The President, while still having the ability to shape the agenda and news cycle, cannot change the fact that there is a strong headwind pushing back against any effort to change voter perceptions -- the simple fact is that people are not happy with the direction of the country and the job he is doing. Bush is spitting into the wind right now.
Republicans, while still having a broad party brand (taxes, security, values) designed to turn out their voters, have diminished the power of the brand -- and its turnout capacity -- because of their failures (and don't let anyone tell you that the Foley scandal has not had a huge impact -- not only did it help stop their September momentum but it has dampened Republican voter intensity by symbolizing -- even to Republicans -- that their party is off track). And security, while still being THE issue of our times, is not the sure GOP winner it once was because of profound concerns about the Administration's basic competence. While we may still have a glass jaw on this issue, they no longer have an effective punch to take advantage of it.
In order to bring this election home, we need to keep it simple. Trust in Rahm; follow President Clinton's lead; position every campaign to benefit from the strong political winds blowing at our backs.
Here are the three keys to the last three weeks for those campaigns and candidates who understandably will not have the time to carefully read The Way to Win; listen to The Way To Win audio book; or track the 50-state national, multi-media, 24/7 roll out of The Way to Win until after the election LINK:
1. Let's keep our candidates focused ("like a laser beam") on the national "meta" narrative of this campaign -- change v. more of the same. Let's not get bogged down in 32-point programs on suburban sprawl; let's not respond or engage to the R efforts to localize these races around local or candidate specific issues; let's not somehow believe that we need to convince voters that we are nicer, smarter or have a better biography than the Republican opponent in the race (for those looking to vote Democratic in this cycle in the districts in play -- the "positive" is the message they will be sending to Bush -- not the particular merits of any individual candidate beyond the fact that your opponent's "bad" character is connected to the bad character of the entire Republican Party). Just focus on change in a very straight-forward, clear, powerful way: we can either change direction or have more of the same . . . more corruption . . . more cover-ups . . . more gross incompetence in Iraq . . . more bad guys getting more nukes . . . more people losing economic ground . . . more Bin Laden videotapes . . .