Axelrod's Iowa Strategy
I have been incredibly hard on Barack Obama's campaign strategist David Axelrod for his campaign strategy. Axelrod has had Obama eschew partisan politics and avoid strong conrast with conservatives and Republicans. I have disliked the strategy as bad both for Obama's chances AND as bad for the Democratic Party. I am a believer in a politics of contrast.
But at least on the question of whether it is good strategy for Obama, Axelrod has won a very important convert - Ann Seltzer, the Des Moines Register pollster. In her final poll, the Gold Standard poll, Ms. Seltzer predicts Obama losing among Democrats but being swept to a big victory by bringing in unprecedented numbers of Independent and Republican voters to vote for Obama. This is, in a nutshell, the Obama strategy -- win with Independents and Republicans. If this works, Joe Lieberman must be wondering why he did not hire Axelrod in 2004.
In essence, Axelrod has run a New Hampshire McCain campaign in Iowa (where crossover voting is much more difficult, Indys have to register as Dems in Iowa, they do not in NH, these folks have to sit through a 3 hour caucus in Iowa, all they have to do is vote in NH), and Ann Seltzer, the most respected pollster in the business, is telling us it worked.
If it turns out this way on Thursday night, then all credit to Axelrod for seeing a strategy that the CW would never see. Including me.
I am not happy that non-Dems in Iowa could very well choose the Dem nominee for President. But the rules are what they are, and Axelrod works for Obama, not the Democratic Party. He could become a "genius" come Thursday night.
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