Going After McCain's Strength

I regularly hear people talking about how Obama needs to use the Republican/Machiavellian tactic of going after his opponent's strength to win this election. Most often, that is meant to say that Obama needs to remind people that being a POW won't necessarily make John McCain a good President, as if his POW experience is John McCain's strength. However, it wasn't until tonight's speech that I fully understood that Obama has been going after McCain's strength throughout this whole campaign. But that strength isn't McCain's POW experience. That strength is McCain's mean, petty, manipulative style of politics. The destructive kind of politics that McCain turned to the moment he realized that just being John McCain wasn't going to win this election. And Obama tore himself off a huge chunk of that strength tonight:

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America.

By out-Roving Rove, Obama makes McCain look small and weak every time he and his GOP friends use those base and dishonorable campaign tactics. I know that's why McCain chose not to use them in his "response ad" tonight. But the best part about Obama's strategy isn't necessarily that it will send him to the White House (which it will). It's that it will put him in the driver's seat from which he can direct this campaign back up to the high road, where the presidential election will be decided on who's got the best ideas and the best plan to implement them instead of who's got the best one-liners. And for the first time in eight years (eight is enough :), we will choose our President based on our hopes and not our fears. Because we cannot turn back.

(More on this crazy week later)

UPDATE: If I were the GOP, I wouldn't want to have to follow that convention either. But by all means, blame the delay on Gustav, if you insist. It's better than eating cake:

UPDATE 2 (an afterthought): If anyone ever doubted that Obama was holding back quite a bit during the Democratic primaries, those doubts should be eliminated now.

UPDATE 3: I keep meaning to hit the sack, but there's just too much. By popular demand, here's Barney Smith:

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Nothing New byslag at 9:50 PM

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