If Obama is the Democratic candidate, there is, imo, only one way to win against him. No, it won't be to go negative as Hillary has. Maybe that will work for her, who knows, but it won't work for McCain. I think a negative campaign by a Republican against the mild-mannered Obama will be a disaster.
And McCain doesn't need to harp too long on the experience factor. Everyone knows how long McCain's been around and how long Obama hasn't. People aren't too sure long experience in Washington is such a great asset, anyway. One of the things McCain has going for him is that he's been a maverick; he's been different. Harping on Obama's lack of experience may end up hurting McCain in the long run, since he needs to look "fresh" and different than the present administration. So a few reminders of experience should do the trick there.
What McCain needs to do is tackle the issues. Over, and over, and over again. Simply line up the issues and show where they differ and how he (McCain) is going to achieve his goals. The reason this could work is simple. When all the dust has settled and the stirring oratories are getting less fresh and effective, people are going to realize Obama is simply a very liberal democrat of the old school.
I once thought Obama was a lightweight on substance. I've read through pages and pages on his website and now know he has very definite ideas about the changes he wants to see. (He's still weak on details, especially how you pay for all this stuff, but he's got definite goals at any rate.) The problem, at least for those of us on the conservative side of the spectrum, is that he holds the same agenda as every liberal for the past 40 years. The failed policies of Carter. The "government as nanny" policies of Clinton et al, and the liberal social agenda of Ted Kennedy. All rolled into one.
In the end, many Republicans who have been sickened by the present administration may very well wake up to the fact that replacing one political extreme with the opposite isn't going to change things the way they hope. Things will still be hopelessly deadlocked and polarizing politics will continue to reign. I think some eyes will open to the facts of national security, immigration, our moral duty in Iraq, the idiocy of turning health care over to the government, and all the other issues that Republicans tend to feel strongly about. People are going to take another look at McCain. Yes, the Bush administration has screwed things up royally, but what we need is a concerted effort to come together in the middle.
So McCain needs to show America exactly what Obama is. A nice, well-spoken, passionate, and very liberal, Democrat. Nothing more, nothing less. Not the "enemy," not evil, not anything except wrong on where this country needs to go. We don't need to go off the cliff on the other side. We need to find common ground. I believe McCain has the potential to do just that, in fact has already proven he can. With someone in the White house willing to work on both sides of the aisle, maybe we can truly get something done on these issues.
I hope Republican, and independents and moderate Democrats as well, can see the need for a moderate in the White House and give McCain a chance. And I hope McCain can see that his best bet to get there is to simply lay the facts out and let the people decide.
And even if McCain doesn't win, America will benefit greatly from a campaign run on the issues instead of negative emotions.