With all due respect to Senator McCain, whether Senator Obama is or is not "ready" is of no moment in this election. McCain's commercial is irrelevant. His campaign is irrelevant. As far as Obama is concerned, Senator McCain is not even a candidate in this election.
Barack Obama is running against George Bush.
And, if he's still running against George Bush in November, Obama will win. Hands down.
Any Democrat would win with this strategy. Zippy the Wonder Horse would win. Even I could win such a race -- and I'm not in Zippy the Wonder Horse's league.
So... in the interest of making things more competitive, let me suggest that Senator McCain stop running images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears in his commercials and start running images of... Hillary Clinton.
And not just images, either. Footage.
There's plenty of footage of Hillary bashing Obama -- saying he's not ready to lead, that he's untested, that he's been anointed as the media's darling without having first been 'vetted'....
Throw in some footage from her husband, too. The South Carolina stuff. Before Hillary's handlers hustled him off the main campaign trail. In fact... McCain's media people should start looking the video from those backwaters to which Bill was dispatched in the later stages of Hillary's campaign -- surely McCain had someone dogging him 24/7, right? There are probably some true gems there.
Let the Clintons bash Obama.
In the meantime, while running Clinton clips, Senator McCain can try and make the larger point that he's running against the Democratic Party, not against Sen. Obama individually. He has to make the point that Obama is a creature of his party, beholden to his party, and
The Democrats can't really fight back too well on this line. Right now, of course, they are calling McCain the stalking horse for GWB's third term and so forth... but only because McCain has not challenged this. Yet, McCain can credibly make a distinction between his own maverick career, often at odds with his own party, and Obama's career... which has never strayed an inch from the party line. He really hasn't had the time to stake out any major differences, even if he wanted to. When the Obama camp links McCain to Karl Rove, McCain can take refuge behind fawning clippings from, of all things, the New York Times (genuflection optional).
Is this negative campaigning?
Yes. But it's going to get negative anyway. We might as well have it negative and competitive.