NR's Strategy For McCain: Make It A Brawl

This seems obvious, but the argument for what McCain should be doing is well stated by Lowry and Ponnoru:

The first step toward getting [white working class voters] is to make the anti-Obama case. The cliché among political operatives and pundits is that this election is “about Obama.” The truth in the claim is that since the public would rather have a Democratic president, the race will turn largely on whether Obama is an acceptable one. It follows that McCain’s main task is to make him unacceptable to voters — and particularly to non-black working-class voters. He has to first raise concerns about Obama and then show how his candidacy addresses those concerns.

More . .

The case against Obama need not (and probably should not) be subtle. In a nutshell: He’s too inexperienced, too liberal, and as a result too risky. McCain has to argue that a man who has been in the Senate a mere four years, and whose most significant résumé items prior to that are a stint in the Illinois legislature and time as a community organizer, is not ready to be commander-in-chief in dangerous times. The flip-flop charges against Obama will achieve nothing for McCain unless they are deployed to make him look risky: immature (he doesn’t know what he thinks), weak (he caves to pressure), and dishonest (he tries to fool people).

The good news is that McCain is an inept campaigner and his campaign is also inept. The other good news is that the Media does not want to play along. More good news is that McCain made a ridiculous fuss on the Clark comments, boxing him in on the question of scorching the earth.

It is because McCain is so weak a campaigner that Obama seems a shoo in to me. A better Republican candidate could have a chance. McCain is not that candidate.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< A Netroots Crossroads? | Monday Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Oh, Read this yesterday (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:05:39 PM EST
    Yeah, they seem to suggest McCain has missed his chance by not picking up exactly as Clinton left off.

    Does he slam Whiskey and get down with factory workers?

    Yes (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:06:53 PM EST
    But now Obama has a chance to do that too, and get it right this time.

    I wish he would get more aggressive on the economy.


    If the economy really is THE issue, (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:13:18 PM EST
    it doesn't seem to me Obama owns the issue yet.  

    True (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:16:32 PM EST
    But do you really believe McCain can?

    I think lots of people may have more (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:20:42 PM EST
    confidence in McCain on the economy if Obama doesn't change their minds soon.  Failing bank, Fannie and Sallie Mae, Bear Stearns.  Kinda scary.  

    I don't follow. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:24:51 PM EST
    Are you saying that Obama could lose ground on the economy?

    The article suggested that McCain offer a middle class tax cut and some reassurances that prices on medical care could be reduced by his reform package.

    That again would be an attempt to steal Obama's message.  affordable and accessable and child tax credits.


    Sen. Obama "me too"d many of (1.00 / 1) (#47)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:09:25 PM EST
    Sen. Clinton's proposals.  Didn't hurt him.  Not sure why it would hurt Sen. McCain.  Luckily for Obama though, McCain can't seem to spit out the policy stuff in a cogent manner.  

    Um (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:28:17 PM EST
    I do not follow either. How is the economy tanking supposed to be inspiirng confidence in McCain? He has embraced Bush's economic policies.

    Only because I haven't heard (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:06:54 PM EST
    concrete plans from Obama to stabilize the economy.  Maybe I haven't been listening closely enough or maybe the sound bites aren't making it through the other stuff.  

    Obama (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by lilburro on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:50:07 PM EST
    did an economy tour at the beginning of the campaign.  The first two weeks were dedicated to it.  That was when he said Elizabeth Edwards would help him plan the health-care reforms, etc.  

    Since then, the economic emphasis has been buried under FISA and his overseas trip, by both the media and his campaign.  Their efforts to promote the economy as an issue have not been sustained.

    Obama was doing a good job of outlining the economic crush ("families stuck between healthcare and tuition") at the beginning of the GE.  I think Obama needs to stay focused on it.  Or at least focused on something.  If he is seen as dallying on the issues, or dallying in other countries, he could be accused of just not caring.  Of being a dilettante.  "Obama on the other side of the pond, ignoring the issues that most concern you."  Etc.   He needs to be percieved as campaigning harder than he is, IMO.  Too many fundraisers or press outings will make him look weak.  Hopefully his campaign will have learned lessons from the tail end of the primary.  The Obama campaign thought they had it in the bag and started coasting.  Obama was not as engaged in primary campaigning as previously and media attention was paid more to his GE positioning, rather than his primary positioning.  And that left an opening for Hillary the fighter to emerge.
    Not that I think McCain would be able to pull off the fighter image like Hillary did.  But Obama could be undermined in the GE by the very same things that undermined him in the primary.


    dilittante - ouch (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by catfish on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:52:26 PM EST
    that label could stick.

    the "dilettante" label (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:12:51 PM EST
    would go a long way towards emasculating Obama while highlighting the McCain POW-torture-Soldier backstory.

    "Dilettante" would also be supported with his Present Votes and Missed Votes, his inability to hold any Subcommittee meetings, his lack of policy knowledge and, of course, his thin resume.

    (People are more willing to forgive McCain the same transgressions because, due to his long years in the Senate, they don't question his experience ... although they should)

    The Obama Campaign better put this potential fire out before it picks up speed and hits that huge field of dry hay we know as Election Day.


    The plane doesn't help (none / 0) (#126)
    by catfish on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:25:58 PM EST
    Putting out the potential fire would require some modesty, and soon. Everything is slick, always bordering on too slick, or too much like kids playing president:
    The North American jet that flew Obama and his traveling crew around for much of the primary season was refurbished with new seats and power for each passenger a must on the campaign trail. And the plane that once had an American flag on its tail now sports the Obama "O." "Change We Can Believe In" and the candidate's website are splayed across both sides of the fuselage, making this 757 anything but inconspicuous.

    We went through this stage with Bush, and people looked past it.


    ugh (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    a flashy plane trumpeting the Obama Brand isn't exactly moving in the right direction of having people look beyond the hype, the flash and the conspicuously absent resume and experience and take him seriously enough to put him in the Oval Office.

    I dread my friends slamming me with this little nugget later tonight.  (and, no, I'm not going to send them the link.  I'm sure they'll get it from other sources

    At least the now defunct Obama Seal wasn't included in the design scheme.

    ugh, ugh and ugh


    I agree with that (none / 0) (#136)
    by BernieO on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 04:05:34 PM EST
    It would be easy to do. On the other hand, a while back Rove accused him of being lazy and there is some strong evidence to back up that charge . For example the fact that he doesn't bother to hold policy meetings of the committee he chairs that has oversight for Europe, NATO and therefore Afghanistan is a perfect example.
    His comments to AIPAC are another example. By saying Jerusalem should REMAIN the capital he not only made a highly inflammatory statement that undermines the peace process it also makes clear just how little he knows about this crucial issue. (I bet the people in Tel Aviv were surprised to hear their city no longer is the capital.) He clearly did not bother to take the time to inform himself on this crucial issue.
    Then there was the story in the Washington Post about how in 2006 Obama took the mike at the announcement of the Senators deal in immigration policy and said:
    "I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who've actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out."
    The only problem was that he had never attended the early morning meetings. When they had to revisit the issue the following years, Obama again failed to show for most meetings. According to the Post "at one meeting, three key negotiators recalled, he entered late and raised a number of questions about the bill's employment verification system. Kennedy and Specter both rebuked him, saying that the issue had already been resolved and that he was coming late to the discussion. Kennedy dressed him down, according to witnesses, and Obama left shortly thereafter."
    (Makes you wonder why Kennedy endorsed him.)

    McCain has made a couple of lame attempts to bring up Obama's failure to do his job as committe chair but his accusation is too vague and the media is not bothering to fill in the details. If he really went after Barack on this issue I think it would really hurt him because it reveals the same kind of flaw - overconfidence and ignorance - that has made Bush such a disaster.


    I trust the Media (none / 0) (#138)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 04:19:44 PM EST
    will "do it's job" after the Convention and in the weeks leading up to the Election.

    No better news to drive ratings than having the Democratic Nominee for President once again trying to convince Voters that he DOES, in fact, work hard.  Really hard.  No, really.  He DOES work.  Hard!



    Except... (none / 0) (#147)
    by Addison on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:22:14 PM EST
    ...that most of the people we're talking about swinging have no clear idea what that word means.

    Zactly - dominating soundbytes are: faith-based (none / 0) (#116)
    by catfish on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:51:00 PM EST
    speaking at a stadium, his teh awesome new plane, he's raising gobs more money than McCain, and he's lecturing black fathers telling them to be more responsible.

    He's looking very Presidential today (none / 0) (#152)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 08:21:21 PM EST
    though, what with meeting with Gen. Petraeus and all.  Meanwhile, McCain is at Kennebunkport?  Bush Sr. had the best line of the day; says he doesn't read the headlines on a daily basis.  

    Is scary but it is not McCain's forte (none / 0) (#27)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:40:58 PM EST
    And the narrative is that the economy is not his forte. If is about the economy McCain loses. The Democratic brand is better than the GOP on the issue of economic crises.

    The other problem McCain has is his forte is the area where the GOP brand is damaged. They are not way ahead on the issue of Iraq. Last I saw, it was a draw.

    As long as the campaign remains a referendum on GOP misrule, McCain will probably lose.


    Hmmmm. (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by pie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:03:05 PM EST
    That's a very good point.  Democrats aren't exactly in favor these days, are they.  Their spinelessness could actually hurt Obama's chances in November, especially if he fails to provide that contrast we keep looking for.

    "their" spinelessness? (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:13:09 PM EST
    Their spinelessness and Obama's are one and the same. Unless I'm forgetting something, Obama has shown no more spine than the other Dems in Congress.  He had a chance to do so on FISA, but went along with them. Waiting for him to separate himself by a show of political courage is a waste of time.  

    Part of the disabpproval of Congress is disapproval of the Republican obstructionism. Obama could come out against that and win over or solidify his standing among many of the people who disapprove of Congress (like me). But no, he won't criticise the Repupublicans in Congress - that would be too divisive for him.

    Another example - has he come out and publically embraced Gore's new climate change initiative?

    I like your overall point - that spineless ness will hurt him in November.  I just think he is to blame for it also.


    Oh, (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by pie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:24:28 PM EST
    I definitely agree that he will share the blame.

    it's an excellent point (4.33 / 6) (#48)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:10:35 PM EST
    and one of the reasons many I know -- who are very politically active and vote religiously whether it's a Primary or a General Election -- are staying home on Election Day.

    And many of these decisions were made after Pelosi and Reid threatened Hillary -- who was winning, by the way -- to drop out and then the DNC did their Obama lovin' backflips to get him the nod even if it was done against the obvious will of the Voters.

    Barack should not be assuming he has our votes.  He doesn't.


    What is Obama's forte? (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by misspeach2008 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:05:43 PM EST
    Not snarking - I would really like to know.

    he makes a good speech (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:07:26 PM EST
    (if you're into rousing rhetoric as empty as cotton candy, that is)

    So not being a Republican (none / 0) (#120)
    by misspeach2008 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:03:42 PM EST
    and making a good speech are Obama's only fortes? I guess I haven't been missing anything after all. I might add Chicago style politics as a forte, but I was really looking for something positive.

    Not being a Republican in a change election (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:17:53 PM EST
    Not snarking either.

    Americans voted Change (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:53:50 PM EST
    in 2006 and look where it got us. (clue:  nowhere)  I fear many are disappointed with the Dems' version of "change" and may just opt for something a bit more "known" this time out.

    If the Dems had run with the mandate we gave them in 2006 and did what we collectively asked them to do, the Dem Nominee would be a veritable shoo-in.  But there's a great deal of disappointment with the Dems right now (in the Country and with the Dem Voters) and, without a clear backbone or political spine to stand on, much of that may be directed toward Barack.

    People may find that, like him or not, they at least KNOW where McCain stands.  Coupled with his experience, there may be those who don't find it that difficult to pull the lever for the (R) this time out.


    Do you agree Obama would be (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:37:41 PM EST
    even more of a shoo-in if he laid out concrete plans for the economy, just as he is doing now on Iraq and Afghanistan?

    I'm not sure that he is a shoo-in, (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by misspeach2008 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:50:08 PM EST
    but to me your forte is not what plans you are making for something, but what things you have done in your past that show a real strength that you have. I have no horse in this race, but I can look at John McCain and see some things that he has done that point to a real strength that he has. For example, he has demonstrated that he can accomplish legislation that is truly bi-partisan and was willing to risk his position in his own party to do it. Obama has never overseen a troop withdrawal from a war zone so if he accomplishes it may become a forte, but it isn't one yet.

    I don't like "shoo in" but (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:35:15 PM EST
    I think he would be advised to try to tie energy independence with security as well as Jobs and the economy. Co-opt Hillary's health care plan (through Elizabeth Edwards) and tie that in to the economy as well.

    But has he been all that concrete with Iraq or Afghanistan? Or has he just announced  goals must people can agree with? Do a Senator Aiken on Iraq (actually that is what McCain should do); promise to try to catch the actual perpetrators of 9-11. Are these really all that concrete plans? Obama isn't Hillary and he shouldn't try to be. Getting down into the details can be a quagmire for all but a few.  


    Concrete enough on Iraq to attract (none / 0) (#131)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:41:15 PM EST
    the voters' attention.  

    Generic Dem v Generic GOP (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:14:51 PM EST
    suggests your theory may be wrong.

    Also consider the narrative is GOP Misrule and Bush are a millstone around McCain's neck.

    The challenger's task to convince the voting public the risk of the status quo with the known (McCain) is greater than the risk of change with the unknown (Obama). In this situation being unknown can be a small advantage. No known defects.

    The election model to look at in recent memory is 1980 and 1992.


    We often view these things in light of our biases (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:27:57 PM EST
    I wasn't a partisan of either Hillary or Obama. I think she would have run a tough campaign, but she has the joys and sorrows as being a known defined quantity. I don't think she could run a change election-  I think she might have run on experience and competence (perhaps "Ok America, lets try experience AND competence for a change). Note: Dukakis ran on competence and lost. But he was an incompetent campaigner and his opponent wasn't so obviously tied to incompetence at that time.

    Rezko will go nowhere. If it were going somewhere it would have by now. Ayers. Yawn. Wright? Maybe. But I suspect that has blown over too. It would take all 3 hitting a month before the election to trump good ole George.

     None of the aforementioned are associated with incompetence at governance-- which is the heart of GOP misrule. Iraq, the economy- people are fed up. Obama just has to convince voters the status quo is worse than the unknown.


