Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What John McCain needs to do to win

A week or so ago, I spoke on Barack Obama and what he needed to do to win. Now it’s time to speak on John McCain. I meant to speak sooner on this, but I was waiting to see what Gov. Sarah Palin had to say. Well, since I'm still waiting on her, I thought that I'd better go ahead with this.

McCain’s strengths

• Experienced, a war hero, and not afraid to challenge his own party.

• Has many connections to help him get things done, including connections with the media and with members of the Democratic Party.

• Has the savvy to know how to press Barack Obama’s buttons to get him off track, such as his ads comparing him to a messiah and a celebrity.

McCain’s weaknesses

• Sometimes overreaches in taking risks. It’s too soon to tell whether Gov. Sarah Palin is one such example. He also often reaches out across the aisle at the expense of his own party, which will often bring ill will between him and the GOP.

• Age and health are a factor. He is a cancer survivor, and if he is elected, he will be the oldest president.

• Lagging and sometimes lacking in knowledge of some modern conveniences such as computers, which makes him look like he’s out of touch and behind the times.

Strategies for McCain to win

• Since he’s taking the gamble probably of his political career with Sarah Palin, he needs to work, work, work on her until her public persona is as smooth as polished glass.

• Continue finding ways to upset Obama’s usually controlled public persona as he did with the “celebrity” and “messiah” ads. More such successful ads will play into McCain's statements that Obama "isn't ready to lead".

• Of the four candidates for office, he's probably the poorest speaker. When she's able to, Palin should probably shoulder the larger share of the burden of speeches, since she's demonstrated a very good knack for it (and besides, think about it: If you heard that an "old wrinkly white-haired dude" and a "hot young mama" were going to give a speech, who would you go see?)

Right now, I believe that J-Mac's campaign will soar or sink on how well Palin adjusts to becoming a candidate on the nation's biggest stage. My guess as to why he took such a risk is that he must have told himself, "At my age, this is probably going to be my only shot at this - so why not take a chance like this? I've got nothing to lose other than the election." So far, it looks like this gamble could pay off big time, so long as he plays his cards right. But he needs to play those cards! He introduced Palin to America, and they want more. He'll need to deliver, or his base will drift away again.

As to if I think he can win - again, it depends upon how well Palin adjusts to her new role as a "game changer". At this point, I still think that it's Obama's election to lose.

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