Just want to add a note to Elizabeth's thoughts on the Obama infomercial. A reader at TPM observes, "Obama can go on TV for 30 minutes and not mention John McCain even once. No way would the reverse be true." He or she is obviously correct: the McCain campaign has spent most of its time these past few weeks making a negative case for Barack Obama, instead of a positive case for itself. Everyone knows that's a product of Barack Obama's unique background and associations (has a previous presidential candidate ever had a relationship, no matter how insignificant, with an unrepentant terrorist?). It's also a product of the Republican Party's bankrupt credibility and discredited ideas. No one believes Republicans have policy proposals that will help the middle class, and no one would trust them to implement them properly if they did. The only thing left is to go after the other guy.
But I want to make one other point. John McCain has a much harder time making a positive case for himself than most candidates because he simply has zero warmth factor. I don't believe I've ever seen tape of him sitting down at a middle class family's kitchen table. I can't imagine him holding a child or posing with a monkey backpack. Outside of the POW factor, which may not have the currency we all imagine, there's little he has to sell. Certainly not enough to fill a 30-minute infomercial.