Stopping the Bob Dole Meme

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jul 29, 2008 11:56 AM
Last night on Hannity, Mike Huckabee compared McCain to Bob Dole ... 

This, of course, is a "no no."  Aside from theage and "war hero" similarities, the problem is that it is universally believed that Dole ran a horrible campaign.  Once that label is applied to your campaign, it fuels talk about a campaign "running out of gas" or "falling apart."  These stories are hard to shake, and there is a real danger that the media will attribute this meme to McCain, which would be very damaging.

Though I've been a proponent of making Obama pick first, one argument for McCain to pick a "veep" sooner rather is that it would serve to essentially "feed the beast" a bit with some exciting news to talk about -- and prevent the media from hopping on this negative narrative. 

As Chuck Todd pointed out on MSNBC a week, or so, ago, there is one important difference between 2008 and 1996.  In '96, the RNC sensed Dole couldn't win, but the GOP brand was alive and well in senate and house races.  As such, the donors and the RNC put their money into senate races.  This time around, the opposite is true.  McCain will benefit financially from the fact that political donors and the RNC already assume we will lose some senate seats -- but that we could still win the presidency. 

What is more, it is possible that some voters will rationalize that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi -- all three Democrats -- running the government -- would be a bad idea.  Maybe the desire for divided government will prevail, and help McCain ...  Who knows?

Still, the Dole references have got to stop.  Oh yeah, and it would also help if ...

1). McCain's staff would not have him pose in front of Dole products at the grocery store, and,
 
2).  If conservative pundits wouldn't compare McCain to Bob Dole ...