In his Op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, your longtime supporter Bill Kristol contends that your campaign has “largely frittered away” your “three-month general election head start.” Â While I don’t think you entirely wasted those three months, the conservative columnist does have a point. Â You didn’t do enough in those three months to solidify your base and establish a unifying agenda for the fall campaign, one which can bring together conservatives and independents eager for change.
In those three months, you did do some things right. Â I think your biography tour was a stroke of political genius, helping to define who you were by what you’ve done (and experienced).
Not just that, in a series of speeches, you’ve put forward several pretty solid policy proposals, offering remedies consistent with conservative principles to some of today’s problems. Â While your Democratic opponent may run on the mantra of change, you’re the one who has come up with the most new ideas. Â (He just offers the same-old, same-old from the Democratic stock of state solutions, increased government spending, higher taxes and less freedom.)
That said, Kristol is on the money he writes that your “campaign this year desperately needs a message and a narrative that is both appropriate for the candidate and for the times.” I think he must be referencing Yuval Levin’s piece which he published in the Weekly Standard: A Theme for McCain’s Pudding.
That, I believe, is the first thing you need do, develop a campaign theme. Below the “jump,” I provide some other ideas which, I believe, will help prepare you for the fall campaign: