Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama/Biden ... and McCain's Reaction

I'm very happy and comfortable with Obama's selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. Of course, being at a NOLA Blogger's Conference most of the day without my laptop [more commentary on that very good conference later], I'm only just now getting around to gathering reactions to the subject from my favorite national bloggers. So, I first came across the following ad at Andrew Sullivan's blog put out by the McCain campaign immediately following the announcement of Obama's selection of Biden:

Here's what I wrote in response to this ad, which I then emailed to Andrew Sullivan:

I consider myself to be a pretty astute reader of underlying messages in political advertisements; but, for the life of me, I can't see how the advertisement McCain released highlighting Joe Biden's comments on Barack Obama and on McCain himself actually benefits McCain. What does the ad do? First, it shows that Biden feels confident in his ability to lead and to challenge Obama on this front. That could be a negative for Obama, I suppose, in that it highlights Biden's unrepentent thoughts on Obama's inexperience; but then Obama picked Biden anyway! So, hell, Obama's selection of Biden shows that he both respects what Biden can offer the campaign and doesn't hold any grudges against Biden for opinions critical of him that Biden "stands by." Can you imagine McCain, with his short fuse and ego, tolerating a similar pick? By selecting Biden, Obama answers Biden's criticism of him, criticisms that McCain is supposedly highlighting. Score one for Obama. Second, the ad shows Biden commenting positively and graciously on John McCain. So, Biden scores with McCain-leaning moderates and independents for not coming across as a nasty, attack-dog partisan hack. Biden can be gracious and even complimentary to his opponent. Unlike ... guess who? John McCain! I think when folks see Obama and Biden basking in the friendly glow of this moment, and then they see the McCain ad, the likely reaction, I think, will be: well, Obama's smart for picking the wiser, more-experience elder statesman, and Biden likes Obama as much as he can be gracious to his McCain. And when McCain has to pick someone like Romney or Pawlenty, instead of Biden, he looks kinda ungracious towards the man who criticized Obama mildly and actually complimented him! So, then, can you tell me where the this ad is a winner for McCain and a loser for Obama? I sure can't see it!
Let me just add this, too. I know what McCain is trying to do with this ad; but, it strikes me as bass-ackwards. Really, how does putting up an ad that seems to be applauding Biden's assessment and judgments do anything good for McCain, since Biden's "good judgment," in the end, put him with Obama, not McCain. Kinda makes McCain look a bit foolish if you ask me!

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