That may sound paradoxical but it isn't. The crucial thing in any fight is to keep a clear head. By contrast an emotional seesaw does nothing but wastefully drain your energy while cultivating chaos. Which means that declaring that the battle is already lost, haranguing the McCain campaign and behaving hysterically is the worst possible thing to do.
The left went into this election with a plan and they are close to achieving their goals. The right went into this election haphazardly and has just barely managed to sort of unite around the nominated candidate.
Up until the convention too many conservatives seemed ready to peg McCain as doomed, then with the convention slash Palin bounce they seemed ready to proclaim that New York would be won, now it's back to doom and gloom. And that kind of attitude and behavior is self-destructive and stupid.
Some conservatives like Noonan and Buckley have rushed to jump aboard the Obama bandwagon. After all why not go with the "inevitable" winner. Others are railing at the McCain campaign for not hitting harder or offering advice that varies between the unrealistic and the outright stupid. The prize example of which has to be the following Bill Kristol, New York Times editorial.
Now giving a Republican campaign advice in the pages of the New York Times is a lot like giving America advice in the pages of Pravda. And such advice as it is definetly belongs nowhere but in the pages of the New York Times.
It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign. What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over. Shut down the rapid responses, end the frantic e-mails, bench the spinning surrogates, stop putting up new TV and Internet ads every minute. In fact, pull all the ads — they’re doing no good anyway. Use that money for televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time.
Provide total media accessibility on their campaign planes and buses. Kick most of the aides off and send them out to swing states to work for the state coordinators on getting voters to the polls. Keep just a minimal staff to help organize the press conferences McCain and Palin should have at every stop and the TV interviews they should do at every location. Do town halls, do the Sunday TV shows, do talk radio — and invite Obama and Biden to join them in some of these venues, on the ground that more joint appearances might restore civility and substance to the contest.
Or McCain could just concede now, since the gist of Kristol's advice is to all but suspend the campaigjn and put his fate in the hands of the press. The same press that is busy doing its dishonest best to lynch him. All the while jettisoning the ads that have actually put McCain ahead at every turn.
Now while Kristol's advice is fundamentally stupid, the people championing a more aggressive McCain campaign are missing the point, which is a campaign that does nothing but hit Obama, also does little to promote any kind of positive image for McCain. We're the ones who can be counted on to conduct the aggressive campaign online and offline, just as McCain can count on Palin to keep hitting Obama, while he expresses a larger vision for America.
McCain's campaign is by no means perfect, but neither is it as weak or dysfunctional or out of touch as its critics would like to believe. McCain is running an old fashioned political campaign against the media centered cult of personality Obama campaign. It isn't a clueless campaign by any means and counting McCain out would be foolish indeed.
For one thing McCain won the primary back when it was supposed to be Romney. He's managed to change the race in very little time and fighting the media upstream every step of the way. McCain isn't doomed and despite the polls, the race remains close. I don't need to remind most people of which way the media was calling Gore vs Bush or Bush vs Kerry. These days a Republican going up against a Democrat is sure to encounter the reverse of the Dewey Beats Truman effect.
Right now there are Obama supporters on social media sites who routinely pretend to be conservatives while spreading defeatist statements. This behavior is not random. From the very beginning, the Obama campaign worked to create the image of the inevitable candidate who could not lose. Too many conservatives have been convinced and programmed by that image. Some like Buckley have jumped ship. Others have simply accepted a premature defeat.
But victory and defeat are not inevitable, as Obama's media surrogates would like us to believe. They are the product of decisions and efforts and our own efforts are part of that larger equation of defeat or victory. So the memo here is calm down, do what you can and avoid being rattled by the propaganda. Neither candidate has won or lost. The battle continues.