The Polls

Newsweek (9/9-11) has it 46-46. Ras (9/10-12) has McCain by 3. Hotline (9/9-11) has Obama by 1. Gallup Tracker (9/10-12) has McCain by 2, 47-45. DKos/R2000 (9/10-12) has it a 47-47 tie.

It seems as if McCain has a slight lead. I was hoping and expecting McCain's Convention bounce to fade. It seems safe to say it has not and the state of the race is a virtual tie/narrow McCain lead. [More...]

My advice stays the same - contrast with McCain/Bush and give up the Palinpalooza. I think Obama is trying to do that. His Tier 2 surrogates are not there. DemfromCt seems to endorse a continuation of Palinpalooza:

Assumptions about how this race is turning out may still need to be adjusted to fit the data (not the other way around). Note that we've been much more skeptical of Palin-as-candidate, based on polling numbers.

I respectfuly submit that those still believing in Palinpalooza are the ones fitting the data to their pet political theories.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< Saturday Open Thread | Obama On Offense II: McCain = Bush's Third Term >
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    Obama must make a difference before Oct (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Saul on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:01:56 PM EST

    If the polls are still the same in a dead heat in Oct then IMO Obama would have lost  any chance of not making this election a close race.  Then you will have to just cross your fingers that he wins and that's not what the Dem expected this election.

    That's is why I am angry at Obama.  He decided to risk the election when he knew he did not have to.  By not picking Hilary he knew he would be jeopardizing the election especially when he had slam dunk deal that was at his finger tips which he threw away.   And that is why I say to Obama,

        How dare you risk my chances and the people chances of having a slam dunk victory in 08 and putting a democrat in the oval office just because you could not swallow your pride.

    The tiem for repercussions is not now (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:04:42 PM EST
    If he loses, we will skewer him properly.

    Recriminations I mean (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:09:02 PM EST
    Who's to bleme... (none / 0) (#14)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:21:14 PM EST
    To be honest I think Obama will be no more to blame than Hillary was to blame for losing the primary.  At the end of the day the ideology of the two candidates is clear.  The fact that we make excuses for politicians not answering questions, playing the personality game, etc, as a population is our own to blame.

    If Obama loses the blame falls in the mirror and with our neighbors.  At the end of the day he only casts one vote, just like we all do.  It's the people of the country that elect the president.


    I strongly disagree (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by jar137 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:16:05 PM EST
    You cannot compare the primary (of two candidates with similar plans/ideologies) to the general, where the choices are more stark.  I believe Obama did not plan for the general election in the primary (which Hillary did do) to his detriment.  He rode the crest of his popularity with some Democrats and did not really reach out to the other voters he would need in the general election.  Clearly, the choice of Biden was an attempt to do this, but he would have been much more effective in this regard if he had chosen Hillary.  I think his hubris (running for pres. w/limited experience and accomplishments; dismissing some traditional Dem. voters as not needed (ie, the new coalition)while courting republicans (evangelicals, no less); refusing to accept Hillary as his running mate (who Biden acknowledged may have been a better choice).  These are Obama's problems, not the voting public's.  The argument that he only has one vote is ridiculously simplistic.  He wasn't nominated for his vote; he was nominated to promote a Democratic agenda and to rally the public around it.  If he fails to do this, particularly in a year when the republican brand is so tarnished, he will be an utter failure and will earn his place among the other ineffective Dem candidates.  His national career will be over.  Rightly so, I would argue.

    To whose detriment? (none / 0) (#54)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:19:44 PM EST
    Both Obama and Hillary planned for the general election.  We should be clear, Hillary did no favors for Barack in the primary.  She was playing for her general election, but here's a hint -- you have to win the primary to get to the general.  Like in baseball, if you save your best pitcher for game 7, but lose game 6 and the series 4-2, no one is going to praise you for the fact that you would have won game 7 -- had it gone that far.  

    But lets back up -- you say this is to Obama's detriment.  This is where Democrats get it wrong.  They think its still a high school election.  If Obama loses, sure he's not happy about it, but it's the country who deals with the consequences.  At the end of the day Obama is still a Senator.  Has incredible repoire in the party, and respect in the Media, and has a donor list that is unparalleled in politics today.  His national position will be no more diminished than Al Gore's.  

