Obama blew his load today taking the attack to Sarah Palin. I agree with Jim Geraghty over on NRO when he says a Presidential campaign can only push one message at a time. The news cycle, no matter how fast these days, is finite. So let’s break it down. What was the attack, the GOP response and what SHOULD be the response:
The Obama Attack
From Mark Halperin’s blog:
Sarah Palin has been disingenuous in regards to her support of the Bridge to Nowhere.
From what I understand, this argument has some merit, but not much. It is true that while Palin was Governor, she welcomed the federal earmarks to construct the bridge. Let’s ignore the fact that you would be hard pressed to see a Governor refuse ‘free money’ from the federal government. Many would say she should have rejected it from the beginning on principle, but that just isn’t realistic from a political perspective. Once Congress buckled under public pressure and withdrew most funds, Palin then refused to pursue any further effort to fund the bridge using state means or further federal lobbying, despite political pressure from within Alaska. In other words, Sarah Palin killed the project.
The McCain Response
From NBC: “Gov. Palin learned that earmarks are bad and she did say, we don’t need our Bridge to Nowhere.”
Ok, while this is factually correct it lacks substance and any ‘oomph’. The average voter has the attention span of a 4 week old puppy, and they need some kind of ‘gotcha’ in any kind of retort for it to take hold.
What SHOULD Be the Response
This website dug up the Alaska Democrats’ own web page that describes how Palin killed the bill. McCain’s campaign should shoot back a simple message: Palin’s own Democrat opponents admitted that Sarah Palin was solely responsible for killing the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. or Your own Party disagrees with you, Sen. Obama.
Provide the documentation as provided above and you have yourself a concise and effective message that forces the Obama camp to acknowledge and disagree with their own Party or ignore the response completely. In turn, that would force the media to stop reporting on a story that isn’t going anywhere. The media feeds off the back and forth between the campaigns, so if Obama doesn’t respond to the McCain retort then the story fades.
And if they do respond? Well by that time we’ve already taken things to such a level of ‘wonkiness’ that the public and media will turn itself off, thereby muting the attack quickly and effectively.
Just a thought.