The mixed messages continue to fly out of the McCain campaign today. In Muncie, IN, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told reporters that she has no doubt that Barack Obama loves America. Didn’t she just call Obama a terrorist a couple of weeks ago?
Palin told CBS News, “I know Obama loves America. I’m sure that is why he’s running for president. It’s because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation. I believe that our ticket can do a better job for America as we reduce taxes and reign in government and allow our private sector and our families to prosper, to grow, and to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they can reinvest according to our own priorities. I think that that is best to get the economy back on track. It’s a better agenda for America. But I don’t question at all Barack Obama’s love for this great country.”
I’ll be honest. I am completely confused. Every time that I think that McCain/Palin get it, there are another series of robocalls that label Obama a terrorist, or another questioning of patriotism. I believe that there are a few different things going on here. First, Sarah Palin’s approval ratings have tanked. Perhaps they realize that they need to soften up her image, because the attack dog thing was killing her with the voters. Secondly, I think that this is a campaign that is completely at war with itself. Situations like this one usually mean that there are too many people trying to call the shots. We saw this also in Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign. The result is a lack of one clear message, because nobody can agree on it. This manifests itself though a campaign of self-contradiction and mixed messages.
Thirdly, this is a strategy. The campaign will now have the candidates run positive, while the negative stuff is saved for advertising in swing states, so that it connects with voters, but it isn’t connected to the candidate. This is an old school strategy that used to work before the Internet, but since everyone can see everything now, this strategy rarely is effective. I think the McCain campaign is divided, panicked, and spinning in circles.
They have been flailing since the economic crisis took control of the news, and nothing that they have tried so far has worked. It is nice to see Palin acknowledge that Obama loves his country, but this would have never been an issue, if she and the GOP wouldn’t have tried to label him a terrorist in the first place. If anyone still believes that Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican Party, then today might have been the first attempt at rehabilitating her image. Either way, it is likely too little, too late for McCain in 2008.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association