. . . forget about the state-by-state race and instead market himself to centrists throughout the country
Mike Murphy is a political consultant who helped run Sen. McCain's 2000 campaign for the presidency. He now has no official ties to the McCain camp. Instead, he is working as an analyst for outlets like Time. From a blog there, Mr. Murphy offers Sen. McCain the following advice:
In the category of more unsolicited advice they didn't ask for, are tired of getting, and will certainly ignore, I'll holler one more pitch from my armchair to the McCain campaign (I'm a political consultant, I can't help it).
There is no state by state way to break out of the campaign's current spiral. Trips to Iowa will not do it. McCain has to go global with a big closing message. So, why not...
Strip down the state by state media budget and use the money to follow Obama's lead with a prime-time 30 minute TV address? McCain direct to camera. And for God's sake don't make it another raging attack on Obama. Instead offer a mini mea culpa for the negative tone of the last three months. Then pitch the strong bipartisan sheriff of Washington argument. A non-tax and spend liberal plan to fix economy. Offer hope and leadership.
Follow this broadcast up with two more 30 minute prime-time shows over the final week; both should be town halls with McCain in the arena facing real voters asking him very tough questions, not softballs from local GOP plants. After the 30 minutes in prime-time, let each town hall show continue for another half hour live on the internet so interested viewers can watch even more and make a web donation to the RNC. Cut the schedule down -- sorry Waterloo, IA -- to give McCain significant time to really prepare for each show. And spend big bucks to bring in top Hollywood pros and first rate production values. Risky yes, but a big message move aimed at the entire country is the best option now.
Who knows what Sen. McCain will do as a last-ditch effort. My hunch is that he will do something. I can't wait to find out what it is.