Whenever I see something about the Marne, I think about the 3rd ID. While it turned out to be something else entirely......I'm glad it caught my eye.
From today's NYT
October 27, 2008
Remember the Marne
By WILLIAM KRISTOL
“My center is giving way. My right is in retreat. Situation excellent. I attack!”
That’s the message supposedly sent by General Ferdinand Foch of France to his commanding general, Joseph Joffre, during the crucial First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. The French and British counterattacks succeeded. The German Army, after advancing for a month, was forced back.
Here in the U.S., after more than a month of Democratic advances, it’s the Republican center that’s giving way, and some on the political right who are in retreat. The Obama campaign is marching toward the biggest nonincumbent Democratic presidential victory since 1932, and the Democratic Party is fighting its way toward its best overall presidential and Congressional year since 1964.
Situation not-so-excellent. Time for McCain to attack — or, rather, finally to make his case.
The heart of that case has to be this: reminding voters that when they elect a president, they’re not just electing a super-Treasury secretary or a higher-level head of Health and Human Services. They’re electing a commander in chief in time of war.
The McCain campaign intends, I gather, to return to the commander in chief theme with an event in Florida Wednesday showcasing former secretaries of state and retired senior military officers. But why not showcase young Iraq vets instead? These young soldiers and marines can testify eloquently to the success of the surge that John McCain championed, and to the disaster and dishonor that would have followed Barack Obama’s preferred path of withdrawal.
As for the future in Iraq, the respected foreign policy analyst Michael O’Hanlon, a Democrat, endorsed Obama this past weekend. But O’Hanlon also wrote on Politico that Obama’s Iraq position is “extremely risky,” and that “getting all American combat forces out of Iraq by April 2010, a position he has held while we were losing the war, during the comeback phase, and now while we are winning, is very imprudent and I continue to hope and pray that he rethinks it.”
McCain could point out that hope is nice and prayer is good. But, he could ask: With respect to our national security, do we really want to elect a president on a hope and a prayer?
That has to be the substantive core of his closing argument. But style and tone matter, too. Last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll showed 64 percent of voters saying McCain is spending more time attacking the other candidate than explaining what he would do as president. Just 22 percent say the same of Obama.
When you’re in a hole, stop digging. McCain could order his campaign to pull all negative ads, mailers and robocalls.
For that matter, he might as well muzzle the campaign. McCain campaign senior staff members now seem to be spending more time criticizing one another than Obama, and more time defending their own reputations than pursuing a McCain-Palin victory. McCain should simply say that for the last week of the campaign, no staff member is authorized to speak to the media about anything beyond logistical and scheduling matters.
Then McCain and Palin can spend the final week speaking for themselves. They should throw themselves open full time to the media. Could the press coverage get worse? Next Sunday, McCain and Palin could divide up the talk shows. Sarah Palin live! Lots of people would tune in.
There could be one other big moment this week. Obama has bought a half-hour of television in prime time Wednesday. McCain and Palin could buy time Thursday night — giving voters some incentive to keep an open mind at least until McCain and Palin get to make their case.
Palin could speak first, reprising her fine recent speeches on women’s issues and special needs kids — speeches that got almost no press coverage. She could then introduce her running mate, reminding people of his heroism, and pointing out, as she does on the stump, that he is the only candidate “who has truly fought for America.”
As for McCain, he needs to speak about America’s greatness and its future; about how the ingenuity and toughness of the American people will turn around this financial crisis just as the ingenuity of General Petraeus and the toughness of his fighting men and women turned around Iraq; about how America’s spirit was not undone by a terrorist attack, and will not be undone by a financial mess; about how the naysayers will once again be proved wrong; about how America will emerge from its troubles stronger than ever and will win its battles at home and abroad.
McCain has a chance to close this election in a big and positive way. He has a chance to get voters to rise above the distractions and to set aside the petty aspects of the campaign. He has a chance to remind them why they have admired him, and perhaps to persuade them to vote for him on Nov. 4.
Would this turn things around? Unlikely. But why not take a shot?
I like Bill, I enjoy watching him on FoxNews Sunday. But I fundementally disagree with his plan for McCain to pull back on the so-called negative ads. To me a negative ad is something that smears by distorting or manipulating the truth. I don't feel that is what is happening when we talk about Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Rezco, etc.
If the people who discuss these people are telling the truth or expressing a legitmate concern, then it's not negative.
I am sincerely concerned with the people Obama associated with in his past. I am genuinely questioning what influence they have had or are having on the man who wishes to become President of the United States.
That's not negative. That's my right.
That said, I have highlighted the part I agree with most and I wholeheartedly agree with Bill that McCain should be surrounding himself with young Iraq veterans.....especially this guy and the guys from VFF.