McCain's Summer of "Love" Ad: Pass the Ammunition. But hold the Hope.

Imagine my surprise when I looked in my e-mail and saw that the McCain campaign issued an ad titled “Love.”

What will this be, I thought. The softer side of John M.? It is another biographical ad that talks up McCain being shot down and held captive. And his love of country is briefly juxtaposed against the “Summer of Love.”

The ongoing storyline, the subtext, being painted in McCain’s ad is this: This is no time to go with Junior (Obama).

“John McCain: Shot down. Bayoneted. Tortured. Offered early release, he said, “No.” He’d sworn an oath” (We are supposed to contrast this with Obama “breaking his oath” to adopt public financing for the Fall campaign).

“His philosophy: before party, polls and self … America. A maverick, John McCain tackled campaign reform, military reform, spending reform.He took on presidents, partisans and popular opinion.”

One thing that has bothered me for months about this line of marketing McCain is this: In 2004, McCain was in full throated disagreement with George Bush over the conduct of the occupation of Iraq and the Bush tax cuts at a time of war/occupation. There was a time during that campaign when there was an open question about whether McCain would stay on the sidelines, and not actively campaign for or even endorse Bush. But McCain was approached by Bush operatives and was told if he came off the sidelines, he would get their help in 2008. That chain of events led to this:

It seems to many McCain followers that the Senator did put party and his own ambition ahead of what he was advocating at the time for the country.

John McCain doesn’t always tell us what we “hope” to hear. Beautiful words cannot make our lives better.

Hmmm. This is out of the Clinton playbook of trying to ridicule Obama for being a gifted orator. You know what the thing is about a powerful, well crafted political speech? It moves and captivates people. In the cases of Clinton’s Howard Wolfson and now the McCain campaign, they have foolishly tried, in the absence of their own candidates’ gifts, to ridicule Obama’s gift.

Who workshopped that? Did focus groups actually respond well to criticizing and even ridiculing the obvious gifts of a candidate? It seems like a very poor play to run from scrimmage as the Clintons can attest.

John McCain is correct to emphasize his compelling biography. But as I have said before, one wonders what his captivity has to do with $4.50 a gallon gas and cratering home values. he plays the POW card so much, it gets reduced to yada yada status after a while. And that is a shame.

Don’t “hope” for a better life. Vote for one.

Yikes. Don’t hope? Mario Cuomo, I believe it was, said you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. McCain could use a new writer.

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