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Getting Specific

Ross points to Halperin’s list of “things McCain can do” to derail Obama that Clinton could not do, or at least not do successfully, which includes this amusing one:

Link biography (experience/courage) and leadership (straight talk) to a vision animated by detail – accentuating Obama’s relative lack of specificity.

When giving advice, it’s a good idea to consider whether it would be appropriate for the recipient.  McCain has always been a terrible candidate for spouting details, and he is generally known to be a weak candidate on policy specifics.  That may be part of his charm, so to speak, and it may be an important reason why he prevailed over Mitt “The Weeds Are Important” Romney, but it isn’t something that he is going to change dramatically over the course of the next few months.  The Obama campaign will be able to make a lot of hay out of how few major pieces of legislation McCain has pushed through in all his time in Congress, and they will have over two decades of votes to dredge up and take out of context.  As I was saying a little while ago, this emphasis on specifics and substance is a trick played on candidates by the media and the small number of politically obsessed voters–they want, as Uhrquhart might say, “to make ’em jump.”

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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