    Rezko and Ayres (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:42:07 PM EST
    may be a "going nowhere" and a "yawn" for you.  But when Voters learn about them in the General (and I trust the GOP and the Media will kindly play info about them non-stop 24/7 complete with round table discussions and "insights" into what it says about the "real Barack") and Obama finds himself -- again -- playing defense and chucking MORE people under the bus, I suspect "going nowhere" and "yawn" may not be the most common reactions we'll see.

    I'm thinking "who IS this guy the Dems have decided to run?!?!  No way is he getting MY vote!"


    And McCain is holding back because... (3.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:54:40 PM EST
    news hitting the Voters (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 04:08:24 PM EST
    closer to the Election (and certainly after the Convention) is more powerful than news hitting the Voters in July.

    It makes no sense for McCain or the Republicans to give up the goods now this far out from Election Day.  The picture in July -- including all these Polls people hold up as proof Obama will win -- is never the picture in November.  It always radically changes.

    To break open their Pandora's Box against Obama gives him time to pivot, find his balance and counter-attack.  To hold off until September and October keeps him on the defensive and he has less time to convince people he ISN'T what the Republicans just said he is.

    It's Politics 101.


    Again see 1980. (3.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:57:01 PM EST
    In a change election, people are looking for an excuse to change--  kind of like some partisans looking for an excuse not to support the nominee, because the nominee  was not their preferred candidate.

    I don't believe I made any specific reference (none / 0) (#142)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 05:10:33 PM EST
    to any party, candidate or partisan. After all there are Republican partisans who don't like McCain and keep making excuses not to vote for him- I know a few.

    You assume a lot, you know what that means. In the meantime careful with accusations of arrogance. Your tunnel vision of seeing all political discussions exclusively through the prism of the Democratic primary might prove embarrassing.

    I am not, was not a partisan of either Obama or Hillary. There were things I liked about both and things I disliked about both (and still do). However, it is my judgment that either is more acceptable than McCain. I will vote accordingly. The nastier the primary fight got, the more aloof from either candidate I felt.

    BTW, I don't see how "they" (whoever they may be) keep Hillary's name out of the nomination in Denver, without her consent.


    I believe he could (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:18:26 PM EST
    One of Obama's biggest problems will be living up to his hype. Meanwhile I can see McCain stealthily making some inroads with little things like the gas tax holiday and tax credits for health care(which isn't saying I think either is a solution but without Obama offering up alternatives that are BETTER McCain could score points with voters).

    McCain (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:45:52 PM EST
    doesn't have to deal with having been hyped up. All he'll have to do is be a little better by advancing ideas like tax breaks for health care or gas tax holidays and I'd say he has a pretty credible shot at the economy. It isn't like I see economy being a slam dunk for Obama.

    Even though both of (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:58:14 PM EST
    those proposals are absurd, i'm afraid you may be right that a lot of voters will buy into it.

    I agree (none / 0) (#90)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:13:00 PM EST
    We are talking about an electorate that used who they wanted to have a beer with as their criteria for CiC last go round unfortunately.

    He's trying (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:19:54 PM EST
    on drilling for oil and gas prices.

    Like I keep saying, the only effective part of McCain's operation is his media shop. This is a decent ad.


    That's A Great Point (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by flashman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:29:36 PM EST
    and the Republicans own this issue.  It's completely phony, of couse, but for Americans hurting at the pump, this could be a deal-breaker for the Democrats.  If the Repubs can effectively demonize the Dems on energy, they can trun the election.

    With Obama (none / 0) (#30)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:44:03 PM EST
    we are on the wrong side of a lot of issues, unfortunately.

    Funny (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:21:44 PM EST
    Obama does not have to say much, because for McSame the economy is the silent killer for his campaign.

    It's a wash on the economy (none / 0) (#26)
    by Truth Sayer on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:38:00 PM EST
    between the two for now and will probably remain so. Neither is particularly good policy wise on the issue nor does either have a great grasp on the challenges ahead regrading the economy. Which does not bode well for the nation regardless who wins but that is another conversation.

    You say McCain is an inept campaigner but Obama is not exactly a high fly act himself. His whole campaign so far is 'I was against Iraq' and "I am not Hillary or McCain'. That will not win a lot of confidence votes.

    As for the media not being willing "to play along" - these quick google searches say different:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 1,970,000 for obama flip-flop. (0.22 seconds)

    Results 1 - 10 of about 3,340,000 for obama fisa. (0.09 seconds)

    Results 1 - 10 of about 636,000 for obama inexperienced. (0.20 seconds)

    That is just three of many that could be googled.

    And the long knives of the MSM have not even come out yet. Not to mention TV and radio ads which have pros writing them, not McCain. And then of course there are the GOP 527's, a tool Obama has sworn off (advantage McCain).

    Also many of the columnists who were touting Obama over Clinton have already started to turn on Obama as was predictable.

    So I would not be too quick to declare the media in Obama's back pocket.


    No it isn't (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:43:16 PM EST
    Obama leads on the issue.

    Huh, right leading big? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by RalphB on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:32:47 PM EST
    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows Barack Obama attracting 42% of the vote while John McCain earns 41%. That's the lowest level of support measured for Obama since he clinched the Democratic Presidential nomination on June 3.

    McCain is viewed favorably by 57% of voters, Obama by 53%. McCain is currently supported by 86% of Republicans and holds a modest-four percentage point--lead among unaffiliated voters. Obama earns the vote from 77% of Democrats.

    Voters trust McCain more than Obama on both national security issues in general (53% - 39%) and on Iraq in particular (49% - 37%).


    When it comes to the economy, 47% of voters trust John McCain more than Barack Obama. Obama is trusted by 41% down from 47% a month ago.


    Why don't these polls make headlines? (none / 0) (#64)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:44:33 PM EST
    Democratic leaning sites should report both positive and negative polls evenly. Viewing the world through rose colored glasses never won an election.

    In the American Idol culture (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:58:06 PM EST
    it's all about perception. As long as the media says we are still a democracy we still are, right? Keep the masses happy and entertained and perhaps toss them a few crumbs every once in a while so they won't notice that we are selling the country out from under them.

    Ostriches? (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by RalphB on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:18:30 PM EST
    Always seems to be that it's better to know where you are, before you go forward.  This is from the same poll and is terrible for Obama IMHO.

    A growing percentage of voters also believe that most reporters are trying to help Obama win the election. Forty-nine percent (49%) hold that view while only 14% believe reporters are trying to help McCain. Other data shows that voters tend to think reporters are trying to make both the economy and Iraq seem worse than they really are.

    If this becomes convential wisdom, among voters, then Obama will have a harder time making a case for himself.  People won't believe what is reported, but I think that would be a good thing.


    Which is what the right wing is saying (none / 0) (#103)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:34:41 PM EST
    Over the last few weeks the right has been spinning this idea. It's just more ref working, but most people have never heard of that concept, so they don't have a reason to reject it. Obama HAS been in the news a lot lately, at least in part because he recently won the primary and because McCain has criticized him on some serious issues. This doesn't indicate anything other than the media winding down from the intense primary coverage. McCain had the same kind of press after he won the Republican primary.

    The right is also spinning the "Iraq is better than we think" meme. I saw a tragic story about the man who was in that picture early in the war - the one with the soldier holding a wounded Iraqi boy, running toward the camera. He died after suffering from extreme PTSD. I haven't seen it mentioned a lot on left wing sites, although I should have. The only place I've seen it is Yahoo News. Iraq is not doing great, but people assume that "no news is good news" and the media are in summer "no bad news" mode.