    We're electing someone to lead this country.  We're not electing someone to bask in the fact that they won.  Winning the general election is only the beginning of the process.  It's a necessary part, but only the beginning.  

    At the end of the day, the facts are all out there.  The voters make the decisions.  The voters will support the Republican.  Not Obama, and certainly not Hillary, who frankly wouldn't stand a chance against McCain.  You think that the Obama campaign was tough and unrelenting... try running against Rove.  Hillary would get pummeled, and they'd make Bill look like the worst sex offender in the history of the world.  

    Dems need to get out of this Hillary can save the world mentality.  She couldn't beat Edwards in Iowa, why do we think she has some magic powers or she can play some level of hardball that is a game changer?  She's a good politician, but not a genius.  Not a savior.  And ceratinly not a game changer.  

    18 million cracks is just enough.  Maybe 30 million and come talk to me, but a real game changer cleans up in the primaries (wins virtually every state in Super Tuesday) and certainly doesn't lose 11 contests in a row even if campaigning against the devil himself.  

    Here's another hint... on the social issues, we're not like most of the voting electorate.  That's just a simple fact.


    OK... so some of this rant might ring true... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by jeffhas on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:09:36 PM EST
    Hillary did screw up the primary to some degree - I think she counted on big State Primaries too much, and thought she would get 'some' of the AA vote, and that the caucuses would mean little.

    All of these were weaknesses that Obama exploited no doubt.

    ..of course, there was a media darling status afforded to Obama, and a CDS within the media that was on appalling display - full of sexism (even with Dems) all them time (it appears it still is).... and you know, that the Clinton's are racists...

    ... and let's not forget the Superdelegates who actually carried him over the top... you act as though he vanquished his opponent in a landslide.

    But here's where it gets really iffy:

    If Obama loses, sure he's not happy about it, but it's the country who deals with the consequences.  At the end of the day Obama is still a Senator.  Has incredible repoire in the party, and respect in the Media, and has a donor list that is unparalleled in politics today.  His national position will be no more diminished than Al Gore's.  

    If he loses - the winners will write the history - not the losers.  He will hold the same esteem as John Kerry (Elite Loser).... he can only become an Al Gore type if he actually pulls an Al Gore - and gets out of politics/elected office and pursues some sort of issue that he has passion/love for (one that I've yet to see)...  All of this will take place AFTER the Clinton's get to have their 'I told you so moment' and most of the DNC gets thrown out by those of us carrying fire and pitchforks.

    He better win... Pelosi/Dean/Brazille saw to him being the candidate - their careers along with the nations future now rest with this decision which they made years ago in convincing him to run, putting him in line with donors, operatives, helping to fill his Hopefund PAC to buy off the SD's, etc... He IS the establishment candidate, and if he doesn't win, the establishment will be held responsible too.

    ... oh wait... there's more:

    and certainly not Hillary, who frankly wouldn't stand a chance against McCain.  You think that the Obama campaign was tough and unrelenting... try running against Rove.  Hillary would get pummeled, and they'd make Bill look like the worst sex offender in the history of the world.  

    Repubs already did this - and he reduced their party to mere obstructionist status.  He left with an EXTREMELY high approval rating... this in my opinion would not have worked.  I personally believe Hillary would beat McCain cleanly - she was running the primaries like a General (which dovetails into the first part of my comment about her mistakes).  Her grasp of actual issues, details within the issues and ACTUAL SPECIFIC solutions would have been well received - heck, they'd be well received now, if we weren't too busy focusing on who's the biggest celebrity now.

    I do agree the country is still probably center right... but there was a chance for the Dems to influence this positively as WJC had done in the past - the fact that he won two terms if proof of that.


    Issues don't matter... (none / 0) (#81)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 11:46:30 PM EST
    The longer Dems keep talking about "their grasp of issues" the more they'll lose.  If we really wanted those who understood issues the best we'd be sitting through 90 minute powerpoints on the specifics of NAFTA impact on manufacturing unions.  Or the impact of HeadStart.  Never happens... why not?  No one really cares.

