by David Safier
Now that the primaries are over and Glassman has his campaign team together, it's time for him to kick into high gear. The odds are for McCain winning the general by a sizable margin, but those are just the odds. Sometimes, if the underdog does all the right things, the stars align in a way that turns what everyone thought would be an easy romp for the champ into an upset.
No one has asked for my advice on how Glassman should run his campaign, but that's never stopped me before. So here are some thoughts.
1. Find out who created Cathy Eden's TV and radio ads, and hire those people. Her ads were some of the finest I've seen from an Arizona Democrat in terms of both style and substance. Glassman's TV ad had a "Look at me, ma!" quality. It was a bit self indulgent, and not very effective. If you're running ads against McCain, you've got to bring the best.
2. Out-hustle McCain. Give the old man the Scott Brown treatment. Glassman should go everywhere and meet everyone, and let the voters know how hard he's working for their vote. The Glassman bus isn't a pickup, and he favor suits over jeans, but the concept is the same. Glassman is built for comfort and for speed. He should speed around the state and make the voters comfortable enough to vote for him.
Don't go after the legend. If you try to convince people McCain's recklessness got him shot down over North Vietnam, or the Keating 5 scandal shows he's corrupt, you'll end up losing votes. Who wants to be told, "You've been wrong about this guy from the start"? You'll just turn them off.
Concentrate on the past few years. Imply McCain was once worthy of your love and respect, but not any more. He's changed. He's lost his bearings, and maybe even some of his senses.
You know that photo they use at the end of McCain's TV ads, the one where he looks so noble and resolute staring off into the distance? That old man is our great uncle who fought in World War II, all dressed up in his old uniform, standing at attention during a Veterans' Day parade. You love the old guy. You respect his service. You think he was probably a hell of a man in his day. But he's no longer capable of running things. You certainly don't ask him for serious advice. In fact, you're trying to decide when is the right time to take away his car keys.
That's McCain, a lovable, grizzled old vet who needs to be set down in a rocking chair somewhere so he can take a nice, long rest.
Combine the old man who has lost his grip with the evidence that shows he's no longer the man he once was. Talk about how weird it is the way he's changed positions on just about everything. Question how a man can run for president on being a Maverick and use the word in the title of a book, then claim a few months ago, he's never called himself a Maverick.
"Um, Mr. McCain, sir, I think you may have, um, forgotten what you used to say about being a Maverick. That's OK, I understand. It's not your fault, really. It's just that . . . what's that? Uh, no, I don't know where your car keys are, but I'd be happy to drive you down to the 7-11 if you want a Slurpy."
And speaking about forgetting things, McCain seems to have forgotten where he came from. We Arizonans sent him to Washington, but we haven't seen him around these parts much since then, except during election season. He's been so busy strutting around on the national stage and going on Meet the Press every chance he gets, he's ignored our roads that are crumbling for lack of federal highway money. He lets other senators pull in grants bringing high tech jobs to their states while our jobless rate climbs.
Glassman has put himself in the glaring, national spotlight. If he wants a political future, and I know he does, he either wins this election or gives McCain a real run for his money.
Go get 'em, Rodney!