Advice for John McCain

Obama says he is for change, but swing voters are not convinced that he stands for the type of change they want. I suspect that many believe the change Obama brings to the future will not be based on the values of our past. Values like capitalism, free enterprise, the ability to work hard and honest to get ahead while also embracing new technologies that will make us better in the future. You show voters that his change is not good for America.

There’s still hope if you get your act together

By Jamie Miller

I’m often asked by friends, colleagues or members of the press to tell them what advice I would give if I were involved with Sen. McCain’s campaign.

Here is what I would tell McCain.

First, with 28 days until Election Day, all is not lost. The economy is bad, the debates were bad and the campaign has been bad. The good news is, you are running against an opponent who has still not made the sale to the American people.

There is a flaw with Barrack Obama that swing voters have identified that you have not. Find out what it is and exploit it. I think you are getting close by calling Obama risky, but you haven’t articulated why.

Is he risky because Democrats effectively socialized the failed mortgage industry? Or, is it that Obama wants to socialize health care which will also fail?

In one of Obama’s commercials he says that “real change” would equal “shared responsibility.” Didn’t we just share a ton or responsibility in the mortgage socialization that led to our current economic crisis?

It’s too risky to have a liberal Democrat president with liberals leading both chambers of Congress. You came close to saying this in the most boring town hall debate in the history of mankind when you said that “Obama has never taken on the leadership of his own party.”

John, you can’t just show voters the dots – you have to connect them. Conversely, you have to articulate that you will lead the country in a new direction. This direction does not have to be away from our mostly conservative roots, but it does have to include a few no-brainers like developing renewable resources; and not just oil and nuclear power. It should also include things like openness in government versus doing everything behind closed doors as the Bush Administration has done.

While painting Obama as too risky for America, you have to “corner the brand” on being the stable leader and someone who can be trusted. These are naturals for you.

Right now, swing voters are confused. They don’t want to have more of the past eight years. They don’t particularly want to vote Republican, but they know you are different from Bush. You have a career of showing that you are a maverick, but you must also show them the specific instances when you have taken on the administration – win or lose.

Show Americans that you are the original maverick. Swing voters also have not warmed up to Barrack Obama; you need to take advantage of this position. They have forgotten about Rev. Wright, they haven’t heard that Democrats socialized the mortgage industry under the Clinton Administration, and they forget that Obama wants to socialize medicine through “shared responsibility.” Tell them! Tell them soon! Tell them loud!

Obama wants to demean our military by putting our men and women in uniform on the same level as the Peace Corps. It’s hard to believe that no one is talking about this risky, liberal idea. Obama said in both debates that he wants to give volunteers in the Peace Corps the same benefits as those who serve in our military. What? We’re going to give a bunch of hippy, dope-smokers the same benefits as those who are in harm’s way fighting terrorism? Is this the type of change America wants? I don’t think so.

Obama says he is for change, but swing voters are not convinced that he stands for the type of change they want. I suspect that many believe the change Obama brings to the future will not be based on the values of our past. Values like capitalism, free enterprise, the ability to work hard and honest to get ahead while also embracing new technologies that will make us better in the future. You show voters that his change is not good for America.

Gov. Palin has been both an asset and a liability to your campaign. I believe more of an asset because she ignites the base. You have to make sure that the light stays on you, however, because she is such a personality that everyone wants to see her, interview her, etc. The problem is that Obama has effectively framed this election about his experience vs. Gov. Palin’s. You have to make this election about Obama vs. McCain. Keep Palin out there firing up the base and you take the interviews. People are going to either vote for you or against you. There are very few who are going to cast a vote based upon Gov. Palin.

While you are trying to paint Obama as “risky” he is trying to paint you as “erratic.” It was a mistake to suspend your campaign. You can’t fix that now, but if you are going to bring it up in a debate, you have to hit home that the behind-closed-door-deal that was being brokered by Democrats was brought into the open for Americans to see because of your involvement.

Too much of the messaging of your campaign is based upon you being president not becoming president. During last night’s debate, you answered the question, “Is Russia under Vladimir Putin an evil empire?” You answered with “maybe.” Go listen to Tom Brokaw’s chuckle when he reiterates “maybe.” All of America had the same nervous laughter. You went on to describe that if you answered yes, it meant that we would be reigniting the Cold War, but if you answered no, it ignored their behavior. You followed with an even better response. Too bad most of the viewers who were left at the end of this dull-fest were twitching on the floor over your answer of “maybe.” You have to speak to the American people like you want to become president, not like you already are.

You have to run the last four weeks like you are a Washington outsider who is a maverick, not a Washington insider who is a maverick.

There’s still hope John, but you need to run more like you did in 2000 than you have in the last six months of 2008. Voters are longing for some straight talk.

