McCain's Republican attack strategy works no more..
"John McCain went into this third debate needing a "game changer". The trouble for him is that the game has changed.[bold and emph, underlined, added by yours truly]
In the lead-up to the 2008 campaign, Democratic sages were lining up to warn whoever won the party's nomination that there was one lesson of past defeats they had to learn: if attacked, they had to hit back hard.
Political consultants such as Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain, warned that John Kerry, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis had all gone down because they had let their Republican opponents punch them and punch them again. Kerry had been "Swift-boated", refusing to dignify vicious attacks against him by responding to them - and had lost an election in the process.
Yet in this debate, Barack Obama plainly ignored that advice. McCain kept coming at him - attacking him for his relationship with an "old washed-up terrorist", accusing him of "class warfare", branding him an "extremist" on abortion - but Obama did not do what the conventional wisdom of campaigns past said he should. Sure, he politely tried to set the record straight, but only gently. And not once did he throw a punch back. When asked whether Sarah Palin was qualified to be president, he said it was up to the American people – and then praised her energy as a campaigner.
In the past, that would have had Republicans licking their chops, predicting that their muscular method of warfare would put away yet another meek Democrat. But not this time.
True, McCain succeeded in putting Obama on the defensive from beginning to end, forcing him constantly to deal with criticism from the Republican first and setting out his own agenda second. True, too, that McCain had his best debate performance so far (including a firm declaration that "I am not President Bush").
And yet none of this seemed to trouble either Obama or the Democratic surrogates who spun for him straight afterwards. Emboldened by a New York Times poll that showed voters disapproving of McCain for fighting too negative a campaign, they concluded that every time McCain threw a punch, the person he hurt was himself. By contrast, the Democrats reckoned that every time Obama remained cool and unruffled, bringing the subject back to jobs or healthcare, he looked presidential - and conveyed that he cared about the voters above all."
Amen! Need we say more?