Friday, May 23, 2008 

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Is Barack Obama Muslim?



Attracting Attention

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers argues:

I think the Obama campaign has chosen wisely the past week or so, to let Senator Clinton "implode" on her own. And it's obviously beginning to happen. Senator Obama and his campaign have been very hands-off lately with the Clinton campaign, instead focusing their energy on McCain and not letting him or his campaign get away with baseless attacks. So far, he has responded with force, dignity, intelligence, and calmness, and turned from defense to offense admirably and fairly. He is looking more and more presidential every day, and Senator Clinton is looking less so each day. I think the Obama campaign statement today was perfect: it didn't use Wolfson-like venom, but simply used the words "unfortunate" and "has no place in this campaign". Laser-like precision!

What seems more likely to me is that, with the nomination all but sewn up, Sen. Obama doesn't need to battle with Sen. Clinton on a daily basis. Instead, he can (at least appear to) look to the general election with Sen. McCain, and Clinton is forced to make her own headlines. Practically everything that can be said has been said (how many times can she "ramp up" her case that Florida and Michigan should be seated?) and so she's left having to make incendiary statements to make it into the headlines. We think this is massively backfiring, and it would surprise us if a significant number of superdelegates came over to the Obama side in the next day or two.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008 

One Heck of an Assumption

According to an AP article running in the Star Tribune, Sen. John McCain is making a rather significant assumption in the presidential race.
Republican John McCain's game plan for beating Democrat Barack Obama rests on one huge assumption: Despite an unpopular war, an uncertain economy and the GOP's beleaguered status, the country still leans more to the right than to the left.
This kind of strategy lies at the core of why McCain is doomed to fail. It comes down to McCain just not getting it. After eight disastrous years of President Bush and his Republican congressional cronies, Americans have seen quite enough of what qualifies as "conservatism" these days.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Karl Rove believed, up until the very moment that the House and Senate went to the Democrats in 2006. Remember, Rove was so confident that "after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists--to study just how wrong the polls were."

Rove believing that, even in the face of piles of predictors to the contrary, was defensible - nothing is for sure in elections until all the votes have been counted. But today, McCain's strategy ignores the actual results of the 2006 elections. Even more incredibly, Republicans have lost three House seats in special elections since March 8th of this year, all in solidly red areas (IL-14, LA-06, MS-01). Republican organizations are struggling to raise money, often lagging far behind their Democratic counterparts. Democratic registration has been surging, thanks to the presidential nomination battle. Social wedge issues critical to Republican success - gay rights, reproductive rights, immigration - have fallen by the wayside as the war and the economy dominate the national debate. There is no evidence to suggest that the country currently leans to the right, or has ever leaned to the right, but John McCain persists.

All this isn't only the reason John McCain will not be elected president, it's also the reason he should not be elected president. A man who can't hear the electorate screaming for change is much too out of touch to hold the nation's highest office.

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