Barnicle to McCain: Don't Go Negative

Mike Barnicle has some campaign advice for John McCain: don't say anything about Obama's questionable connections. The former Boston Globe columnist, with a heartfelt second from Mika Brzezinski, wants the world to know that he's heard enough about Reverends Wright and Pfleger, not to mention Bill Ayers, and thinks McCain would "win a few points" for staying away from all that stuff and concentrating on the important issues facing Americans—like better batteries.

Barnicle made his suggestion on today's Morning Joe in commenting on an audio clip of Obama warning a crowd this past Friday that the Republicans will, among other misdemeanors, play the race card against him and accuse him of having a "feisty wife."

View video here.

Pat Buchanan suggested that it was smart of Obama to seek in this way to inoculate himself against criticism to come.

MIKE BARNICLE: I think one of John McCain's best shots to pick up a few points in these polls is to run the kind of campaign that he's capable of running, and disavowing all the garbage that's going to come out of these, you know, 527s and stuff.

PAT BUCHANAN: I agree with Willie [Geist]–I don't think he's going to do it himself.  He wouldn't do it; it would be very hurtful. But there's no doubt, they've got groups out there that are going to run campaign ads. We're going to see Reverend Wright and Reverend Pfleger both brought back.  We're going to hear a lot more about Bill Ayers than we ever heard back in the 60s.

MIKE BARNICLE: That's going to be fun. $300 million for a new battery, $4.50 for gasoline, and we're going to be talking about the ministers again?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh-h-h-h no.  Don't bring the ministers back.

I'm sure Mike and Mika would be delighted if we never heard about the ministers again.  And apparently it's uncool to mention that one of the people who helped kick-start Obama's political career is an unrepentant terrorist.  For some reason, Barnicle didn't bother to suggest that Barack should also e-lim-in-ate the negative, despite the fact that the only attack ad airing nationally is the Move.on "Not Alex" spot [about which Bill Kristol comments today.]

Mike is right about one thing: eschewing talk of Obama's troublesome connections surely would win McCain some points.  But the boost wouldn't come in the polls.  It would be in the plaudits the Republican candidate would receive from the MSM. They've always had a thing for unilateral disarmament.  For that matter, if McCain could see his way clear to actually endorsing Obama, the liberal media might build a statue in his honor

BONUS COVERAGE: Morning Joe's lopsidedly liberal lineup

For weeks now, Morning Joe has featured a lopsided, liberal-leaning lineup.  That might have been marginally defensible during the final throes of the Dem primary.  But now that the general election battle has been joined, how can MSNBC justify today's all-Dem lineup of political guests that Willie announced at the top of the show consisting of Harold Ford, David Axelrod and Jon Corzine?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.