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.
And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They’re happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free.
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.
Sure, it's entirely unorthodox -- that's the point. Unless you want to sit around and hope Obama implodes on his own, McCain needs to do something drastic to shake things up. And unlike some of McCain's previous attempts to shake things up, Kristol's idea wouldn't offend the base -- and it would also play to McCain's strengths.
Note: As I've previously written, I do not think McCain should let up his attacks on Obama -- but I don't think following Kristol's advice would preclude him from that. Ideally, this would mean that any attacks launched would be done in a more effective manner ...