Can McCain Get Back in the Race?

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I think bloggers/journalists/pundits giving campaigns advice is a bad and unproductive little habit, but my posts today about how raising Ayers won’t get McCain back in the race has got me thinking about what will.

Just to be clear, I think McCain going after Obama’s associations is a choice fraught with as much danger for McCain as for Obama. (See the last two posts for why.) So what can McCain do instead? He can paraphrase Bill Clinton and label himself “a new kind of Republican.” He can slam Bush. He can denounce the way the country has been run for the last eight years by a Republican White House and, for the most part, a Republican Congress. In short, he can capitalize on the disastrous condition of the Republican brand, instead of suffering from it.

And he can match this rhetorical move to the center with policies that, in most cases, stay solidly to the right. (In a way, he would mirror Obama.) As a result, he has a good chance of retaining the Republican base and an improved chance of swaying independents. Does this path guarantee victory for McCain? Of course not, but it’s a lot better than his current strategy, which is… what exactly?

And I have to point out that had McCain pursued this strategy from the beginning, it would have been awfully tough for Obama to tie McCain to Bush as successfully as he has. Would it have depressed turnout somewhat among hardcore Republicans? Sure. But look where a half-hearted attempt to play to the base has gotten him so far.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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