It would appear that McCain has started the fall media campaign a little bit earlier than they might have planned due to their candidates' unfortunate habit of being a fool.Digby's right. The campaign has started and it is going to quickly get a great deal more nasty because McCain has no other possible winning option. The fact that McCain is frequently a confused fool and is running to convince Bush's voters that he is running for Bush's third term while trying not to convince the swing voters of the same thing does not help him run any positive campaign.
In response to Obama's aggressive moves today, they came out swinging with the first full on Rezko attacks and one of their 527s launched a series of ads about Obama's relationship with 60s bomber William Ayers. It would appear that McCain has started the fall campaign a little bit earlier than they might have planned due to their candidates' unfortunate habit of being a fool.
It doesn't help that McCain has just had one of his worst weeks, first by having Bush and Maliki announce a draft agreement that encapsulates almost every detail of the proposal Obama has made (and which McCain has attacked) and second by the media reaction to McCain's big gaffe when he didn't know how many houses he had. The latter gaffe totally undercuts the McCain camps effort to frame the election as McCain the "everyman straight shooter" versus Obama the "elitist." It doesn't help a bit that it also displays McCain's great wealth and his inability to address the economic problems of middle America at a time when America is suffering the economic consequences of Bush's tax cuts for the rich and the recent bailouts of multi-billion dollar investment banks while ignoring the very many people who are losing their homes through foreclosure. The very shrillness of the attacks by the McCain camp shows how badly they feel they have been hurt.
As the McCain camp finds themselves deeper into the kind of hole Goldwater was in back in 1964, expect the October surprise to be moved forward to perhaps late September. So far they are merely trying to recycle the attacks the Clinton camp tried, and the media is essentially ignoring them as old news. The real problem McCain is facing now, though, is that the somnolent media is beginning to wake up to McCain himself and the contrasts between the McCain image and the real McCain. As his campaign gets nastier, expect the media to start going back and looking at all the stuff they have previously swept under the table. That will just force the conservatives and the McCain camp into even nastier and shriller attacks on Obama. As I say, they have nothing else on which to run.
Then there is the other campaign. The one that is discussed above is the media-centered campaign, the one measured by polls. Underneath and mostly unmeasured is the ground game, with Obama's 50 state voter registration and get out the vote organization going up against the Republican efforts to suppress the vote. This is a major part of this year's campaign which the Republicans do not know how to deal with. It is a major reason why so many new states are being touted as swing states. The McCain effort to paint Obama as an "elitist" was in part an effort to blunt the Obama ground game, and McCain's "home count" gaffe has sabotaged that effort.
So what we have is a lot of sturm und drang in the media overlaying the deep campaign to get out the Democratic vote or suppress that GOTV effort. But the sturm und drang is already getting very nasty and will get a lot more so.
I'm waiting for McCain's temper to get out of control in front of the media myself. We know that he is easily antagonized. As the frustration builds, how long can he last? The shrillness of the attacks out of the McCain camp show that the pressure is building.