    Hillary and Obama both planned for the general... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by magnetics on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:54:15 PM EST
    ...true, true, but Obama's plan was that no Rethuglican could get elected dog-catcher after GWB, so he could play scorched earth in FL and MI -- and their aftermath --, and still be OK in November.

    The extent to which this calculation was fraught with risk is now apparent to all.

    I agree with other wiser heads (here and elsewhere) in whose view the failure to pick HRC for VP was reckless stewardship of the Democratic brand (or what remains of it in the Reid-Pelosi era.)


    Obama's approach (none / 0) (#79)
    by jar137 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 07:38:59 PM EST
    in the primaries, in my opinion, did not really anticipate the general election (see, eg, changing his position on FISA, his comments on angry racist xenophobic small town voters; focusing on non-Democratic voters, etc.).  However, my comment was not intended to re-argue the primaries, but to rebut your belief that somehow others will be responsible for Obama's loss (if he does in fact lose).  Your focus on Clinton is not responsive to my comment, although I note you also now imply Clinton is responsible for the state of the Obama campaign(she didn't do Obama any favors).  Your fanciful belief that Obama will rise from the ashes as another Al Gore misses my point completely.  Al Gore's stature is a result of his work- outside of politics- on global warming.  His political career, at this point, appears to be over.  Look to Kerry and Dukakis as the appropriate parallels.  

    I cannot comprehend that one could actually believe that a presidential candidate is not responsible for his/her peformance in an election.  Certainly, the candidate doesn't have control over the entire process, but to not hold the candidate responsible at all is outrageous.  I guess those are the Obama rules- it's never his fault.  



    You misunderstand... (none / 0) (#80)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 11:44:15 PM EST
    I no more blame Obama for his eventual general election loss than I do for Hillary's primary loss.  

    The difference we have is that you view the election as a battle between two candidates.  I view national elections as a battle between two ideologies.  Thus the winner should no more be exalted in their win, nor diminished in their loss.  

    As Bill Clinton said, he was on the right side of history.  It is being on the side of history that has the votes that matters.  


    I totally agree. What is a real possibility now (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by hairspray on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:51:16 PM EST
    are some really hard hitting ads that the GOP  haven't yet put out there.  I don't know how you fight them, except for Obama to be on the offensive all the time and really cut McCain badly. He needs to take some risks here.

    I think the time for him to have put party first.. (4.66 / 12) (#7)
    by jeffhas on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:12:30 PM EST
    was BEFORE the primaries... you know, when he himself pontificated that he did not have enough experience to run now.

    He should have waited... would it really have been so terrible?... to wait another four years - or to be Hillary's VP for 8 years, and then have your own shot at 8 years.

    When I think that we could have had 16 years of (Clinton then an experienced Obama) Dem Presidential rule, and it all looks now like we'll get McCain/Palin, and they have the chance at making 16 more years - not to mention how they will soften the horrifying legacy of the Bush years... I just seethe with anger towards Obama/Pelosi/Dean/Brazille.

    When/if he loses - they all need to be GONE... Washed away so we can have one last chance to get the WH back in 4 years and correct this horrendous EGO frenzy that put us off course.


    Yes, absolutely. He should have waited. (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by prittfumes on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:09:12 PM EST
    When I think that we could have had 16 years of (Clinton then an experienced Obama) Dem Presidential rule, and it all looks now like we'll get McCain/Palin, and they have the chance at making 16 more years - not to mention how they will soften the horrifying legacy of the Bush years... I just seethe with anger towards Obama/Pelosi/Dean/Brazille.

    Thank you.

    Much will depend (none / 0) (#72)
    by magnetics on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:45:04 PM EST
    upon whether or not the idiocy of McCain's pick trumps that of Obama's.

    If for no other reason than (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by tootired on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:04:16 PM EST
    attacking Palin isn't helping. From an AP poll released yesterday:

    Fully 47 percent say Obama lacks the proper experience -- an even worse reading than the 36 percent who had the same criticism about McCain running mate Sarah Palin, serving her second year as Alaska governor after being a small-town mayor.

