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25 August 2008


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Big mistake by Obama a few weeks back. He let up and went on vacation. (yes he needed it and can afford it. but It gives McCain breathing room.)

McCain is old and it shows. His campaign management skill and talking point control is not tight. He keeps changing people, messages are not coherent, He barely keep up with modern campaign pace. All he has going for him is GOP campaign machine, which is still ruthless.(Media control, money thus ability to push message hard to public)

McCain is like an old boxer. He still has his reflect and good coach. But his timing is not as good, he can't quite anticipate what new tricks the kids are using, and he can't counter act combination as quick.

Obama team should never let GOP media machine dictate the general pace. Because then McCain is in good footing. They should force McCain to use his stamina near his breaking point. Force him to fast pace campaigning, force him to make quick decision, bombard him with questions, ... etc.

That should decouple GOP media machine pace and timing with actual McCain physical ability to process situation.

Once the system crack, they will start bleeding money again, trying to fix the damage. Obama team better get going, it will take 4-6 weeks to rev up GOP campaign speed to near breaking point, then start throwing punch. It's all coming down to mechanics and precision now. Everybody already knows the whole set of talking points and tricks.

McCain campaign crew isn't as tight as Obama team. He just changed it few months back. Make them sweat.


What does an McCain/Petraeus or McCain/Romney administration mean in terms of economic and foreign policy?

Does it mean Wall Street and KStreet dominated policy on economics and neo-con oriented international relations?

How would they work with a Democratic majority Congress?


The McCain strategy has been pretty clear since his team brought in Rove protegé Steve Schmidt: all smears, all the time, from mocking Obama's "celebrity" to charging that Obama puts wanting to be pres ahead of his country to even suggesting that Obama was responsible for high gas prices.

Obama's job? A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds, “8 in 10 say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the USA, and even more rate the economy as ‘only fair’ or poor. 7 in 10 say it’s getting worse.” He must counterattack in kind when he gets smeared, while clearly tying McCain to the Bush/GOP crew who are responsible for "the way things are going in the USA," while offering his own concrete prescriptions for change.

It's still much too early in the GE campaign to make any kind of predictions. Team Obama ceded Team McCain/Rove the month of August (Obama's European Tour and vacation). Team McCain took that opportunity to go heavily negative on him for the entire month. The damage could have been much worse. Anything can happen between the conventions, debates, and election day. I'd like to note that Team Obama performed very well in the primary, knocking out my favored candidate. And again, note that McCain has no ground, GOTV game, where Obama's is formidable. I would not write them off at this point by any means.


I would add that McCain's whole "the Surge is working" bit is extremely debatable now that it looks like Maliki's gov't is looking to break up the U.S. funded/backed Sunni Awakening Councils. So much for political reconciliation in Iraq.

William R. Cumming

WOW! Recommending a double dose of militarism when what the country needs is a clamp on the military-industrial-academic complex that strives for continuing a US hegemony even as the country lurches into bankruptcy. Chamlers Johnson is not always right but his books "Blowback", "The Sorrows of Empire" and "Nemisis" are not totally off base. The military leadership is not the best and the brightest whatever degrees the Generals have acquired. Lack of honest and lack of vision seem to be the key criteria. Remember as demonstreated recently in Georgia not all options are in the hands of the US.


Now you've done it. I hope the McSame camp does not read the SST. Please do not mention this again, the walls have ears, and possibly eyes.Sush.

John Hammer

Back in 1996 (in Korea) my infantry company commander told us a story of when he was a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne. The story was told as a result of my sending a three round burst in a southern direction at a trench range. You don't do that in Korea, all rounds go north. Thank God I did not hurt anybody. Anyway, when the high speed company commander was with the 101st he was at a range and a "Joe" accidentally put a bullet into his battalion commander. It hit one of the Lt. Col.'s ribs so when it blew out the other side... yeah, that's bad. Despite all this, the bat. commander's main complaint was that he was becoming a training "distractor". Once General Petraeus became a famous guy, I read about the same incident exactly as it was conveyed to me in Korea. The high speed company commander now commands a battalion of 172 Airborne in Afghanistan.


