With the exception of a very few slam dunk no brainer topics, I am loath even to speculate on —much less to purport to know— What Would Nixon Do?.
That said, a tip o’ the cap to Roger Stone for his “WWND” post on yesterday’s StoneZone.
My only minor quibble that it would be more accurately called “WWNHD” —What Would Nixon Have Done— because at this point it’s more a case of mopping up spilt milk than providing a prescription for snatching a last minute victory from the already grinding jaws of defeat.
Nixon understood that a presidential campaign had a natural rhythm and that criticism of your opponent should start early, and begin mildly, slowly ratcheting up the rhetoric over time so that harsh attacks in the final days did not seem shrill or desperate. A review of the closing weeks of the 1960 campaign against Kennedy would show that both candidates were calling their opponent a liar. By coddling Obama early in the campaign, McCain has essentially precluded effective attacks on his opponent in the closing weeks because such attacks will sound desperate and nasty.
William Ayres should have become a household word – four months ago. Obama’s association with pro-Palestinian thugs, Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson, should have been issues – four months ago. Obama’s dealings with convicted felon Tony Rezko should have been an issue – four months ago. Raising them now-as Dick Morris recommends-would only be seen as guilt by association.
If there’s any hope left for the McCain campaign now that the days have dwindled down to a precious few, it’s raising doubts about an Obama administration’s tax policies. As a best case scenario it could lead to a McCain victory; as a worst case scenario it might keep at least one house of Congress in Republican hands. But even here, the window of opportunity was open widest several weeks ago:
Now Joe the plumber has handed McCain that central issue he needs which is the redistribution of wealth that Obama has planned for after the election. Nixon would have declined to debate the fine points of Obama’s tax cut proposal simply by pointing out that Obama, Reid and Pelosi are the “Axis of Taxes” and no Obama tax cut plan would bare any resemblance to today’s proposal once the Democratic Congress got a hold of it.
The upshot has been an unfocused campaign that is now experiencing the results of the self-inflicted double whammy of having failed to provide voters with something to vote for or against.
Neither McCain nor Palin has taken on the ‘pointy headed, Ivy league Hollywood-Manhattan- Georgetown elites’ who have created a caricature of Governor Palin and who are largely responsible for the Wall Street melt-down. Senator Joe Biden authored the law that makes it impossible for a middle class family to declare bankruptcy, to the benefit of the big banks. Do you think Nixon, or any capable political professional, would have missed this line of attack?
There is no doubt that the financial collapse hurt McCain’s campaign and boosted Obama. Yet Nixon would have made Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank and Obama Advisors, and former Fannie Mae big shots Jim Johnson and Frank Raines, wear it – blasting them for the social engineering which gave mortgages to poor people and minorities who couldn’t afford them. In fact McCain should have announced that his Attorney General, Rudy Giuliani, would send the entire Fannie Mae crew to jail.
Most of “WWND,” however inspired, is still a matter of opinion. But Mr. Stone has one thing unquestionably right regarding What Would NIxon Do (this is in the slam dunk no brainer category to which I referred above):
If Nixon was with us today his most important piece of advice would be “never give up.” In politics a week is a life time. The Electorate remains volatile, voters are still not quite sold on Obama, and it isn’t over ’til they count the votes.