    He is losing the "more experienced" contest to her.

    I just featured the polls released today (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:05:42 PM EST
    and yesterday, and the topline numbers.

    I am not a big believer in reading the tea leaves about answers to other questions.


    Electoral-vote.com switched to McCain (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Cream City on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:06:12 PM EST
    yesterday in the lead for the first time on the map, with the needed 270 electoral delegates.  (Realclearpolitics.com also puts McCain ahead in more solid states, but Obama holds the narrow lead with no tossups.)  

    But electoral-vote.com also summarizes well what Howard Fineman says -- that if Obama listens to this wake-up call, there still is time to fix it:

    Obama's Mistakes

    Howard Fineman wrote a very good column detailing what Obama has done wrong. In brief. he

        * Declined to take public funding (meaning too much time wasted fundraising in NY & LA)
        * Turned down the offer of 10 town hall debates where he could be lambasting McCain now
        * Wasted time and money and energy on states he has no hope of winning
        * Didn't get the Clintons and their supporters fully engaged
        * Acted like a dispassionate observer of the scene instead of a fired-up leader of a movement
        * Failed to attack McCain early and hard

    Some of these are irreversible, like the funding, the town halls, and the effort wasted in Montana, but many people are just beginning to pay attention, so he can still work on the last two or three. Remember, in politics, a week is a long time. The first debate is on Sept. 26 and that could shake up everything.

    So let's see if Obama listens.  It hasn't been his campaign's forte, I fear.  But he has shown adaptive abilities, compared to some of his staff.

    Some of those (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:13:56 PM EST
    errors, while we don't know whether they are fatal yet or not, can not be rectified at this point.

    Obama is going to have to spend lots of time fundraising. He needs to stop overspending money. He's spent millions here in GA only to be losing by about 18 pts according to the latest polls. Why does he waste money on field offices in CA? If they are worried about CA then the presidential race is already lost.

    Yeah, the townhall thing was a huge mistake. Obama's ego got in the way there. He could have really used that to make his case to the voters.

    If it all comes down to the debates, Obama loses. He doesn't do well when he's asked questions and has to come up with an immediate answer. Obama comes off as lecturing the voters while McCain comes off as talking to them. Obama seems completely detatched from the voters.


    Someone wrote about what Bill Clinton would (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by hairspray on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:52:42 PM EST
    tell him at the lunch on Thursday.  The person who wrote the article said he had watched Bill for 16 years and was pretty sure that he would say;  (I only remember one or two) the most important is that 'you must remember that this race is not about you.  People care about what is happening in their lives. So tell them briefly what the problem is and then say, here is how I will fix it.Spend more time on how to fix it than ruminating about what the problem is.  People know the problem, they want to know what you will do.'  My spouse says that obama is the philosopher king type and needs to get down to the nuts and bolts fast

    Rasmussen says... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Moishele on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:12:48 PM EST
    Acccording to Rasmussen 51% think the media is trying to destroy Palin. Numbers that high would have include some Democrats. The Sarah Witch Project has to stop and pull back, and refocus as to who the enemy is.

    As long as Palin is our focus McCain skates and the Democrats appear more and more mysogynistic. The Republicans have put Palin out to be their lightning rod, and we have fallen easily into their trap. She gets the media attention and we only respond to her. The impression is now Obama can't find anything to call McCain on, other than being old that is, and that doesn't bode well for November.

    And problem with numbers like that (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Marvin42 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:35:02 PM EST
    is that people tune the media out, so even if there is valid information about her they will no longer listen. So in a way it immunizes her.

    One of the reasons the attacks on Palin are (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by hairspray on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:57:46 PM EST
    not working is that she has and is openly admiring of HRC.  That really hurts when a woman you don't agree with on a whole lot of other issues says that Hillary was so amazing in the way she took everything that was thrown at her.  Sometimes women really get it.

    Yup (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:13:45 PM EST
    McCain used the convention to successfully shake up the race and gain the upper hand.

    The race is close, but I would now say that it slightly favors the Republicans. There can be no more cautious campaigning from Obama. And I would be beyond delighted if he fired his media shop.

