Every election has a flow and a feel to it. The campaigns and the relationship to the electorate takes on a life of its own and evolves. A candidate cannot run with the same theme and the same message continuously.
There is no formula that dictates the strategy or tactics to be used on a day-to-day basis. There are too many variables, too many permutations. At some point the candidate goes negative. At other times the candidate must defend from the opponent's negative barrage.
At some point the candidate must articulate a positive vision of the future.
Usually within a month of the election, the public tires of the past. They tire of both the negative attacks on the candidate and they even tire of hearing about the fine record of the candidate.
We are at that point in this presidential election. The public is tired of the association of Obama with Bill Ayers; they are tired of McCain's war record. They are tired of McCain's 'maverick' record in the Senate and his opposition to earmarks; they are exhausted with Obama's insights five years ago as to the disastrous course we would take in Iraq.
The public wants to hear about the future. The question for the candidates is not "What did you do for me before?" or "What have you done for me lately?"
The question is "What will you do for me next year?"
Obama for a week, has addressed that question. McCain is still stuck in the past.
Realizing, he does not have traction, McCain is becoming shrill and Sarah Palin even shriller. The next sign of desperation will be swift-boating and finally the capitulation.
Interestingly McCain gave us a glimpse into his own future when he recently told his beleaguered supporters that Obama is a decent man. He has begun to concede.
He is concerned about how history will judge him and his campaign now that the presidency is beyond his grasp.
McCain continuously says he 'approves this message' despite his own misgivings about the negative, slanderous television spots his campaign runs. McCain is faced with the loss of his presidential bid and his dignity. That is becoming more and more difficult for him as his campaign rapidly sinks under the weight of Karl Rove's toadies.