Has McCain Finally Taken the Gloves Off?

It seems that John McCain may finally be abandoning his "take it easy on Barack" approach to campaigning that was allowing the Democrat to walk all over him without getting much of an in kind response.

Lately, McCain has sharpened his attacks on Obama, using both ridicule and good old fashioned political punches to land some body blows on the messiah. His best line to date is his claim that Obama "would rather lose a war and win an election." You know you've hit paydirt when even the pro-Obama press whined about that one.

But it is McCain's critique of Obama's judgment on the surge that his campaign thinks will cut deeply into the notion of Obama's inevitability. Many pro-Obama analysts are already dismissing this tactic saying that Prime Minister Maliki's seeming acceptance of Obama's timeline is the ballgame.

McCain hasn't helped much by muffing the Iraq timeline a bit, saying the surge was responsible for the "Awakening" militias the sprouted up in the Sunni community to fight al-Qaeda. The surge may have given a nice psychological boost to those efforts but they clearly started before the surge was even announced.

Nevertheless, I think if McCain continues to hammer on the points he made yesterday in Denver speaking before an audience of veterans - that Obama was not only dead wrong about the surge but has now cynically come around to the view that it worked - he has a real chance to get people to start asking questions about Obama's inexperience and lack of judgment:

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn't just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

Three weeks after Senator Obama voted to deny funding for our troops in the field, General Ray Odierno launched the first major combat operations of the surge. Senator Obama declared defeat one month later: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." His assessment was popular at the time. But it couldn't have been more wrong.

By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from pre-surge levels. American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality. "Not only have we not seen improvements," he said, "but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."

If Senator Obama had prevailed, American forces would have had to retreat under fire. The Iraqi Army would have collapsed. Civilian casualties would have increased dramatically. Al Qaeda would have killed the Sunni sheikhs who had begun to cooperate with us, and the "Sunni Awakening" would have been strangled at birth. Al Qaeda fighters would have safe havens, from where they could train Iraqis and foreigners, and turn Iraq into a base for launching attacks on Americans elsewhere. Civil war, genocide and wider conflict would have been likely.

Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. ...

Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear. I told you the truth. (Hat Tip: Powerline)

In order for this strategy to work, McCain has to hammer on this theme daily for the next few weeks. He has to coordinate the strategy with surrogates. He has to spend some bucks on advertising in key states. He has to force Obama to address the discrepancy between his words then and his words now - force him to say he was wrong.

A tall order that. But a rewarding strategy if he can make it work.
It seems that John McCain may finally be abandoning his "take it easy on Barack" approach to campaigning that was allowing the Democrat to walk all over him without getting much of an in kind response.

Lately, McCain has sharpened his attacks on Obama, using both ridicule and good old fashioned political punches to land some body blows on the messiah. His best line to date is his claim that Obama "would rather lose a war and win an election." You know you've hit paydirt when even the pro-Obama press whined about that one.

But it is McCain's critique of Obama's judgment on the surge that his campaign thinks will cut deeply into the notion of Obama's inevitability. Many pro-Obama analysts are already dismissing this tactic saying that Prime Minister Maliki's seeming acceptance of Obama's timeline is the ballgame.

McCain hasn't helped much by muffing the Iraq timeline a bit, saying the surge was responsible for the "Awakening" militias the sprouted up in the Sunni community to fight al-Qaeda. The surge may have given a nice psychological boost to those efforts but they clearly started before the surge was even announced.

Nevertheless, I think if McCain continues to hammer on the points he made yesterday in Denver speaking before an audience of veterans - that Obama was not only dead wrong about the surge but has now cynically come around to the view that it worked - he has a real chance to get people to start asking questions about Obama's inexperience and lack of judgment:

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn't just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

Three weeks after Senator Obama voted to deny funding for our troops in the field, General Ray Odierno launched the first major combat operations of the surge. Senator Obama declared defeat one month later: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." His assessment was popular at the time. But it couldn't have been more wrong.

By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from pre-surge levels. American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality. "Not only have we not seen improvements," he said, "but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."

If Senator Obama had prevailed, American forces would have had to retreat under fire. The Iraqi Army would have collapsed. Civilian casualties would have increased dramatically. Al Qaeda would have killed the Sunni sheikhs who had begun to cooperate with us, and the "Sunni Awakening" would have been strangled at birth. Al Qaeda fighters would have safe havens, from where they could train Iraqis and foreigners, and turn Iraq into a base for launching attacks on Americans elsewhere. Civil war, genocide and wider conflict would have been likely.

Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. ...

Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear. I told you the truth. (Hat Tip: Powerline)

In order for this strategy to work, McCain has to hammer on this theme daily for the next few weeks. He has to coordinate the strategy with surrogates. He has to spend some bucks on advertising in key states. He has to force Obama to address the discrepancy between his words then and his words now - force him to say he was wrong.

A tall order that. But a rewarding strategy if he can make it work.