    What are (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:20:21 PM EST
    the odds that he will fire the media shop? I would say about zero. Look at it this way, his campaign hasn't changed anything in six months. He couldn't shift during the primary when he started losing so I don't expect him to change now.

    It would be more helpful to his chances of winning if he got rid of his campaign staff. I remember people making fun of McCain getting rid of his. Apparently he's sharper than Obama in this area. He realized early on there was a problem. Obama has never realized that he had a problem.


    If I was running the shop (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:25:06 PM EST
    There would not be an ad that did not have a visual of McCain with Bush and not have a quote of McCain saying he supported Bush.

    that ad would run round the clock for me till Election Day.


    why in the world are they not doing this? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Lil on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:27:45 PM EST
    You are so right.

    This ad is getting there, and using that visual (none / 0) (#26)
    by steviez314 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:33:31 PM EST
    (although I still like the one with the Bush/McCain bearhug better)

    new Obama ad


    Add economy to Obama's to do list (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Coral on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:23:38 PM EST
    I watched the 2nd Gibson interview with Palin, which, IMO, is weaker than the foreign policy from the night before because her responses were just more "lower taxes" talking points. Both she and McCain are very weak on the economy.

    This is a major issue for many Americans, including those blue-collar swing voters in states like OH, PA, MI, FL -- all places hit hard by mortgage/foreclosure problems.

    If Obama could take a page from the Clintons and really hammer the economy -- in ads and ways regular people can understand -- I think he can still pull this out.

    If he does use "righteous indignation" , he needs to do it on behalf of the little guy/gal -- those "invisible" people who Hillary told "you're not invisible to me". These are the people being crushed by the job losses, health-insurance losses, and the housing crunch.

    Obama has done everything the media advised (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by esmense on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:32:34 PM EST
    (including pundits like Fineman) -- from when, how and how hard he attacked Hillary Clinton (and dissed and disassociated himself from Bill) in the primaries to his unexciting, predictable pick for VP. It's kept him in the good graces of the Washington pack journalists but it hasn't proven to be good election strategy.

    It is too late now for the Clintons to do anything significant for his candidacy. They gave it their best -- and their best was very good indeed -- at the convention. (It is rather rich to see pundits now advise Obama to use the Clintons to gain the approval of voters after he has spent so much time using them so hard and ignobly to gain the approval of the pundits.)

    I know, BTD, that you have always thought Obama's media darling status was a big plus. I, on the other hand, have always thought that his campaign's failure to understand that the media is not the constituency they needed to court, was his biggest weakness.

    McCain's campaign understood, and has dramatically demonstrated, that pleasing the media and appealing to voters is not at all the same thing. That's why they have pulled even or ahead -- despite the bad environment for their party and the media's over-the-top hysteria about and disapproval of Palin.

    It will be again (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:35:05 PM EST
    if they follow Obama's lead on the Bush question.

    Not true... (none / 0) (#32)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:49:34 PM EST
    Obama has hardly stayed in the good graces of the media.  He has a higher percentage of negative stories than McCain by about 50% (in a recent study, that's not too hard to find online).

    Fundamentally the issue isn't celebrity status or such.  People actually don't care all that much about that sort of thing (but name recognition helps).  

    People here like to think this race is not about the issues, but rather about posturing, campaigning, etc...  I think you give the people of this country too little credit.  This race has been about the issues, but it's not the issues you care about.  

    Elections are not won or lost about the economy.  The economy is too complex for most economists from Harvard and Stanford.  It's not won or lost talking about health care, as most people don't get that either.  It's who is like me.  Who shares my core values.  

    The fundamental problem is that the Democratic core value is one that leads you to a belief that the political game is just that, a game.  Who wins or loses doesn't matter that much as there won't be much change.  Conservatives believe that who wins the election is the world.

    A perfect example is the Supreme Court.  A high percentage of liberals simply don't think it is very important who the president is.  Just read this site to see that come up.  Go talk to conservatives and they will die on the hill to get Ginsberg's seat.  