    No, but he and the republicans (none / 0) (#32)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:47:09 PM EST
    are sooo trying to get mileage from the "blame the Democrats" for the high gas prices. His newest spot entitled "Pump."

    You don't get second chances (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:26:08 PM EST
    First impressions are lasting, and people are inclined to think of Obama as a bit of an elitist with questionable standards of patriotism. This is what the right will play on. Obama can drink all of the beer and whisky in the world, and people won't think of him as "like them". The question is: Will they like him anyway?

    On Campaigns... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:12:44 PM EST
    The good news is that McCain is an inept campaigner and his campaign is also inept. The other good news is that the Media does not want to play along. More good news is that McCain made a ridiculous fuss on the Clark comments, boxing him in on the question of scorching the earth.

    It is because McCain is so weak a campaigner that Obama seems a shoo in to me. A better Republican candidate could have a chance. McCain is not that candid

    McCain is in the weak position in that he's having to defend Bush's legacy and make his own mark and defend his own voting record.  McCain is the defender. Obama has the initiative that comes with the attacker.  He's got more cash and he can freely critique the failures of GOP rule.

    However, McCain has planned a big counter offensive and he's waiting for the moment to hit back with his lesser resources. He's waiting for a moment when Obama is off balance or fails to follow through from various successes and deliver a killing blow. If McCain looks beaten and Obama fails to kill-him-off McCain will strike back very hard and exploit the failure of Obama to finish him off. Also Obama cannot rely on a rolling series of contests as he did in the primaries. McCain's close enough in the polls to look like a contender still and Clinton showed how Obama can be beaten in set piece contests.

    he's also a fighter pilot... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:21:00 PM EST
    ...and they can instinctively turn things around in the blink of an eye. (hopefully he wasn't a very good one)

    Correction about McCain as aviator (none / 0) (#60)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:37:03 PM EST
    Sen. McCain was not a fighter pilot.  Normally, the distinction is meaningless, but in talking about tactics it becomes useful.

    As a naval aviator, McCain was a "ground-attack" pilot.  He was shot down over Hanoi in an A4E Skyhawk.  In the 1960s, he flew A1 Skyraiders from carriers.

    An "air superiority" fighter pilot is a different role.  Sometimes here at Talk Left, Big Tent compared Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's success as an "Ace" to McCain's flight record.  They are/were very different jobs.

    The attack aircraft flown by McCain were sub-sonic, very heavily armed with bombs & rockets, commonly assigned for close air-to-ground support, & barely able to defend themselves with only 2 small 20mm cannons.

    If Sen. McCain runs "true to form," his attack mode is to get the bomb load or the missiles on target with a dogged determination to complete the mission.  I'm not sure how that translates or transfers to a presidential political campaign.


    Segue: Randy "Duke" (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:46:45 PM EST
    Cunningham has applied for a Presidential pardon.

    Let's also not forget (none / 0) (#65)
    by rottenart on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:44:34 PM EST
    That Sen. Mccain was NOT, by all accounts, a very good pilot even in that capacity. Was it 3 or 4 times he crashed into a lake before he was shot down?

    Yes . . . McCain has a record of crashes (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:30:05 PM EST
    In flight school, 1958, the engine on his aircraft quit.  This is not a good thing.  It seldom has anything to do with the pilot--it's a maintenance issue.  The inquiry board found in favor of that & he finished flight school.

    In 1960, he was flying over Spain & took out some major power lines.  There's not a lot of ready information about this story.  Presumably, an inquiry boad did not discipline McCain.

    Sometime in 1965, McCain was flying to the Army-Navy football game & experienced a "flame-out" & ejected from the aircraft which crashed as he parachuted into the ocean.

    On July 29, 1967, on the USS Forrestal, an aircraft across the flight deck accidentally launched a rocket that hit McCain's plane & punctured his fuel tank as well as knocking bombs loose onto the deck.  The explosions & fires are notorious--all Navy recruits are shown the video of this disaster as part of their fire fighter training.  McCain got out of his burning plane & helped another pilot get away from the scene.

    On Oct. 26, 1967, McCain was shot down by a SAM over Hanoi while bombing an electrical plant.

    John S. McCain III may be the luckiest man alive.

    It also appears as if a couple more jumps will earn him his qualified parachutist wings.

    Perhaps a surreptitious Obama campaign theme could be a photo of Sen. McCain in a flightsuit, with images of 5 crashed aircraft photoshopped onto the background & a caption: "Don't let this man near Air Force One!"


    shades of Napoleon (none / 0) (#146)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 05:48:25 PM EST
    I don't want good pilots, I want lucky pilots.

    careful there. (none / 0) (#144)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 05:41:34 PM EST
    They do know how to dogfight.  And bomber pilots are generally the better trained anyway.

    I disagree that Clark will make a difference (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:16:39 PM EST
    I never understood how McCain's response to Clark boxed him in. And don't underestimate McCain's campaigning skills. He managed to win the Republican nomination even though a huge chunk of the Republican base either hates or is indifferent to him. He is not a good public speaker, and he makes a lot of gaffes, but he has a certain comfortable charm. Plus, a lot of the gaffes he makes are not the kind that the public will care about.  The recent "disclosure" of Obama's travel schedule is not likely to resonate much with the public - they already knew that Obama was going to Iraq, so why should they worry about McCain saying so? The whole Czechoslovakia flap is similar. Most Americans haven't got a clue about the new nations that have formed since the USSR broke up. They really don't care.

    This election will be decided by Obama. If he can make the case that he is qualified to be President, in spite of the right wings efforts to show otherwise, then I think he will win. It's not going to be a referendum on McCain - people are pretty comfortable with McCain - it's going to be a referendum on Obama. If he doesn't make the case, people will go with a known quantity unless that known quanitity has some kind of major scandal (this is unlikely - if something didn't come up during the Republican primary, it probably won't now).

    That's where the dole comparison (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:19:34 PM EST
    has always collapsed for me.  

    Roughly put:

    McCain=safe hands

    Obama=cool gamble


    Clinton was a relatively safe choice by 2006 (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:22:16 PM EST
    Dole just looked unglamourous and crotchety about everything and there were no overaching problems nationally.  The mood was peaceful and prosperous.

    You did mean 1996? (none / 0) (#35)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:52:07 PM EST
    I think so or else there is something I missed in 06. Heh.

    yes 1996 (none / 0) (#145)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 05:47:17 PM EST

    They are both a gamble (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:47:35 PM EST
    from where I am sitting. I trust neither. Sad really.

    Yesterday in the SF Chronicle, former (5.00 / 7) (#53)
    by hairspray on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:19:08 PM EST
    Mayor Willie Brown said that  the election is not Obama vs. McCain, rather Obama vs. Obama. His major points were that many of Hillary supporters were not on board with O because of the primaries, and also many of the independents who can switch either way are not solidly behind Obama either. I guess a lot depends on how well Rove can get control of the McCain message.

    McCain also safer in what he'll spend (none / 0) (#109)
    by catfish on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:43:58 PM EST
    There's not much fear that he'll overspend on the wrong things. There's more fear he won't spend enough.

    With Obama, they know he'll raise taxes. But how will he use that extra money? The latter question is still unanswered, in voter minds.

