After running a brilliant primary battle to defeat Hillary Clinton, the Obama campaign is now in disarray. Why?
Perhaps it's because Barack Obama has never run a competitive race against a Republican.
Now, facing John McCain's blistering ads, Obama seems unable to fight fire with fire. The Democratic rank and file are furious (while simultaneously denouncing McCain's negativity) and scared that Obama doesn't how to close the deal.
Hence the Obama campaign's vow to take the gloves off, once again, and go after McCain hard as an out-of-touch Bush clone.
One flaw with this supposed course correction is that it isn't one. That's been Obama's message for months. Indeed, ABC News' Jake Tapper wrote on his blog that this is actually the fourth time Team Obama has pledged to strip off the gloves for a bracing round of fisticuffs.
To prove his newfound determination, bare-knuckle Obama unveiled a new TV ad, to air in key states.
It begins with the date "1982," a picture of a disco ball and footage of McCain in clunky glasses from his first year in Washington. "Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn't," says the announcer. "He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail, still doesn't understand the economy and favors $200 billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class." All the while it shows ancient computers and a cordless phone that looks like a walkie-talkie from "Ice Station Zebra."
The tax-cuts and economy barbs are familiar boilerplate. What's new is the charge of computer illiteracy and the blatant attempt to attack McCain as too old for the job - and that speaks volumes.
First, the ad is dishonest. McCain has been one of the Senate's leading authorities on telecom and the Internet.
In 2000, Forbes magazine called him the "Senate's savviest technologist." That same year, Slate's Jacob Weisberg gushed that McCain was the most "cybersavvy" of all the presidential candidates, a crop that included none other than Al Gore. Being chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Weisberg explained, "forced him to learn about the Internet early on, and young Web entrepreneurs such as Jerry Yang and Jeff Bezos fascinate him."
Weisberg, an Obama booster, now disingenuously mocks McCain as "flummoxed by that newfangled doodad, the personal computer."