Just a reminder to those who think national polls are giving them a good prognostication, you can stay focused on the real horse race here:

Keep your eye on the pie chart at the top left of the page. The only way McCain wins this election is with 270 electoral college votes. He can put Richard Coeur de Lion on his ticket and it won't get him that magic number.

Plus, you may recall Kerry lost in 2004 by 118,000 votes in the state of Ohio. This year, Ohio has same day voter registration. That means every college kid in the state can register AND vote on Nov. 4.

As goes the 18-34 year old vote in Ohio, so goes the electoral college.


And tell me again why the good General Petraeus would want to do as you suggest?
I continually wonder why today any sane self-respecting American would aspire to the national stage. When General Petraeus leaves the uniform he will depart with the well earned sincere gratitude of the American public….regardless of their persuasion on the war. Dubya wanders off with widespread disdain and public scorn. And the good general would want to sign up for that?


I disagree. To the extent that Republicans are exposed during this election it's primarily on two issues, the war in Iraq (and more largely on how they've executed the war on terror) and their domestic economic policies. How does Petraeus help with either of these? Additionally, for a 4-star to retire from the military to join the ticket as a VP candidate removes the protection that has, for the most part, shielded Petraeus's actions and statements from a more damning judgment that he appears sometimes to be guided more by a personal ambition and loyalty to Republicans than the best interests of the force.

Mad Dogs

Pat wrote: "McCain is likely to win the election because of the "issues" now built into the Obama campaign but he is a terrible, boring, sleep inducing speaker."

I've got a nickel that says you're wrong. *g*

Bill W, NH, USA

My bet is that he'll pick Joe Lieberman and that will cause him to lose the election.

Sven Ortmann

Maybe I misunderstood the guy at CNN, but if I understood correctly, one of their commenters (the 30ish black guy with rather liberal stance) said that McCain would - if undeterred by Realpolitik - probably want to have Ron Paul as vice.

That would be an extremely interesting and confusing move.
The Democrats would be confused (many of Paul's fans likely planned to vote for Obama) and the Republicans as well (McCain is no conservative maverick if compared to Paul).

Petraeus stated repeatedly that he doesn't intend to run for a public office, ever.
He's busy keeping the fruits of his 'surge' project alive, anyway.


yeah. just what this country needs -- another legacy with his daddy issues who feels the presidency his due because of his vietnam experience. while he turns over the actual running of the country -- because mccain clearly has shown absolutely no interest in the vast majority of issues confronting us -- to a politicized general eager to exploit religion to advance.


The politicians have a good reason to push Mitt Romney; tickets with military officers as vice presidents have not done that well recently: George Wallace - General Curtis Lemay or Ross Perot - Admiral James Stockdale. A John McCain - General David Petraeus ticket would be a disaster for the GOP. There are sound reasons that there is no draft or taxes to pay for the Global War on Terror. If imposed, the troops would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan a lot sooner than 2013. A vote for John McCain - General David Petraeus ticket is a vote for war everywhere all the time; with thousands of nuclear weapons on red alert.

If the radicals had controlled the GOP back in 1952 and had put forth a Robert Taft - General Douglas MacArthur ticket to whip the Commies in Korea, an another Illinois politician would have been elected President. Dwight Eisenhower's pledge to go to Korea was clear cut promise to the voters that he intended to end the Korean "Police Action".



i don't see petraeus being the boone to mccain that you hypothesize. in fact i see petraeus on such a ticket would be a reminder to the voting public (the non-diehard republicans) the number of american miltary deaths in iraq have been for what -- israel's benefit -- not u.s. interests. petraeus would be a reminder to the voter that the war was built on lies by the bush administration through their enablers like mccain. petraeus's face permanently etches the failed bush admin. policies on the mind of the voter.


That would be an interesting choice. It would certainly rally "the base" which is essential for McCain, in a way that Romney never could.