    Because I speak for the voters, and I know what they're thinking :)


    I hope the Democrats run this (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Florida Resident on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:47:59 PM EST
    campaign as if they were loosing.  I hope we get away from the Obama is a shoo-in mantra.  McCain may be a poor campaigner but during the primaries everyone gave up on him and look at where he is now.  So my biggest hope is that we don't take him lightly and start the victory lap too early, there is still three and a half months to go and the last thing we can do is let our guard down.

    yes (4.33 / 6) (#54)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:20:48 PM EST
    McCain actually WON his Party's Primary and is the actual clear choice of the Voters (winner-take-all primaries, of course).

    Obama was dragged over the "finish line" by his buddies at the DNC because he was stuck in a virtual tie with an opponent who is smarter than him, more experienced than him, a much better debater and town hall participant than him and has a wealth of experience behind her.

    In other words, Obama couldn't win the Nomination fair-and-square like McCain did.  The Republicans chose McCain;  the Democrats had Obama chosen for them.

    Come Election Day, I think we may see the difference between the two.


    If by "win" (none / 0) (#110)
    by rottenart on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:45:03 PM EST
    you mean "lasted until everyone else dropped out" then I'd agree. But Mccain certainly didn't win by beating his primary opponents.

    and they "dropped out" (none / 0) (#118)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:54:44 PM EST
    because McCain had enough people vote for him that there was no way his opponents could catch up.  Huckabee, his nearest competitor, was hundreds of delegates behind.

    Obama, on the other hand, didn't win.  His opponent -- the one everyone kept telling to drop out -- was virtually tied in the popular vote, was winning over the base in record numbers (90% rural vote in WV) and was a mere 100 or so delegates behind.  He lost the big states (CA, NJ, NY, PA, OH, FL and even NH), never connected with the Base and continued to lose them right until the end and needed Brazile and Dean at the DNC to carry him across the Finish Line.

    No matter how you try to spin it, McCain won his Primary Season.  Obama didn't.


    His campaign looks downright cheap (none / 0) (#111)
    by catfish on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:45:09 PM EST
    it is such a contrast to the slick Obama operation that I wonder if McCain could harness it in his favor.

    I disagree with the main point (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:23:04 PM EST
    McCain is the only republican who had a chance.  if it was any other republican candidate the race really would be over and its not.  McCain is the only one who ever had a chance which is why they were smart enough to nominate him.
    he had a chance and he still does.

    According to Rasmussen, (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by RalphB on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:35:29 PM EST
    it's a pretty good chance as well.

    Tracking Poll


    the interesting thing about (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:08:04 PM EST
    his running even with McCain - which seems very bad for Obama to me - is that it makes it more likely he will pick Hillary as VP.
    in the last few days I think her chances of getting picked has gone up as his numbers have gone down.  
    I always thought the only way he would pick her is if he was convinced it was the only way he could win.
    I think we are getting there.

    recently the pundits (none / 0) (#93)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:23:18 PM EST
    have said that Obama's VP choice will be named by the end of July.  They won;t wait until just before the convention and they don't want to compete with the Olympics at the beginning of August.

    They guessed McCain will announce his VP pick a day or two after the dem convention to take the spotlight off the dems


    I Have Mixed Feelings (none / 0) (#95)
    by flashman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:25:01 PM EST
    about Hillary as VP.  On the one hand, I think she should return to the Senate with all the momentum she is riding.  Certainly, as a possible Majority Leader, she could have substantially more influence over policy.  On the other hand, the symbology of a first woman VP would be a great thing for our country.  I guess that would make it worthwile.

    mixed feelings as well (none / 0) (#102)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:30:57 PM EST
    I do think it is his only path to victory.  and even far from a sure thing.
    if he picks Hillary I will have to vote for him.
    if he picks Sam Nunn I will have to vote for McCain.

    just to be clear (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:39:39 PM EST
    the only way McCain would ever get my vote is if Obama betrays everything I believe in and picks Sam Nunn for VP.

    It's pretty unlikely Hillary will be SML (none / 0) (#149)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:46:55 PM EST
    Although that is my fantasy as well.  Then some stuff could really get done.

    Reid isn't going to step aside, and even if the Senate gets all the Dem pickups they imagine they are, I don't see enough for support for a SML who will actually make them do their jobs.


    We're in agreement on HRC as VP. (none / 0) (#100)
    by RalphB on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:29:26 PM EST
    Though I don't know if there is any way he'll do it.

    he won't (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:42:35 PM EST
    I don't know if Barack or the people who are advising him are that politically mature or savvy.  In fact, I suspect, judging by how they treat Hillary and her millions of supporters (denying her her rightful spot on the first ballot at the Convention?!?!), many of them are still running in the Primary!

    They will choose someone -- no idea who -- who will not upstage The One and who will mindlessly agree with everything he says, but bring nothing -- no Electoral Votes, no Swing State, no hefty experience -- to the table.  Someone safe with the ability to blend into the scenery.

    It's All About Barack, you know.


    Many of the VP polls (none / 0) (#150)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:48:52 PM EST
    (almost all of which are out of SUSU, unfortunately) have Obama alone doing better than Obama with any of the people they are polling (which almost always excludes Hillary).

    So maybe his best bet electorally is to pick a no one.  In which case, Sebelius has the edge.


    And Then There's Gallup (none / 0) (#115)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:51:00 PM EST
    This matchup is the only one (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:45:00 PM EST
    among the real contenders on both sides that the Republicans had a shot at winning, IMO. I think it is going to be really close.

    completely agree (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:47:26 PM EST
    said it before.  they nominated the only candidate who could win we nominated the only one who could lose.

    and this will be the story line (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:09:06 PM EST
    that the average voter sees.

    Oh yeah the Americans that ride around with him on his bus and dutifully scribble down "maverick" repeatedly in their press corps notebooks.

    BTD, among others, is under the foolish impression that the MSM has a "love fest" going with obama. in fact, what they had was "hate hillary fest" going. big difference. you've committed the fatal error of mistaking the one for the other. they've already begun to reverse course from the primaries, it will only get worse after the convention.

    the right-wingut 527's have yet to weigh in. unfortunately, unlike the situation with sen. kerry, sen. obama gives them lots of legitimate ammunition to use against him.

    the net result: he'll barely score in double-digits with blue-collar whites. absent mccain totally flaming out, between now and nov., he will be our next president.

    not so sure about this (none / 0) (#94)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:24:48 PM EST
    the media is still following Obama all around the world and ignoring McCain.  They may not be in love with Obama.  But, they still like covering the new phenom for their ratings.

    they're waiting (none / 0) (#106)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    for the slip-up.  If there isn't one, they'll manufacture something after the trip or closer to the Convention and/or Election (a la Kerry).

    The media -- and those who control to a great extent what the on-air bobbleheads say -- have been in love with McCain for years.  They're not going to dump him overboard for this new guy.  In their eyes -- and, eventually via their narrative, in the Voters' eyes --, McCain is the guy ... sorry, Soldier who earned it with a long, distinguished career in the Senate whereas Obama is the new guy with no experience but would be the First African-American President.  

    (I don't agree with that assessment, but believe that will be the Narrative after the Republican Convention and into Election Day)

    In many ways, I feel the coming media love fest with McCain will be their way of apologizing for throwing him under the bus so cruelly in 2000 for Bush.  They knew McCain would have had an almost impossible task beating Hillary, so they knifed her in the back (like they did McCain in 2000) so the guy he COULD beat -- and they could bury -- would be the Nominee.  And, voila!, the DNC and (sadly) Obama fell for it -- and is STILL buying it! -- hook, line and sinker.

