's my civic duty but it really doesn't make a difference anyway. Perhaps they have a point. These people represent a VERY important segment of the voting population, especially this year. These are the voters you need to sway - the tiny fraction of undecideds.
It seems as though the Republican strategy will be to make Obama look like a celebrity who doesn't have the necessary experience. He'll raise your taxes and prematurely withdraw from Iraq. They'll try to make it a generally negative campaign about HIM. Probably a wise strategy.
The Dems will try to tie McCain to the past 8 years of the failed Bush administration. They'll portray him to some extent as a war-monger who wants to attack Iran, give further tax breaks to big oil companies and basically follow in the footsteps of Bush/Cheney. Considering the current unpopularity of Bush, that's probably the right way to go. And of course they'll push the change agenda.
So the attacks will continue back and forth. The 3 presidential debates could provide a huge opportunity for success or failure. The candidates will be well-prepped for just about anything but the most obscure issues. However, I think there's an opening for Obama on a critical issue that you rarely hear discussed in the media - THE OVER-REACHING POWER OF
THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH under the Bush/Cheney administration. I think here's where Obama could really put the nail in McCain's coffin. Whether or not you agree with the invasion/occupation/liberation of Iraq, almost everyone could agree on one point. The policy was set forth by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and their cohorts. They set the agenda and had the CIA wrap the intelligence around it. I'm not going to debate whether they were right or wrong, or whether the invasion of Iraq was a success or failure. But I think the vast majority of the country would agree that Bush has upset the checks and balances of the three branches of our government. This has led to increased partisanship, diviseness and vitriole between the major parties.
If Obama could make this case and explain that if he were elected, an Obama administration would take immediate action to restore the checks and balances of our govt., I think it would resonate with voters. Hey, here's a guy seeking the presidency who's genuinely worried about the abuse of the executive branch. If we elect him, he'll go to great lengths to ensure that our president acts within the confines of the constitution and not as a king or despot. He's actually willing to roll back the power of the presidency. Obama could also bring up the rampant cronyism that revolves around Bush and the all the poor appontiments, failed cabinet positions and a huge list of premature resignations.
This strategy is good for 2 big reasons - A. McCcain won't know what hit him and how to defend himself. He'll be totally unprepared for this line of attack. B. It would successfully tie McCain to the past 8 years of Bush/Cheney - this is the recipe for a grand slam. It also crushes any remaining appeal that McCain had as a maverick. You might be thinking, oh Saf, this kind of constitutional mumbo jumbo won't appeal to anyone. I totally disagree. After months of hearing the back and forth about taxes, gas prices, mortgage foreclosures, etc. blah, YOU NEED A NEW ISSUE. You'd have to frame the argument well. I think Obama and his team could convey it without sounding too egalitarian. This argument TRANSCENDS the political tit-for-tat and would dominate the news cycle. Trust me, MCain would be look like a deer in highlights. It would only work in the debates and you'd have to choose your timing. I suppose it would work in a town hall setting as well, which would be devastating to McCain.
Once again, I'm not trying to make the argument that Bush has been good or bad (trust me, he's totally incompetent and has never grasped or understood the magnitude of the office). I just think this would be a homerun for Obama. It's a no lose proposition for him. It also ties in well with the repetitive notions of "change" and "a new forward looking future." Plus, it would set a new precedent after 8 years of dictating policy rather than developing policy. Obmam would be regarded as thoughtful and contemplaitve rather than brash and arrogant, like McCain/Bush. It also helps Obama get away with nuanced stances on a myriad of major issues, which could be a problem for him as election day draws close should the Republican 527s unleash aanother wave of "flip-flop" ads which absolutely killed John Kerry in 2004.