Thursday, October 30, 2008

My take on Obama's infomercial

I'm no great chess player, but one of the lessons I've been taught is that when you have a winning position, you take the time to "eliminate counterplay." Since things are going your way, your opponent would like to launch a counterattack, make some threats that distract you from your own plans, hope you make a mistake - anything to cause chaos, 'cause things are going your way; unless he changes something, he's gonna lose. The good player isn't in a hurry; he pauses to make sure there'll be no effective counterattacking and then proceeds to crush the helpless foe.

Obama's infomercial was an unspectacular, yet brilliant move that I'm betting has eliminated McCain's counterplay. A half hour of calmness, reassurance, gravitas - dare I say it? Class - is going to stonewall McCain's attempts to make people nervous about Obama. He can only look petty, mean, and small in comparison if he continues his attacks. And yet he has no other play - Obama has the better position and if McCain doesn't attack, he simply loses in the obvious way. So McCain has two ways to lose, but if I read this right - that those wavering people who just might have gone over to McCain at the last minute are now, in fact, safely in Obama's camp - then he has no way to win. A chess master at work.

1 comment:

James Hanley said...

My question had been, who's going to take time to watch this? The answer, apparently, about 1/3 of the electorate, according to the Nielsen ratings.

"More than 33 million people watched Obama's paid political ad Wednesday night on seven networks, Nielsen Media Research reported Thursday, delivering a larger audience for that time period than the usual viewership so far this season."

Given that so many people actually did see it--contra my expectations--I'd say your analysis is probably pretty on target.