Jamie Miller is a political consultant specializing in political campaign management, strategic planning, public relations and crisis communications. He has been involved with running and managing political campaigns since 1994. E-mail him at:

9 thoughts on “Advice for John McCain”

  1. This response is dedicated to James Garner, who by the way has called , and would like his name back. It’s bad enough that that Scientological* couch jumper co-opted it. Now this.
    How in hell does the term even relate to McCain, anyway? Does it have to do with his fiber intake and his proclivity to roaming around the countryside?
    You and your Republican ilk, Jamie, are truly delusional this time round. Your “truth” is bent by the heat waves given off by your hate inducing rhetoric, like mirages in the desert.
    A good example of this is your distortion of civilian service, and that it is in some way being disrespectful to our military. For you to even think this, makes me wonder if it would be even worth my time to try to make you understand how bankrupt an idea like that really is. All a belief like that is, is fuel for the hateful ire produced by the crowds you say are “ignited”, by your “Bering Strait Barbie’s” so called ability at base pumping.
    As far as any true lover of “our country” is concerned, this attitude couldn’t be any further from the McCain mantra of “Country First”, that he claims as his, as if he holds title to it.
    For you people(meaning Republicans), to be accepting of a “Dizzy Debutante Dolt” like Palin, being a heartbeat away from the Presidency, behind a four time cancer patient without any reservations, I dare say you are anything BUT people who put their “Country First”. You may think Johnny Mac has a chance, but I’m here to tell you short of a declaration of Martial Law and the canceling of the election (Which I believe has some real possibilities), Johnnie has a better chance of Palin learning Russian by listening to a Russian broadcast of Dr. Zhivago.
    See you guys in ’12. Can’t wait to see who you dig up then. Who knows, with some tax incentives for reanimation technologies, You might even get your Papa Reagan back. But I gotta tell ya’, that without parallel advancements in Alzheimer research, you’d be better off with a time machine so you could go back, to say 1977, when maybe he already wasn’t showing signs.

    Your Loving Progressive Friend;
    Johnie 2xs, Johnie2xs

    *In the age of Bush,word construction is open to all.


  2. Well said johnie2xs!

    Palin is just another tool of the party. No one expects McCain to last 4 years, especially after THIS campaign season. This is his last hurrah, and Palin is just the next puppet in line. I don’t blame McCain entirely and believe that he was “sold” on Palin by Karl Rove and the others. Her inexperience and insecurity is just what the party needs to maintain their control behind the scenes. Currently there are 3 campaings going on: McCain’s, Obama’s, and Palin’s. Hers is absolutlely seperate from his, and I think he feels like a sucker now.

    Palin is the same as GW. NO ONE thinks that GW has ever made a decision on his own. He burned up all of his critical thinking skills with cocaine decades ago. Palin will continue leading us on our steady decline into fascism, with her own inability to make decisions without consultation.

    The only thing worse than waking up on November 5th and finding out that our new president is an African Muslim (his father was, so by birth he WAS) named Barack Hussein Obama, would be to see some trailer park beauty pageant contestant ready to take over when her cancer ridden predecessor kicks the bucket before he takes office.

    Let’s ALL stop being TOOLS of the party, and start becoming students of the game.


  3. A very well written and articulate piece. Voters are longing for somone to vote for and neither has “closed the deal” by “connecting-the-dots” as Jamie clearly states. As for your “loving progressive friend(s)” above…they don’t seem like they are either. They do seem fairly adept at offering hollow analysis and name-calling though! If we don’t agree with them, we must be “tools” of the Party?
    As somone who has served in our military, I can say that offering the same, or similar, benefits to the Peace Corps crowd is akin to a slap in the face to so many men and women who have served our still great, albeit imperfect, Nation.


  4. Dear “sunstatepolitical”; First off, I too am a veteran, but first and foremost I’m a person. Having been a veteran gives me no greater distinction than anyone else in this country who is concerned about where it is, and we are going next. It only shows a difference in the path taken. You know, not everyone in high school can be the sports star, or the cheerleader, or any one of a number of fleeting “moment in the sun” type positions, growing up. We all grow into our own ways of contributing to our shared existence. To believe that a person who dedicates themselves to an endeavor, like the Peace Corp, is any lesser than those who serve under arms, could be extrapolated to mean that War trumps Peace. I’m sure you can’t be meaning that.
    I am a Progressive, but I hold many Conservative values, consequently I’m not sure that I am easily categorized, nor do I want to be. I am a believer in the views of that great 20th Century philosopher, Rodney King, who sagely quipped, “Can’t we all just get along?” We are now in the midst of a most dire of situations, and snarky attacks will get us nowhere. My poking at McCain is a way of highlighting the fact that his campaign is a cynical attempt to gain the Presidency with all the style of swinging wildly at a pinata. There’s no there, there. Palin is a not just a joke, she’s a danger. It is no less than the next step toward the further dumbing down of America, as if we can afford any continuation of that. Obama is truly the lesser of two evils, and the most recent example of what we have wrought from the system we have fostered. The corrupting aspects of “Money Politics” is why, I believe, we are where we are. Until, and unless, this is corrected the future just offers us more of the same.
    Oh, and Year1Media, thanks for the kudo.