    And, like McCain, Hillary will wait her turn and run again.


    This comment from Obama's book (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by abfabdem on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:35:29 PM EST
    is still concerning, and I bet it will come up again.  It was related in the NY Times as recently as June 27:

    Mr. Obama is an introspective candidate, and perhaps the best analyst of his own political style. "I serve as a blank screen," he wrote in "The Audacity of Hope," "on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."

    That's one of the things I find scariest (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:21:11 PM EST
    about Obama.  

    I mean, who is he really?  What does he really believe in?  No one knows.  They only think they know.  Obama is telling them that they don't know because he believes he is a blank screen.  

    "I serve as a blank screen," he wrote in "The Audacity of Hope," "on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."



    The issue here (4.00 / 3) (#15)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:23:01 PM EST
    is trust.

    Obama has not earned the trust of Americans. McCain has. McCain is insulated from attacks on his character because of that trust. Obama, to put it mildly, is not.

    I think Obama must make a strong affirmative case for people to vote for him. Not being McCain will not be enough.

    By the way - when is Obama going to start reaching out to Hillary's voters again?

    Um no (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:26:57 PM EST
    Obviously that is NOT the issue. If it was, McCain would be winning.

    in polls? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Salo on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:29:42 PM EST
    We saw what happened to Kerry and Clinton.

    Hopefully the good news in Ohio sticks of course.


    How is Obama winning? (none / 0) (#22)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:31:30 PM EST
    By polling higher (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:32:36 PM EST
    I'll believe it after the Swiftboating. (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:33:49 PM EST
    Polls are not votes.

    exactly (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:53:41 PM EST
    for anyone to believe that Polls in July say anything about the Contest post-Convention and post-Debates has drank a bit too much of the Obama-Aid.

    If McCain were as weak as those who support Obama make him out to be, Obama would be polling A LOT higher than he is.  For these pro-Obama Polls to hold up after the Swift Boating and the Debates (where I strongly suspect uh ... um ... uh ... Obama will take a 5 to 7 point hit), his lead is going to have to be a lot more solid than it is now.

    As for reaching out to Clinton Supporters, well, my phone rings at least twice a day with someone or other from the Obama Camp or the DNC hitting me up for money.  Does that count?


    Sure, it's Obama's way to (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by misspeach2008 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    How has McCain earned anyone's trust? (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:31:59 PM EST
    I mean, you can trust him to be on the wrong side of just about any issue.  Beyond that?

    Do you dispute (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:42:11 PM EST
    that McCain is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans?

    I don't disagree with your assessment, though. I am not a McCain supporter.


    Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:46:31 PM EST
    McCain is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans?

    A recent poll I saw of white Americans (which should favor McCain) showed 34% viewed him favorably.

    Unfortunately, 30% viewed Obama favorably.


    I also will dispute that (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by independent voter on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:47:21 PM EST
    McCain is viewed favorably by a majority of Americans. I see no evidence of that anywhere...no polls support it, nor do comments on even right wing blogs. It seems obvious that the majority of Dems and progressives do not view him favorably, and he has at best a "hold my nose and vote for him" support from many Repubs.

    Wrong. (none / 0) (#77)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:50:27 PM EST
    Rasmussen today: McCain 57% favorable, Obama 53% favorable. Last time I looked, 57% was a majority.

    Try again.


    You are incredible! (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by independent voter on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:08:12 PM EST
    How much time each day do you spend searching for items you can point to that undermine Obama? Too funny

    Um, Rasmussen polls on favorability (none / 0) (#151)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:56:37 PM EST
    almost every day.  Rasmussen is a major name in polling.

    Just because you are unaware of some basic information does not mean that madamab is not.  I'm guessing it took less than 20 seconds to access that information.

    The vast majority of polling I've seen -- and I've become a bit of a poll watcher this campaign, since February -- has McCain's favorability ratings pretty high, and seldom far off of Obama's.

    Personally, I don't really understand it myself.  I don't find McCain an attractive candidate.  But I also know that just because I don't like a politician, that does not mean that no one does.


    Um, Maybe you do not regularly read (none / 0) (#153)
    by independent voter on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 07:01:09 AM EST
    madamab's comments. I certainly am not only referencing one statement. It is amuzing to see the effort expended to keep her own narrative supported.

    Uhhhhhhhhh (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Faust on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:53:17 PM EST
    Mcain has earned the trust of Americans? Which Americans?

    Oh yeah the Americans that ride around with him on his bus and dutifully scribble down "maverick" repeatedly in their press corps notebooks.


    and, sadly, (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:06:25 PM EST
    for most Americans who have neither the time nor the inclination to follow politics the way those of us who visit places like TalkLeft do, those scribbling will go far in helping to decide their vote.

    Don't underestimate the power of the Press in building up McCain and pulling Obama down.  As far as Media Narratives go, we have a war hero and POW who was tortured ascending to the Presidency after a long "distinguished" career in the Senate opposed to a guy with a thin resume who will be the "first African American President".  For many Americans, that's how they see Barack and, in very subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that's what he runs on.  But once the chips are down and they're in the voting booth, it may not be enough.

    So, a soldier who earned it after many years of experience in the Senate against a new guy who'll be the first African-American President.  That will basically be the Narrative come the Fall.

    Not that I agree with this, but I can already see stirrings of these core beliefs -- these narratives -- in conversations I have and in the bare bones coverage I see.  Doesn't make any of it true, but don't make fun of Those That Scribble because they do end up driving much of what people believe about the Candidates.


    Making fun of those that scribble (none / 0) (#68)
    by Faust on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:46:16 PM EST
    is one of the most important activities that one can engage in. That doesn't mean one shouldn't take them seriously, indeed the whole point of pointing out that they are "scribblers" is to try and crack open how seriously they are taken.

    That fact that they control the narrative doesn't mean they shouldn't be mocked, ridiculed and criticized. They are the 4th estate, and they need to be criticized every bit as much as if not more than the candidates themselves.


    I agree (none / 0) (#119)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:00:30 PM EST
    but many Americans, again, have neither the time nor inclination to pay much attention to the details.  They'll see a Breaking News Story, make a snap decision based on the headline or breathless 10 second blurb and not really bother to delve much deeper than that.

    Even if others delve deep and highlight info that runs counter to the sensationalistic mood of the headline or blurb, first impressions -- and decisions -- are hard to eradicate and the damage is usually done.  From that point on, the Candidate is one defense.

    Now, if Obama had a long history with the voters and a strong record of achievement to fall back on, I trust he could weather those storms.  But he doesn't.  He's a blank slate, so new info -- good or, sadly, bad -- will tend to stick like glue whereas McCain will always be the maverick POW who's been in the Senate forever.


    uh....WHAT? (2.40 / 5) (#57)
    by Punchy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:26:37 PM EST
    McCain is winning the trust?  Is this why he's losing in almost every national poll?  Is this why voters are more excited about Obama than McCain?

    Are you that angry that Clinton lost that this is what you falsely claim?