    At the national level, this is not something we can win.  A lot of people like to point to Bill Clinton and say, "Follow his model... he did it".  Want to know what his model was?  It was to get Ross Perot to run.  Head to head, he loses to Bush.



    Big Elephant, you obviously haven't read (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by esmense on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:08:33 PM EST
    many of my posts. It is my belief that for most voters the first, most important "issue" is whether or not the candidate knows and understands them and their lives well enough to genuinely represent them.

    Candidates who can't answer that question successfully aren't likely to be found convincing on any other questions.

    I think that is a very reasonable attitude on the part of the electorate. And I think many, if not most, Americans increasingly find BOTH parties wanting in terms of how truly representative they are. If that wasn't the case, "Independent" wouldn't be the political category that has seen the most growth over the last several decades.


    I must admit... (none / 0) (#43)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:43:58 PM EST
    there's a lot of posts, so I probably haven't read most of yours.  But I do think it's more fundamental than if the candidate knows and understands their issues.  I think Obama knows and understands the issues.  I think McCain largely does too.  I even think Palin, Kucinich, Gravel, even Bush do.  

    The real question is do they believe the same thing as me when it comes to core beliefs (which is related, but not the same as what you were saying, but maybe that's what you meant).  

    This is why Democrats lose when they talk about policy, but think they'll win.  Voters don't care about your policies.  Most voters couldn't tell you the difference between a basis point or a percent -- do you honestly think most people can tell you the long term impact of changes to the payroll tax?!  

    Voters care about what you think of core issues.  If someone threatened your family, would you call 911 or get your gun (if you even have one)?  Are immigrants good or bad?  Are blacks good or bad?  Do you support choice?  Should women really really be equals in the workforce?  Does God come even before the Constitution?  Should I question my gov't?  

    Those are questions that everyone understands, everyone can answer, and everyone can tell where you stand.  Until Democrats realize that we will lose -- unless we can somehow get Ross Perot or Bloomberg to run  :-)


    values (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by christinep on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:45:59 PM EST
    Interesting perspective. I also have come to believe that issues/programs/lists are secondary to values for everyone. We may think not...that only other voters act that way. Yet, as we have seen in recent days, the Palin phenomenon says a lot about the observer and how her words are perceived. (Obama earlier fit that model as well.)Years ago, the phrase to describe how voters individually perceive facts/information was "individual perceptual screen." What one values or conflicting crosscurrents in one's life shapes that screen. Where I may differ with you is my perception that more people than we expect now may actually vote for someone with slightly or somewhat different values (emanating from culture, race, religion, gender) than we think IF they conclude at the gutcheck level that a candidate would act in an acceptable or good way somewhere-down-the-road if x or y happens. That's why lists of programs can only supplement the decision-making style...because it may really and reasonably be about the measure of the man and woman, not the number of pages of their programs. Not just what does a candidate believe, but the perceived integrity of the belief.

    Issues do matter, but talk about issues (none / 0) (#68)
    by esmense on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:10:56 PM EST
    is just talk without trust. And large numbers of potential voters, other than the most established and affluent, simply don't trust the political class or its knowledge of, and concern about, their interests.

    This is why Democrats struggle for votes despite the fact that majorities of people tell pollsters that they are in agreement with them on the issues.

    And why Republicans find it helpful to limit access to the ballot (despite the fact that in their imagination most Americans share their "core" values).

    Republicans sell "values" -- but they serve specific, affluent interests. And their voting constituencies reflect that.

    Democrats sell "issues" -- but their personal circumstances and understanding of the world  often are extremely divorced from, and even counter to, those of the constituencies they claim to most represent.

    Both sides like to blame voter ignorance for their failures. Both sides ignore the huge number of disaffected Americans who don't participate because they, correctly, don't believe they are adequately represented by either party. Both parties use "cultural" fights to distract from the increasingly limited economic representation they offer or in lieu of genuine engagement between competing interests. Both sides believe that "real" Americans agree with them.

    You may not think most Americans understand their own economic interest -- but in my experience I haven't met an American yet, no matter their ideological, religious or moral "values," who doesn't have a very clear understanding of how many, many times more their congressional "representative" earns, at the taxpayers' expensive, than the average person in their district.  



