Lately I have heard many pundits on the radio speak of where the Dems got it wrong in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. For the most part, the error was one of "taking the high road". Kerry not responding appropriately to the swift boat attacks, for example. He had a right to be incensed, not just for himself but for everyone who has served in the armed forces and been injured. One of the current examples is the rumors being spread about Obama: that he is Muslim, that he is a terrorist, and more.
One of the talk show guests I've listened to lately is a linguist who has written on the subject of how to reach people in a campaign, how to connect. An example I love is this phrase: "If I would not send my own son or daughter to fight in a war I will not send yours, either". He didn't use those words exactly, but close. Phrases like this connect on an emotional level and are completely clear. No foggy buzz words. This talk show guest said the proper response for Obama to take is to find out who started these rumors - which, honestly, will not be difficult, given the right-wing machine is so predictable - and take that person or group to task publicly. Take them down. Don't let them hide. I love this idea.
It is in this spirit that I offer this bit of news from 1998. Back then McCain made a joke at a fund-raiser that was beyond tasteless. I offer the full story from Salon.com, from way back then:
This is the guy who wants to be president.