Drudge Report linked yesterday to a piece in the New Hampshire Union Leader reporting that when John McCain's plane landed in the state the other day, there was only one reporter waiting for him at the airport.
Seething at widespread coverage of Barack Obama's trip abroad, the McCain campaign is letting its gripe with the media boil over into the spotlight. The campaign is "frustrated" by the press's coverage of Obama's trip. And it's furious that the New York Times rejected an op-ed McCain submitted.
This is all interesting beltway kind of stuff, but, amazingly, it's becoming the core of the McCain campaign. Go to johnmccain.com, where the lead item is what can best be described as a sarcastic Valentine's Day eCard declaring that "The media is in LOVE" with Obama. The color scheme runs the gamut from violet all the way to pink. And users can find their way to two video montages of supposedly idolatrous media coverage of the Democratic nominee.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this kind of stuff on a blog, or on YouTube, where it might come off as pretty clever. But really, the centerpiece of a presidential campaign's come-one-come-all website?
No wonder there's only one reporter waiting for John McCain when he arrives in Manchester, New Hampshire: At least for the last couple weeks, he hasn't been doing or saying anything newsworthy.
While McCain's team was compiling video montages, Barack Obama's plan for Iraq was getting the endorsement of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. That's a body blow to the McCain camp, which has been focusing most of its energy on painting Obama as a neophyte on Iraq and foreign policy more broadly.
And so John McCain continues to talk about the surge. Yes, yes, the surge, we get it. It was an important decision, and you called it correctly. But the surge as a flagship issue is pretty mediocre ground for a campaign to stand on. It's a strategic military move in the middle of a conflict that most Americans don't think we should have gotten into in the first place, and that most want to get out of sooner rather than later.
And haven't we already surged? Why would more reporters show up to hear John McCain crow on about a plan that's already been implemented? Especially when the Iraqi prime minister has declared that Barack Obama's plan is the one to follow going forward.
More drilling in America may be a good idea in some circumstances, but there's not a single voter in this country right now who thinks that expanding drilling off our coasts or in Alaska is going to bring any relief at the pump tomorrow, or even in the next, say, twelve years. Reasonable people can disagree on whether we should expand drilling here, but everyone knows that we need a more fundamental shift away from oil and into renewables to get to energy independence.
If "drill more" is the best thing John McCain can think to put in his TV ads, and if a wannabe YouTube clip whining about the media is what he thinks should be front and center on his website, then John McCain shouldn't be surprised when there's only one reporter at his next campaign stop.