This ad blasting McCain's inability to count all his houses is a good start. But here's my five-point plan.
- Give a speech specifically about McCain. Attack everything that voters think they know about him, every perceived strength. Begin by telling America, "If you think you're voting for John McCain who ran for President against George Bush in 2000, you're wrong." Detail every backtrack McCain has made, every position he's reversed himself on, every move he's made to cozy up with the Bush administration, the Republican-led congress, and the base of his party. Attribute it to a combination of ambition and delusion. Call him by his first name whenever possible.
- Refer to his attacks on you and say "John McCain is lying." "Apparently I'm a flip-flopper who's too stubborn to change his mind." "He can't win by attacking my real positions and my real record, so he invents one." Tilt him. Tilt him hard and watch him sputter.
- McCain doesn't know anything about economics, he is insulated from real Americans, and his economic plan would lead to budgetary and employment ruin. "Until a few years ago, Michelle and I made ____. We just paid our student loans. So we know what it's like to work in this economy, and we know what the American people need!" Education, infrastructure, etc.
- Emphasize how dangerous McCain is. Go mushroom cloud on him. Say he wants to pick a fight with anyone and everyone without a thought to the consequences for the country or the ability of the military to stretch itself any thinner. Point out that it's been seven years since September 11th, but besides tough talk McCain can't offer anything new to capture Osama Bin Laden. Tell the American people that you think a McCain administration would be a disaster.
- At this point, note that you're breaking with Democratic party precedent now and for the rest of the campaign. "In the past, Republicans and their operatives have used these kind of smears, these attempts to frighten the American people, in lieu of real ideas and serious solutions. And Democrats have politely asked them to stop, privately gotten indignant, and hoped the American people wouldn't notice. Well that's not me. I'm skinny but I'm tough. I'm through asking John McCain to tell the truth about my record, about my patriotism, and about our plan for the country's future. He can say whatever he wants. But I'm going to tell the truth. And every time he does it again (and he will do it again) we're going to say, 'John is lying.'"
Then you send Joe Biden out to continue the attack, to get in the pit and fight them every time they say a word. Let Bill and Hillary Clinton get in a fight that they understand against an enemy they hate. Turn McCain into an angry old man, George H.W. Bush with his son's temper and limited attention span.
You spend the rest of the election cycle offering a positive vision of the country's future under an Obama administration. You make it a referendum about McCain's capacity versus yours.
And we win.
(Knock on wood.)