Today, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee are taking issue with Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) recent suggestion that Americans inflate their car tires to save on gasoline.
Both are not only falsely claiming that Obama’s energy policy is based entirely on car maintenance, but they are concurrently selling and handing out tire gauges reading “Obama’s Energy Plan” as part of a fundraising campaign.
The Democrats should have seen this coming as early as Friday, when Newt Gingrich appeared on FOXNews calling this off-hand remark of Obama's "loony" (I suppose Gingrich should be considered the expert on nutty off-the-cuff remarks . . .). I suppose this is another signal the Republicans really don't have anything to offer the American people other than mocking a Democrat through trivia. Yet, I have neither seen nor heard nary a peep on how, or even if, to respond. My guess is that he is in a "Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't" position - if he responds, he is giving a certain legitimacy to the charges; if he doesn't, he is weak in the face of the hardball tactics of the Republicans. I find this kind of thing infuriating. AN excellent example is Somerby's column from today. His advice to the Obama campaign was to "laugh" at the Obama/Britney ad. To my recollection, he didn't respond at all; it was bloggers and some surrogates who responded - myself included among the former category. Yet, I'm not sure what good making light of the ad would have done, because that is hardly a muscular response to the coded racism the Republicans have been using since 1968 to win Presidential elections.
Rather than respond to the specific nonsense of the tire gages, it might be nice to have Obama put out a TV ad that began with McCain's recent statement that he is reluctant to talk about his POW experience, then feature clips of all the times he has talked about it. Or, perhaps an ad featuring McCain's various flip-flops, using his own words to prove the point. Or even an ad featuring McCain stammering to try to answer questions. In other words, fight trivia with substance.
Or, he could use these tactics and ads as a way of pointing out the fact that McCain's got nothing. Just an ad featuring all this crap, juxtaposed with images from the war, of home foreclosures and bank runs. I think this might even be the best idea yet.
Yes, it's negative. Yes, it's the "old" politics that Obama has sworn to change. Yet, I fail to see where he has much choice now. The Republicans have nothing, and this stunt reveals that. It would be far better to go as hard after him in a far more substantive manner than to sit back and allow this death by a thousand cuts.
Of course, if Obama takes this advice, I want a consultancy fee. . .
UPDATE: I had a brain storm just now, and I think this is a winner. Should this ad run, I expect a big, fat check from the Obama campaign . . .
Juxtapose images of the war with images from the Obama/Britney/Paris ad. Juxtapose images from a recent bank run with images of McCain stuttering to try and answer a question. Juxtapose images of the price of gas with those of Republicans handing out tire pressure gages. No words. Just the images. Then, with no voice over, a simple sentence sits on the screen for about ten seconds: "Is John McCain ready to be President?" In fact, it would be best to run the images of him stuttering and stammering right before that question appears.
I should be a political consultant.