    I have read a number of reports about whether (none / 0) (#70)
    by hairspray on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:35:38 PM EST
    or not Perot was the deciding factor.  The GOP spun it thusly, but after the dust settled and the statistics were reviewed it was not that way at all.  Ross took votes from Clinton in some states and from Bush in other states so the common wisdom today is that it was a wash.

    One thing I can't say (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by frankly0 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:49:03 PM EST
    I've heard much remarked upon is how the Palin pick has seemed to make voters see McCain as an agent of change: someone willing to take a bold, risky, highly surprising step to shake things up.

    It gives people the sense that he won't just stick to the conventional wisdom. It does what every politician needs to do, and which Obama has mostly failed to do: show, not talk, in communicating what one stands for.

    In a way, it's not even so important that Palin be regarded as a great choice, necessarily -- it's really only important that McCain be perceived as making a bold one (and one which at least was not a really bad one).

    And (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by frankly0 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:32:47 PM EST
    the corollary to what I'm saying is that if Obama really wanted to seize the stage from here on out, the thing he would need to do is to show, not tell, that he's willing to do something outside the box.

    I don't think he's going to get a lot of mileage out of talking about how he represents change because of his policies and McCain doesn't because of his. People don't much know what to make of the real impact of most policies -- mostly I think it sounds like a rather pompous "he said she said" story. Given the closeness of the election he might be able to win on such a strategy, but it's certainly going to be touch and go if Obama can't do something dramatic to seize back the message.

    And it's not even as if that dramatic move need in any way be seen as directly addressing the issues raised by Palin (e.g., appealing to white working class or women voters). It needs to be genuinely bold, genuinely surprising, and genuinely regarded as a positive step.

    But I think the likelihood of that occurring is close to zero. The Obama campaign and Obama as a politician has always played as safely as is possible. I can't think of a single risky decision he has ever made. I can't imagine why that would change now.


    All of the speeches I have heard (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by hairspray on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:47:04 PM EST
    have been about what is wrong. Nothing about how he will fix this in the first term etc.  Hillary said she would get the money for alternative energy startups from a windfall profits tax.  She said she would pay for health care with efeciencies in the delivery system, etc.  AT least you got a sense of her having a plan and and outcome. Whether it worked on not, you had to beleive it could because she understood the system.  What we have with Obama is a lack of real understanding of how he will fix things.

    I don't think some of you (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:03:09 PM EST
    get how angry women are.

    There is and was the constant trash talk on MSNBC; the discounting of female voters in Appalachia and small towns; the DNC and Democratic congress people splitting the party for Obama; the selection of Palin.

    I think that women are very, very angry and I do not know how Obama gets them back.  It will not be with choice. I will be on that. Nor equal pay.

    It could be with health insurance.  A guarantee that there would be universal health insurance and it would be started in the first 100 days...and confidence that Democrats can take charge of the economy.

    It has to be something that makes them willing to cross that line and come back or sway them to the Democrats.

    Agreed re anger. So, if Obama would (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Cream City on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:30:03 PM EST
    make me one clear and unequivocal promise on even only one of my issues -- such as health care, as you say -- and not nuance his way out of it the next day, it would make a difference.  I've set aside my anger many times before, and I can do it again.

    I will remain angry.  Forever.  I do not forget.

    And it has changed my attitude toward the Dems forever.  So he has to win me as an Independent now, on my issues, if he does what he needs to do: Be unequivocal.  (But I don't think that he can; the one thing that is clear is that equivocating is his game plan.  It made some sense in the primaries and even afterward for a while, when he thought he could get the fundies.  But is not a good game plan anymore.)


    100 Days? (none / 0) (#64)
    by jccleaver on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:27:28 PM EST
    It could be with health insurance.  A guarantee that there would be universal health insurance and it would be started in the first 100 days...

    There's no way in the world that would be possible, or anywhere near a good idea. McCain would rip them a new one on that. Don't forget that there are plenty of people out there who a) don't want a massive government-run healthcare system, and b) understand that anything the government snapped into place in 100 days would be a complete and total clusterf---.

    I can see the ad already: "Who's being 'reckless' now?"


