Progressive group begins effort to "define" McCain

Progressive Media USA unveils new ad, connects McCain to Bush.

By Steve Benen

Published April 16, 2008 3:10PM (EDT)

Independent efforts to help "define" John McCain while the Democratic nominating race continues got off to a very rough start, in large part because the party's investors have been focused more on the Democratic primary than on their Republican opponent.

Progressive Media USA, however, stepped up to pick up the slack. The project, led by Media Matters' David Brock, is poised to be "the main vehicle for independent Democratic attacks on McCain."

The group's first ad was unveiled this week. It's called "Out of Touch."

The spot features McCain and Bush talking about the same issues, using the same language. The ad began running on CNN and MSNBC yesterday.

Yglesias noted, "I would, however, somewhat prefer to see early attacks focus on McCain's disastrous thinking on national security issues -- the economy argument is very easy to make, so it's more important to get started on the more difficult task of making the case that for all the honor of McCain's military service, it's left him with a reckless and absurd strategic vision."

I don't disagree with any of this, but for an initial ad run, I like the idea of keeping the message nice and simple: McCain = Bush. If you want four more years like the last eight, have we got a candidate for you.

Once that's established, everything else can be worked into this framework, especially McCain's "disastrous thinking on national security issues." That's the beauty of the message. On Iraq, McCain = Bush. On economic policy, McCain = Bush. On healthcare, McCain = Bush.

What's not to like?

Steve Benen

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