    Johnie2xs, again


  5. 1) Being a veteran of war is not a “moment in the sun” position. When someone stands in the midst of battle for their country, they are and should be regarded with highest esteem and distinction. I am not a veteran and would in no way compare my life experiences to those of someone who has served and risked his/her life for us. War does not trump peace obviously; however, war has been and will be sometimes necessary to preserve freedom and restore peace. Comparing a soldier to a sport’s star demeans life itself. My voice and my vote is legal and significant due to the sacrifices of war and the individuals who fought.

    2) Rodney King is (while I’m sure a very nice person) not a philosopher. Hopefully, we are exposed to enough culture to know this.

    3) The Peace Corp is a noble endeavor by individuals willing to sacrifice to improve the lives of others. God Bless ya.

    4) It is sexist and discriminatory to refer to a female politician or any female with language such as “Bering Strait Barbie, Dizzy Debutant Dolt, trailer park beauty pageant contestant.” In 2008, we are still struggling for women’s rights and equality. We cannot accuse others of using hate rhetoric while issuing vitriolic attacks that are personal in nature or otherwise. We will never “all get along” speaking to each other with venomous disregard.

    5) Why pick on dope smokers????


  6. Erin68; Whoa! Take a chill pill! Point for point;
    1) I never meant to intimate being a veterans as a “moment in the sun” position. The high school reference was only meant to make the point that we all have our own ways of contributing, and deserve respect for whatever way we choose to do it. I was trying to address the imbalance between a vet and a peace corp volunteer intimated by the previous commenter. My purpose was to point out our equality.
    Now relative to prosecuting war to “preserve freedom”; Whose freedom? The oil companies? The Zionist Israeli state? (Remember, not all Jews are Zionists).
    2) Come on, give me a break. Tongue in cheek? Heard of it?
    3) Yes. So is Americorp, The Salvation Army, The United Way, et al.
    4) Sexist? Palin is a cartoon. She is an embarrassment. I’m sorry if you don’t like the way I stated my dislike for her by using terms you may find reprehensible, but the mere attempt to foist her on our country as a possible VP deserves what it gets. Why are you not embarrassed? And I can guarantee you, I am not a sexist. My mother would never have allowed it. Wooden spoons hurt(Italian mother, ya’know).
    5) What did I say about dope smokers? I don’t anymore, but as they say “in the day” I did my share, I assure you.
    One more thing. Check out comment #5


  7. I always appreciate the responses. This article was referenced in the Orlando Sentinel today.

    So, Johnnie, now not only the Peace Corps, but volunteers for Americorps, the Salvation Armay, et. al should get the same benefits as men and women in the military?

    One is risking their life, the other is not. It’s that simple. From a parent who will have draft-age boys during this next Administration, Obama and his risky plans scare the heck out of me because he isn’t going to be able to get out of Iraq (and if he does, he says he’s just moving those troops to Afghanistan), and he will have to institute a draft to get the number of people needed to protect our homeland — especially if everyone can avoid military service by joining the Peace Corps or volunteer at their local animal shelter (which is what Obama’s idea will eventually grow into).


  8. I’d be interested to know in what capacity, when & where, “johnie2xs” served in the military? I served as an Airborne Infantryman in the United States Army from 1990-1994 when I received an “Honorable Discharge,” but I doubt this person even really knows what that means? Did he or she get “Chaptered” out of the service because he or she was “fat” and couldn’t hang with the rest? This commenter is more likely just another paid plant or volunteer dolt for the Obama camp…? A Loser either way.
    I figured I should just dispense with thoughtful dialogue and fight ad hominen attack with ad hominen attack, because it doesn’t seem like this individual can employ a truly thoughtful argument. Palin has been a working Wife, Mother, Mayor, and Governor. WHAT have YOU done lately???
    Mr. Miller wrote a great article about some things that McCain could do to enhance his position in the voter marketplace as it were. I hope he takes the advice!
    Another thing – I don’t care to go along to get along with Socialists in the Democrat Party or impostors within my own Republican Party who pose as true [Classical Liberal]Conservatives. There are distinctions, so let’s state them “loud & proud” as Jamie has suggested. I don’t need to get in touch with why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling. I know the way people like Johnie think. They think, “What’s mine [theirs] is mine [theirs] and what’s yours is mine [theirs]!” My current economic situation is due largely to poor decisions I have made, and I have nobody else to blame, for the most part.


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