Via Andrew Sullivan, I found out James Joyner had this to say about an Obama/McCain match-up come the general:
Obama is going to be the nominee, barring some major development. His charisma, youth, and energy is going to be hard to run against, especially with a public tired of eight years of a Republican president, tired of a war with no end in sight, and worried about their ability to make ends meet. McCain’s only real advantage will also be his greatest liability: His decades of experience/he’s older than the hills.
James is preaching to the choir here since I’ve been saying the same thing to just about anyone who’ll listen.
Having studied the power of TV in early elections and knowing the impact of an image both on-air and online (especially since it can be captured and manipulated so easily now), McCain’s going to look 1000 years old in comparison to his competitor. Something as simple as a large crowd of young, enthusiastic supporters behind Obama juxtaposed with McCain’s visual base of older, sedate white men will inadvertently speak volumes.
So what should McCain do? I don’t know. It’s going to be a tough obstacle to overcome. I would start by not running ads showing him as a Vietnam era POW. The black and white footage does less to remind us of his service than to remind us of his age. I don’t mean to downplay his sacrifice or disrespect his heroism, but showing him younger in archival footage simply feeds the beast.
I had an animated and interesting debate with someone last night who was willing to bet on McCain come November. Not because he supports the candidate by any means but because he fears race and inexperience will work against Obama in the privacy of the voting booth. I could not disagree more. I think once he’s been designated the Democratic nominee, much will be done to assure people that he is well-informed and well-advised, and McCain’s going to have a tough time convincing a war-weary public that more war is the way to go.