I have noticed a difference in campaign tactics this year from years past. I have seen very few campaign ads for John McCain. Who knows, it could be the television channels that I watch – like the Discovery Channel, History Channel or Spike TV – or just simply a lack of television ads altogether. But even the few ads I have seen seem to be different than the ones seen in previous years. I have noticed, at least from the McCain side, there are little personal attacks on the Democratic candidate, at least on TV. I have however seen many ads against Barack Obama on John McCain’s campaign Web site, which is quite okay with me. In fact, I praise McCain for doing this; I am tired of seeing attacks on the opposing candidate on TV. Television campaign advertisements should be focusing on what each candidate will do and how they will do it, not vilifying the opposing candidate.
When it comes to the McCain/Palin campaign, I personally believe it has been a successful one. According to the latest polls provided by Fox News, Barack Obama only has a seven point lead over John McCain. Despite the difficult position President Bush has put the GOP in due to his policies, the McCain campaign has still maintained a rating close to Obama’s.
We have all heard John McCain and Sarah Palin use the term “maverick” to describe themselves, a characterization the Obama/Biden campaign has repeatedly disagreed with. I do believe that the term applies to them. They have both, in many cases, openly disagreed with their parties on issues concerning this country, or in Palin’s case, her state.
McCain, for example, has sided against the Republican party on issues such as in 1995, when he was only one of four Republicans to vote against the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act; in 1996, when he was the only Republican to vote against the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act; in 1998, when he took on the tobacco industry to increase taxes on cigarettes in order to fund anti-smoking campaigns and reduce the number of teenage smokers, increase research money on health studies, and help states pay for smoking-related health care costs; and in 2002, when he teamed up with Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold to pass the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
Governor Palin is also guilty of siding outside of her party as evidenced by her endorsement of Sean Parnell’s bid to unseat Alaska’s long-time state representative Don Young, as well as challenging Sen. Ted Stevens to be honest about the federal investigations into his finances.
When it comes to the presidential and vice-presidential debates, I believe that their success has been limited. They are merely treading water at this point. The debates have done little but to keep them closely trailing Obama. But what we all need to keep in mind is that polls show how the general population feels, and not necessarily how the electors will vote. We all know that the popular candidate does not always win, as evidenced by the 2000 election. I do however believe that if the McCain/Palin campaign steps it up, they will be in the White House come January.