Witness well-regarded über-blogger Josh Marshall's comparison of the McCain campaign's clarity and the Obama campaign's vagueness just today:
McCain's message is pretty clear and essentially twofold: 1) Obama is, in so many words, a frivolous phony, someone who really doesn't have any business running for president. 2) McCain is a strong leader who can defend the country. There are all sorts of sub- and secondary themes -- Obama's an outsider, questionably American, etc. But all the nitty gritty points are subservient to those two interlocking messages.While I agree with those who say that Phil Bredesen is no one to be giving advice on how to connect with common people, I also agree that the Obama campaign must do a better job of framing the national debate more simply on why average Joes and Janes would be better off voting for him. Might Obama's swooning poll numbers have something to do with the diffusion of a simple message that was easier in the primaries?
From Obama, honestly, I don't sense a really clear message. There are attacks on McCain, some of which are quite good. There are positive uplifting commercials. And there are ads/messages targeted to particular states -- like Yucca Mountain in Nevada and the DHL layoffs in Ohio. But it's hard for me to come up with a clear cut Obama message in way that it's pretty simple for me to do with McCain. Even the 'change' message, which is the basis of Obama's campaign, seems much more diffuse to me than it was during the primaries.