Friday, February 29, 2008
Texas ad wars: that 3am call
It may perhaps prove the closest that the Clinton campaign has come to an iconic ad. But there are several problems with it.
* Its 3am in the campaign too - and this seems too late. The Clinton campaign have never offered a substantive contrast on national security, beyond the 'knows world leaders' (from time as first lady)' claim to experience. There was a debate to be had about national security last summer. But Clinton somehow ducked it, while Obama was bullishly confident about taking on the conventional wisdom on national security.
* The attack plays straight to an Obama USP and Clinton negative - making the right call on Iraq. He has his one national security contrast - for Clinton or McCain - buttoned down, and it plays particularly well to the primary audience. And his campaign have been quick off the mark turning his fightback comments into a super-rapid rebuttal pastiche. In cutting to the candidate and the Oval office earlier, the attack response has a positive, Presidential feel.
* On first seeing it, I immediately thought of the infamous LBJ Daisy Girl 1964 attack on Goldwater, though that was a different 'whose finger on the trigger' argument to argue that the world was not safe in the hands of his opponent. However, as Karen Tumelty points out, its a direct copy of a Mondale '84 ad.
Perhaps the lack of originality doesn't matter much. But Mondale lost in a 49 state landslide. Meanwhile, EJ Dionne is the latest commentator to think there's something Reaganesque about the positive Obama appeal.
As the Washington clocks strike twelve on 20th January 2009, listen carefully and you might just hear a swooshing sigh of relief travel around the world. The Bush Presidency will not leave the legacy its architects intended. But a critique of what should have been done differently since 2001 is not enough. This blog is about the new ideas which can create a 'new multilateralism' to tackle the global challenges we face.