One of the oddest aspects of the campaign so far is that Obama has only a slight lead in the polls. McCain has run a miserable campaign, featuring embarrassing speeches, vicious infighting among campaign insiders and an apparent strategy of throwing one supporter a week under the bus. McCain does not seem to understand that he won the republican primary only because the real republican vote was split among other challengers, and that his policy of praising democrats and attacking other republicans is not really very sound. He doesn't seem to appreciate that the media, his real constituency, has already swooned over Obama and will offer him no help whatsoever. Still, McCain has a real chance to win, provided he doesn't waste any more time. He needs to capitalize on the fact that the public does not know Obama very well and that a good part of what they do know is unflattering. To win, McCain will have to steel himself to be criticized severely by his former cheerleaders in the liberal media and he will have to reverse his apparent acceptance of the Obama-dictated limits on criticizing Obama. So what should McCain do? It's simple. He needs to go back to the formula that won for Bush, Bush Sr and Reagan, namely construct an alternative persona for his opponent and convince the public it is accurate. In many ways, his job is easier because he is facing a guy who is not well known to the public. The media's slobbering adulation of Obama ironically is a turnoff as well for the substantial portion of the public fed up with the pervasive liberal bias of the mainstream media. McCain's task is made easier still by the parade of unsavory Obama associations that surfaced during the primaries. He should take Dick Morris' advice and begin immediately to run ads that show Obama taking contradictory positions on hot button issues, eg Iraq, gun rights, trade, energy. They would have the twin effect of not only making Obama look silly but would also delegitimize his claim to be a new type of politician. That could be crucial to demoralizing Obama's base among young first time voters, who tend to have poor turnout rates in any case. These ads would use a tag line, such as "Who is Barrack Obama?" Next, it will be crucial to go heavily negative. These ads will feature Obama's more controversial statements, his wife's not proud of America blunder, Obama slouching when the National anthem is being played, etc. Message here is "he's not someone we're comfortable with." Another series of ads would be even more negative, with clips of Rev. Wright going nuts, Father Pfleger goign nuts, Bill Ayers bragging about blowing up things, Toney Rezko doing a perp walk, etc, with tag lines noting Obama's long associations with them. In selected states, quick ads noting Obama's father and step father were muslims, with pictures of Obama in muslim garb would run, with the now familiar line, "Who is Barrack Obama?" I know the usual suspects here will go postal on me, but this is a proven formula for winning elections. It's a matter of not only swaying voters but of taking Obama off message and forcing him to respond to them. If McCain thinks voters are just going to line up for him because he is a "maverick" or was a POW, he's nuts. If he allows this thing to become a media officiated personality contest, as it is now, he will take a terrible beating. He needs to decide right now if he actually wants to win, because he doesn't have too many more days before this window slams shut. The media is doing its best to convince people the election is over, and right now McCain is not even in the news cycle.