OTH, even after the post surge improvements, people still don't like the war. And for good reason. The best you can say about it is that after 5 years of struggle and expense (I'm not talking about dead Iraqis as honestly they don't figure in this election) the U.S. is still not better off than it would have been had it left well enough alone. Having another man on the ticket so closely associated with the war is not going to help McCain with swing voters. Most people want to move on from Iraq. They don't want to be reminded of it all the time.

Keep in mind that Bush Sr. won an unequivocal victory in Iraq at minimal cost, ran against a draft dodger and still lost.

Patrick Lang


Well. That stirred you up.

Collectively, you still can't differentiate between analysis and advocacy. That's a problem.

I don't advocate for either Obama or McCain. This is just analysis.

Why would Petraeus want to do this? AMBITION! AMBITION! Why do you think he does anything?

He said he does not want elected office? Puh-leez! What a joke!

He would be blamed for the war? No! He would not.

He is a militarist? No. He is an intellectual who understands the proper role of the military in American life. McCain is the nutty one, not Petraeus.

We don't like military presidents? Washington? Taylor? Harrison (both) Garfield? Hayes? Teddy Roosevelt? Eisenhower? what did you say?

Don't let your politics blind you. pl

Nancy K

I am sooo sick of politics in this country. the economy is in the pits, we are looking stupid to the rest of the world, our housing market is bankrupt etc etc etc, and what are we focusing on, a women's right to choose, gay marriage, the surge. This Country needs to come togather, I can't believe that we are so completely divided that we are unable to be the United States any longer. Maybe we should just change our name to the Ununited States of America.


If McCain's managers haven't already thought of this they are not doing their job. It is obvious that the Petraeus ambition does not stop at General so I thought he was positioning himself for a 2012 run. Why not now? If Cheney approves and provides a little help there would be no stopping them.


Being an Australian, all I can offer is the Greek proverb.

"Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill."


I believe this Nov the winner will be decided by the voters in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Maybe it will all come down to Ohio once again. And as Lina points out there is a new wringer with same day registration. Additionally, I don't believe there is something similar to "gay marriage" on the ballot this time.

But...Pennsylvania could be closer than we think and could flip to be a red state this go around.


PL at 02:08 PM

Exactly. Patraeus has the chance to be the Emperor of Rome.

Don't rule anything out.

Richard Armstrong

pl: "He is a militarist? No. He is an intellectual who understands the proper role of the military in American life."

It has always been my observation having been raised in a military officers family and doing a short enlistment myself that it is ONLY the military that really do understand the "role of the military in American life."

Perhaps my acquaintence has always been limited to the "good guys", however I'm of the impression it is this deep abiding understanding of function and duty that has and will continue to prevent the possibility of a military coup.

As for militarization? Please. Eisenhower warned us about where were headed as a nation, and he was right.

Mad Dogs

Pat wrote: "Collectively, you still can't differentiate between analysis and advocacy. That's a problem."

Hah! I've still got that nickel if you're on to a wager. *g*

Seriously, I think most here did in fact understand you were in analysis-mode rather than advocacy-mode. You most often are.

And with respect to an analysis, given no explosive campaign events (more terror attacks on US soil, more war in the ME or Near Caucasus, more marital infidelities, etc.), the strength of the GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts of the Democrats this time around (the unpolled youth vote will be one of the margins to victory) coupled with the general national disgust with the Republican-led direction of this country for the last 8 years, the McSame crew is going to have to run a near-perfect campaign just to stay competitive.

Ain't gonna happen!

I think the candidate himself will implode, and more than once in a serious vote-losing way.

Also, the Democrats this time around are loaded for bear and are willing to pull the trigger.

Their mud-slinging efforts have yet to begin in earnest. I think their most effective mud to sling will be not personal (though that will be done too), but instead will be tying the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney noose unremovably around the neck of McSame.

The Republicans will compete with their own normal "politics of destruction" efforts, but I think that both Obama and Biden seem far more capable of beating back the attacks than previous Democratic candidates.

It's a long way to November (and Tippecanoe and Tyler too), so let the games begin!

Who's got the popcorn?

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