(Political Animal) MCCAIN TRIES THE ‘CHICKEN PRANK’…. For the second time in two days, the McCain campaign has unveiled a television ad intended to drive a wedge between Hillary Clinton’s supporters and the candidate Hillary Clinton endorses and agrees with. In the new one, which the media is no doubt going to love, we see a former Clinton delegate from Wisconsin, touting her support for John McCain, and encouraging her other Democrats to follow her.
Now, I can’t begin to relate to what this woman is thinking. As recently as a couple of months ago, she wanted the nation to move in one direction; now she prefers the opposite direction. She preferred a progressive approach on key issues; now she prefers a conservative approach. She wanted a break away from the policies of George W. Bush; now she wants four more years like the last eight. I’m not even going to pretend to understand why.
But before the networks take the ad too seriously, they should consider an anecdote about the “chicken prank” from TNR’s Eve Fairbanks.
I almost feel like a dupe writing about the second pro-Hillary ad McCain released today at 6am: It’s a stunt, a trick meant to keep him in the press during the Democratic convention and gin up more Hillary-Obama-tension media storylines. Message: neener neener neener. It is, in fact, the political equivalent of a prank legendarily pulled at my high school in which students procured well fewer than 20 live chickens, numbered them 1 through 20 with magic markers (leaving some numbers out), set them loose, and then sat back and gleefully watched as hapless school officials ran around the school searching for the remaining missing chickens that had never actually existed.
Nobody knows how much truly dangerous anti-Obama sentiment exists among former Hillary supporters or how many Hillary delegates will vote for John McCain in November (this past June, McCain said that the woman in today’s ad, Wisconsin nurse Debra Bartoshevich, was the only Hillary delegate they knew of who was committed to pull the lever for McCain). But I guarantee some of us in the press will spend today haplessly running around looking for more of them out here, to fill out our stories about this ad and the angry-Hillary-brigades-hit-Denver storyline.
The vast majority of Democrats, especially those who found Hillary Clinton’s campaign appealing, will simply have no rational reason to do what Bartoshevich has inexplicably done. But to use Fairbanks’ metaphor, I also don’t doubt that the race for additional chickens is on.
For what it’s worth, while the McCain campaign is touting support from Bartoshevich, be prepared to hear more about high-profile Republicans throwing their support to Barack Obama.