    Hillary has absolutely nothing to do with (5.00 / 4) (#92)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:22:04 PM EST
    how I view Obama. If you want to talk about what makes me angry, we can talk about Obama's vote to cover up for Bush illegal activities and for eliminating my 4th Amendment rights. We can talk about his position that a woman needs a committee made up of her doctor, her family and her clergy before she makes a decision on what she should do with her own body. We can talk about how he reinforces the right wing talking point that women use the mental health exemption to get abortions that they are not entitled to have. We can talk about expanding the faith base initiative programs and possibly adding a Secretary of Faith as a cabinet position (BTW Bush didn't even go this far).  We can talk about him running a poison pill, Republican ad against UHC and the fact that his plan is not universal (he distorts the truth by calling it UHC), does not have a non-insurance option that could lead to single payer, will cost more and has a higher probability of failure even if he actually  decides to risk contributions and political capital on it. We can talk about the fact that this election cycle was the perfect time to promote a real progressive agenda as mainstream. Rather than take this route, Senator Obama chose to help rehabilitate the Republican Party and promote their talking points and agenda items. Those are just a few of the reasons that I do not have a favorable opinion of Senator Obama.



    my thoughts exactly (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:06:29 PM EST
    I find it continually fascinating that people either accuse me of being a sore loser or a racist when I hesitate in my support of Obama.

    As if my deciding not to vote this year has nothing at all to do with his shocking inexperience and lack of conscience.  His disturbing willingness to throw family, friends and successful Dem Presidents (and their wives) under the bus.  Or his blatant assumption that we'll all vote for him 'cause we have nowhere else to go and all he has to do is grace us with his pearly white smile.

    I don't care if you're brown, blue, yellow, black or green.  If I'm going to vote for you, it's because I believe you're the best person for the job.  Not because you have a (D) behind your name (the DNC killed that pesky habit with the RBC meeting) and not because I "have to".  You have to earn my vote.

    And Barack hasn't and probably won't.


    Obama on Reproductive Rights (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:23:20 PM EST
    I don't see anything to worry about in his position on late term abortions.

    His verbal construction of a woman, her pastor, her family, and her doctor being involved reads like something he imagines a woman considering a late term abortion might do--consult others whose counsel she values. There's nothing in the comment that reads as something he wants written into statute--that a woman in that situation MUST consult any of those people--although I imagine most women in that position have to consult a doctor, right?

    As to the mental health exception to late term prohibitions, he's clarified that as well, leading this writer for the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau blog site to state:

    "That makes sense and conforms to the senator's co-sponsorship of the Freedom of Choice Act legislation which, among other things, would codify a mental-health exception to late-term abortion prohibitions."



    The so called clarification repeats (none / 0) (#134)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:56:24 PM EST
    the same things that I objected to in the first place. Abortion decisions by committee and from your link:

    My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue.
    "Mental distress is not an illness." Douglass said. "He absolutely believes and has always said there has to be a health exception for serious physical and mental illness."

    Great that Frank (Chicago Trib) and you are reassured by his clarification. I am not.


    Where Does He Say (none / 0) (#141)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 04:47:37 PM EST
    he would compel a woman considering a late term abortion to consult her pastor, her doctor and her family? Does that mean that agnostic and atheistic women would be exempt from this, because they have no pastor? Or that women with no family or no primary care physician would be likewise? Or does it mean that women who had no pastor etc would be prohibited from late term abortions until they found one?

    No where does he say that. Instead, as I pointed out, the reasonable read of that statement is that he expects a woman would WANT to consult people in her life whose counsel she trusts.

    I see him as walking back from his earlier 'just feeling blue' comment. It was wrong for him to say that. His record on reproductive freedom, however, reassures me that that this statement isn't consistent with his record and that he misspoke.

    I can certainly see how, with so many other disagreements with him you wouldn't feel so inclined.


    I don't think that any us (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by misspeach2008 on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 07:45:57 PM EST
    believe that Obama would try to legislate a talk with a pastor into a woman's right to have an abortion. However, for some of us, it has a paternalistic tone to it that he keeps repeating. And with the regs in South Dakota requiring doctors to go as far as offering a woman a opportunity to see an ultrasound of the fetus before the abortion, the "counseling" aspect of having an abortion is being pushed too far. Obama has not spoken out loudly enough.

    I Want To Be Clear (none / 0) (#154)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 02:59:28 PM EST
    I take a back seat to no one in my repudiation of any little gimmicky games politicians play with restricting access to abortions and/or other aspects of women's health care.

    If I thought Obama was advocating ANYTHING like that including all the nasty little tricks like mandating women have to be shown photos or read tracts or any extra-medical add-ons, I would not only oppose it, I would be opposing HIM unequivocally.

    I can understand what you mention about the paternalistic tone inherent in suggesting women would or should consult ministers, doctors, etc. I guess one reason it doesn't automatically hit me that way is that (as someone posting here mentioned recently in her own case) many women have women pastors and women MDs. Somehow it doesn't quite feel as 'big daddy' to me when I picture a room full of women discussing this kind of decision.

    Though to be fair, I've known some pretty patriarchical females in my time, too, so who knows? :)


    excited about Obama? (4.42 / 7) (#70)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:46:47 PM EST
    excitement for Obama peaked in January-February and has been on a downhill slide since then.  After losing steadily since late-February, he was dragged over the Finish Line by the DNC in a virtual tie with his opponent and he's polling way below what he should be (pre-debates and Swift Boating) if  people were as excited about him as you claim.

    I, personally, know absolutely NO ONE who is excited about Obama.  Many see him as an inexperienced opportunist with little to offer the Country other than our vote putting HIM in the History Books.  In fact, many just can't believe the stupidity of a Party that places a man who lost CA, NY, NJ, OH, FL, PA and NH as well as much of the Democratic Base as our Party's Nominee!  

    No matter, though, as we have Hope and Change and Yes, We Can (all to be Refined at a later date).  Doesn't quite create jobs or put food on the table, but, for Obama, that doesn't seem to matter.  It's All About Barack.

    So, no, no excitement here for Obama.  But wave your flag as much as you like.  Perhaps I'll eventually become hypnotized enough by the pretty colors to vote O-bam-a.


    It's early on (4.00 / 4) (#62)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:43:09 PM EST
    McCain appears to be gaining ground in these polls. Obama, not so much.

    Try not to let CDS guide your digs at people because they aren't saying what you want to hear. Oh and for the record, speaking for myself, I AM THAT angry with how I saw the primary season play out. Anyone with even a speck of conscience ought to be angry. It isn't every day when a party decides that 1 state doesn't matter and gives 15% of the voters from one candidate to the other. It strikes me as a poor representation of democracy.


    it's not Democracy (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:48:46 PM EST
    It's All About Barack!  (catchy theme song to be determined later)

    Have you seen Rasmussen today? (none / 0) (#79)
    by madamab on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:52:09 PM EST
    I advise you to check your facts.

    McC-GOP only have to run vs SENATOR Obama to win (2.33 / 3) (#63)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:43:22 PM EST
    Pugs can completely dodge the ickiness of discussing *-isms, and Obama's "vision" of a post-ickiness politics has already helped pave the way.

    For a winning hand, McCain just needs to stress Obama's poor showing as a Senator and hold that up as a symbol of the much loathed, innefectual "Democratic" controlled Congress.

    Obama's chewed-out Got MLK?/Hope Ya Got Change vision might have done wonders kneecapping Sen Clinton AKA The Clintons, but if Dems think that McCain can easily be portrayed as a third Bush admin, they're ignoring the obvious.

    If anything's glaringly obvious, it's that the one thing people loathe even more than the Bush/Cheney regime it's the ineffectual CONGRESS.

    You know, the one Obama was too bored to serve out one term in.

