There are some really good films which get everything right, but have one major flaw (or maybe a few such flaws). Â TheseÂ flicks, I call, “A-minus movies.”
In my book, the classic such movie is Woman of the Year with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Â It gets everything right, down to the casting of the secondary (and even tertiary) characters. Â But, at the end, Hepburn, trying to make breakfast to pacify her then-estranged beloved, shows she’s all thumbs in the kitchen. Â It’s actually a funny scene, but just doesn’t fit the tone of the movie, especially not at its climax.
In a similar vein, while some might find the McCain’s recent web commercial on the lipstick hullabaloo humorous, it was entirely inappropriate. Â The campaign shouldn’t touch such issues, letting the media and friendly bloggers make an issue of them. Â The attention paid to that ad seems to have prevented a much better McCain adÂ on the intensity of Democratic efforts to smear Governor Palin from getting the notice it deserved.Â
The media focused more on the lipstick ad because it fit the daily news narrative. Even Charles Krauthammer thought it was a “cheap shot.”
That’s been one major flaw in an otherwise excellent campaign–well, at least since Steve Schmidt took over this summer.
Another mistake the campaign made was not to make Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin available to the press until this week. Â It lead to increased speculation that while she could give a great speech, she wasn’t up to the rigors of a presidential campaign. Â And it brought more focus onto her first such interview. Â Just like that speech, that interview, broadcast this week, got a lot more attention than other such interviews normally get.
And while she seems to have acquitted herself quite well, the increased focus has made it easier for the media to exaggerate her mistakes, minor though they were.
Let’s hope the McCain team learns from its mistakes. Â While it’s had a good two weeks, the media are clearly not on John McCain’s side. Â And as we’ve seen today, they will magnify minor mistakes–or even he appearance of such errors. Â In a close race, that could make all the difference.