See Kaus for why this is “a total loser strategy,” paying particular attention to 5(b). If, after a week of saturation coverage of Lipstickgate, you want to whine about the other guy’s nastiness, it would behoove you to offer concrete examples at least (McCain’s sex-ed ad, etc.). As it is, this plays less like a rebuttal of an attack ad than an attack ad itself, offering one vague media tsk-tsk pullquote after another. Note to Obama: The public knows they’re in the tank. Reminding them that the press disapproves of McCain’s tactics is about as dazzling as telling them that Howard Dean disapproves, too. In fact, it’s even lamer than it appears. Ben Smith notes that “Benen” of “CBS News” listed here is actually nutroots blogger Steve Benen, formerly of the Carpetbagger Report and now of the lefty rag Washington Monthly. His only connection to CBS appears to be that the site publishes his posts occasionally in its opinion section — as it does for a bunch of other opinion journals, including NRO. Even Team Barry can’t be bothered distinguishing the media from its cheering section anymore.
Ironically, it was the media’s Obama obsession that nudged McCain down this road, beginning with the mockery of the Britney ad. Spokesman Brian Rogers:
Rogers, who hung tough with McCain through the dark days of the primary and has lived through every high and low of this turbulent and unpredictable race, argues that they tried to run a high-ground campaign and sought to keep the candidate in front of the media in the fashion he enjoys. His point: No one paid any attention.
“We ran a different kind of campaign and nobody cared about us. They didn’t cover John McCain. So now you’ve got to be forward-leaning in everything,” he said…
“When he’s sitting in back of a bus and getting questions about Viagra, I think we understand at that point you’ve got to make some tactical adjustments,” he said, recalling a particularly awkward gotcha-of-the-day moment on McCain’s bus in early July.
Exit question: What’s the smart move for The One now? Start fight fight fighting back with ever more egregious distortions of his own, per the counsel of the fightin’ nutroots, or simply ignore Maverick from now on and talk all economy, all the time? The worst thing about this ad is that it keeps the national spotlight on McCain (and of course Palin), which isn’t a position the world’s biggest celebrity can long afford.