Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCain's New Media Strategy

In the news:
Republican John McCain on Wednesday asked the North Carolina GOP not to run a television ad that brings up the controversial former pastor of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

North Carolina Republican Party officials insisted the ad will run as planned despite McCain's request.

The ad opens with a photo of Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright together and a clip of Wright, whose comments on race have bedeviled Obama.

And here in three paragraphs I have a demonstration of John McCain's brilliant 'New Media' strategy that will simultaneously harness the power of the Internet, bypass restrictions in fundraising (partially imposed by his own shitty legislation) and counterbalance the left's massive advantage in unofficial soft advertising.

The strategy is simple: remain as detached from the conservative new media as possible without pissing them off while publicly encouraging these independent actors to be civil and avoid mudslinging. Of course, as in North Carolina, these bloggers and partisans will rebel against the barely acceptable and quite unpopular McCain and only pump up the volume on these attack ads. This gives McCain the ability to get massive publicity and avoidi any perceived affiliation with the organizations that produced them.

It is no secret that John McCain can't hope to compete with the organization, funding or 'hipness' of the current Democratic machine and he certainly can't compete in an official capacity on the Internet except to give another example of his shortcomings. If, on the other hand, he allows the most brutal of attacks to be popularized by independent actors he gets to circumvent limitations on hard and soft-money contributions yet still reap the benefit of flood-the-zone advertising. Even radio personalities that hate him will denounce his rejection of the attack which only brings more attention to the issue at hand. Brilliant.

Also, the right just doesn't have nutroots organization of the size and stability of, etc. Even if they did, attacking Obama at best is seen as kicking a puppy and at worst opens one up to the shrill charges of racism.

Therefore, it is best that McCain never, implicitly or explicitly condone a negative attack on Obama in public and instead count on the thousands of concerned, semi-hostile conservative media voices to make those attacks instead. It plays clean with the moderates, allows him the advantage when the Democrats and their apparatchiks attack, and saves him much-needed cash.

Am I giving him too much credit? Well, he's not a very good conservative but I have yet to hear the argument that he isn't a good politician. I guess we'll see. I am a moron, after all.

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