James Carville, Bill Clinton's political strategist and a pretty smart guy, says the Democrats need to get on message. If they can find one.
(CNN) — Have the Democrats wasted the first night of the convention?So far McCain has done a pretty good job of attacking what message is out there. Take this ad about taxes. McCain is framing Obama's message for him. And if you have been watching McCain ads there is a constant theme through the ads. Obama No. A take off on the "NObama" bit you see around the net a lot.
Yes, says Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor James Carville.
Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night — the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.
"The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal — Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech," Carville said. "But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."
"You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush — I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy — I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville also says. "Maybe we are going to look better Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But right now, we're playing hide the message."
Carville also said the party needs to do a better job of communicating its message to the American people.
“If this party has a message it's done a hell of a job hiding it tonight, I promise you that," he said.
Pollster Frank Luntz made a similar point. He said Obama must change his message. I think it is more fundamental than that. He has to get one.
The results of a focus group held by Frank Luntz, the leading American pollster, on the eve of the Democratic convention should sound alarm bells for the Obama campaign after a month in which Mr McCain, the Republican, has drawn level in the polls.The focus group wanted to know what kind of change? To me, the most interesting point the focus group brought up was this one:
"The way that he gets here to the Democratic nomination - 'change' - is not how he gets there, to the White House," said Mr Luntz. "If it's change, by itself, he will fail. Change what? Change how? Change why?" Mr Luntz is a Republican but his work on focus groups is respected on both sides of the aisle.
Some 21 carefully-selected undecided voters were gathered in a conference room in a downtown skyscraper. Observed by The Daily Telegraph and a small group of other media through a one-way mirror, they were grilled by Mr Luntz about their views of the candidates in a two-hour session.
The Obama ad that attacked Mr McCain for having seven houses and not being able to recall the number fell flat. But Mr McCain's response ad that highlighted a land deal Mr Obama had struck with Tony Rezko, a real estate dealer subsequently convicted of corruption, prompted more than half the dials to shoot up.America is not a class warfare country. Obama's problem is that his base of operations in Illinois was a class warfare enclave. I don't believe that his political training in Marxism or his base on the South Side of Chicago fits him to win an election let alone govern.
A couple of the voters suggested that Americans did not resent wealth. "I really don't care how many houses you have but it does matter how you got that house," said Doug.
It may very well be, given his proclivities, that hiding the message is his best tactic. It doesn't appear to be a winning one.
Cross Posted at Classical Values