    Everyone comfortably hates them and doesn't have to worry about being labeled *-ist to do so. (If GOoPers are good at anything, it's making old bigotries feel easy and comfy, yet brand spanking new again and even downright refreshing to exercise.)

    Obama's fauxgressive pals in the netroots won't turn that debate in the Dems favor, as they've already trampled too many genuinely progressive causes and principles under the excuse that Obama had to denounce them, and did so as "brilliant" campaigning, "pragmatic" politics or (LOL) moving to the center.

    Unexploded clusterbombs go boom even under the feet of the "side" that dropped them without forethought.

    Troll=rate me as pests tben and TheJoker might (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:47:21 PM EST
    That knee-jerk "support" of Obama is as effective here as the Pester Power of txt msg'ing will be to annoy potential votes in Obama's direction.

    It accomplishes nothing (unless turning people even MORE off Obama is the goal.)

    Doing it is as dumb as the strategy of unleashing volunteers talking about how they "came to Obama", These are symptomatic of an ill-considered campaign based on astro-trolling and pesterbotting.

    It's not only unpersuasive. IT'S A TURNOFF.

    The pests in the air and on the ground are participating in an exercise of cheesy validation that flatters the annoyER more than wins new adherents among multitudes of unsuspecting, soon-to-be annoyed victims of pestilence going about their business.

    Trust me on this. The strategy stinks. Face it, Obama does not portend the New Camelot but more of a politics of Pest-a-Lot


    McCain can't run against Congress (none / 0) (#80)
    by CST on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:52:22 PM EST
    McCain represents the senate way more than Obama since he has been there much longer.  I really don't see how this argument works in his favor.

    If we want to talk record of how each has voted in the senate I would LOVE that argument.  McCain has years of right-wing positions to tie him to.


    As a minority party member (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:00:23 PM EST
    of the congress actually I think he'd have a shot going in this direction.

    but highlighting Barack's (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:02:51 PM EST
    missed votes and his inability to finish out even one term (this is where his quote about finding Senate work "boring" and his recent "when I was a US Senator" quote will come in handy) will make him seem like an ambitious opportunist who's trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

    Agree or disagree with votes McCain made years ago (or even more recently), one can't hang the Slacker Moniker around his neck.  It all goes back to the growing Media Narrative of one candidate having "earned it" and one candidate being "too new".

    Add to that Barack's complete and total lack of work holding even one meeting as Chair of that Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee which oversees, among other things, Afghanistan and Obama may find himself on the defensive for several weeks trying to convince Voters that, yes, he IS a hard worker.  He's just been "too busy".

    Ugh.  Not a good place to be in a Presidential Election.


    Most of Obama's legislative (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:29:16 PM EST
    accomplishments came in the ILL state senate.  All McCain has to do is publicize the story about how those accomplishments were "manufactured" for Obama in his last year there when the dems took control of the state senate.  That by itself would wipe out most of what Obama claims as his accomplishments.

    But then add in the "present" votes and the claims of pushing the wrong button when he voted what ended up being considered the "wrong" way in ILL.

    I think McCain can pretty much strip Obama bare of any legislative accomplishments over his entire career.


    and without those (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:50:09 PM EST
    "accomplishments", what else does Obama have?  Anything in the Senate?  Or as Chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee?  Nope.  

    Add in his associations with people like Rezko, Wright and Ayers as well as all that other stuff we have no clue about, but the GOP has dug up and is saving for post-Convention and I can clearly see an instance where people are openly asking "HOW could the Democrats select THIS guy as the Nominee?!"

    If Obama can deflect bad news as effortlessly as McCain did his own "blonde woman" scandal during the Primary, he could be okay.  But I don't think he deflects well.  One needs super-thick skin and Barack has shown himself to be embarrassingly  thin-skinned when it comes to criticism or bad news.


    McCain's missed votes (none / 0) (#88)
    by CST on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:08:29 PM EST
    McCain missed more votes during the democratic promary than either Obama or Clinton long after he had no primary opponent.

    McCain was "too busy" running against nobody to come back and vote, at least Obama had an opponent and he made it back for a few important votes.


    doesn't matter (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    McCain has long years of Senate work behind him whereas Obama was known for missing votes in the Illinois Legislature or voting Present ... something he's now infamous for.  

    To continue this can't-show-up-to-work practice into his very short career as a US Senator is in no way, shape or form a winner for Barack or the DNC.


    Point out GOP hypocrisy? Yeah, THAT'll work (none / 0) (#98)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:29:04 PM EST
    ... about as well as it's worked for the last half century. Yeesh, the Bush admin's had working, web-advertising gay-hustlers at WH sleepovers and the hapless Dems weren't able to make it an issue.

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the GOP continue to use sex against Sen Clinton AKA The Clintons even now.

    Why? How?

    In case you didn't notice, it was with the enthusiastic cooperation of fauxgressives and the brainiacs running the ambitious NuDem Chicago Machine, just a tad overanxious to replace the Old Boss machinery with the one huffing and puffing its way towards the White House.

    If Dems lose it's not because of the "special interests" that weigh them down but because of Dems that pine to impress (and to be) more like Republicans, and not the "good" kind but the nutsy-crazy ones.


    Mitt Romney could make this happen (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:06:05 PM EST
    McCain, I'm not so sure. That's especially if he runs out of money for his TV ads, which have thus far been pretty decent.

    More good news. PPP sez Obama by 8 in Ohio. McCain has been spending big there, if I understand correctly.

    Yes, I think Romney. . . (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:14:18 PM EST
    was their only candidate who could have pursued this kind of attack.

    but you don't think he could (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by lilburro on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 12:47:14 PM EST
    do the dirty work, and prove McCain has at least some grasp of the economy, as VP?

    He's a talking head for McCain now.  I think McCain could make him his economy mouthpiece, just as some of us want Obama to make Clinton our economy mouthpiece.


    I think his greatest. . . (none / 0) (#42)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:05:19 PM EST
    asset to the McCain campaign would be as an attack dog.  But I think McCain has to choose someone who will, at least, not further harm his chances with evangelicals.  Did you notice Dobson holding out the tease of an endorsement today?

    While VP as attack dog has a history, VP as actual originator or head of any particular policy doesn't.  McCain will speak for himself, or use his own non-candidate spokespeople, as will Obama.


    I agree except for the Clark part (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 01:04:30 PM EST
    I don't think that is a box that will hold McCain. If McCain comes out hard against Obama and Obama fights back saying 'oh, you thought hardball was wrong back in June when Clark attacked you' Reps will just laugh and keep on going.  They stopped having any shame about their own inconsistentencies a long time ago.

    But yes, McCain is turning out to be so horrible at campaigning that I think the only chance he has is the 'pity factor'. People may see him as a qualified, deserving, guy who is just at a disadvantage agaisnt a slick machine.  In fact that is the angle I would play if I were McCain.

    Yeah, the how idea that the Clark issue ... (none / 0) (#129)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:38:20 PM EST
    will have any bearing is ridiculous.

    First, most voters didn't even pay any attention to it.

    And, second, this isn't a tea party, it's a presidential election.

    Fighting hard for the job is always viewed positively.


    THis is ALWAYS the GOP game plan. (none / 0) (#113)
    by JohnS on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 02:48:19 PM EST

    Presidential elections are all about risk ... (none / 0) (#130)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03:39:53 PM EST
    so this is probably McCain's best strategy.  Problem is it can also be used against him.  Because, clearly, McCain can also be painted as a risky choice.