    Begin plan (none / 0) (#84)
    by MichaelGale on Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 04:02:28 PM EST
    in 100 days.  Obama could set up a task force to research, set up meetings, appoint committees, organize town meetings in the first 100 days. He could then set a date when he will discuss it with the opposition and report to the country.

    I bought a friend his prescription last week and it was $278, and it is not a critical situation.  Just a prescription. In Canada it is $73 for the same script, same quantity...one month. I have patients that pay over $1000 for one script.

    If Obama does not address the issue of health care, he is no better than McCain.


    Many have never understood (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by kmblue on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:10:27 PM EST
    how angry women are.  And I say this as a woman who will tepidly vote for Obama.

    and some men, too (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by jar137 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 02:30:47 PM EST
    please forgive the OT but (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by donald169 on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:59:37 PM EST
    as a recent visitor--and a refugee from the Blog Wars elsewhere--I have to say how great it is to read actual discussions rather than only shouting and invective as I find in so many supposedly progressive blogs.

    I will continue to "lurk" and to read as many comments from as many of you regulars as I can.  Perhaps soon I will offer some thoughts of my own and if so I will try hard to match the courtesy and civility I find here.

    Why do you think the bounce should have (none / 0) (#9)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:13:39 PM EST
    ended by now when Kerry's took week to end? Also, isn't historically that the case that the party that goes last has a bounce that last weeks? I keep reading this from various A list bloggers such as yourself, but what historical evidence of this is there that bounces fade in days rather than weeks?

    I agree with your solution, but would add one other angle- go after McCain's strength individually. If you want McCain=bush to work you must work in the character angle rather than letting him coast off of POW. The one complaint that I had about the Dem convention was our failure to frame the discussion for the expected GOP lies as lies. Rather than saying McCain is a honorable man, we should have framed him as a man who would say anything to win.

    It's been (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:17:37 PM EST
    a week and McCain's "bounce" hasn't faded. It wasn't a bounce. It was a fundamental shift in the dynamics of the race.

    Fundamental Shift... (none / 0) (#24)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:29:28 PM EST
    I agree.  People truly underestimate the impact of the culture wars.  Those who are "passionate" about voting are anti-choice, anti-women (hence the votes against equal pay), anti-evolution, anti-gay, and pro-corporate business.  

    We live in a dream world to believe that the left has passionate voters.  We have cynical voters, who vote when it's a nice day, but not too nice outside.  

    There's not just a fundamental shift in the race, but the US is fundamentally conservative at heart.  Sure there are more registered Democrats, but most of these people just don't care one way or another.  And most of them will be straight-up and say, "Doesn't matter who wins... all politicians are bad".

    It's the Republicans that understand the game.  They can see their agenda at work, and see it slowly making their way through US culture and politics.

    My one hope is that with the coming Republican reign we actually do see them weaken the federal gov't, so that we get more power back to the states.  I'm in a dark blue state -- I almost like to think we're 50 separate countries nowadays -- or at least the west coast, new england, and then the rest  :-)


    Re: fundamental shift... (none / 0) (#66)
    by jccleaver on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:33:19 PM EST
    Those who are "passionate" about voting are anti-choice, anti-women (hence the votes against equal pay), anti-evolution, anti-gay, and pro-corporate business.

    That 2007 equal pay bill was hideous. The more the details of that aren't splayed out for the world to see them, the better.

    No matter how ludicrous the charge of anti-women" actually is in the first place, it's completely suicidal to refer to the McCain-Palin ticket as "anti-women". It sounds like the screeching feminists claiming that Palin isn't really a woman. All it's doing is getting more people PO'd and voting Republican.

    Also, Obama is anti-gay marriage as well. I'm waiting for DKos and the HuffPo to scream that Obama should come out in favor of gay marriage as a means of "shaking up the campaign". (Were he to follow that advice, he'd be finished... CA Prop 8 polling notwithstanding.)

    There's not just a fundamental shift in the race, but the US is fundamentally conservative at heart.  Sure there are more registered Democrats, but most of these people just don't care one way or another.  And most of them will be straight-up and say, "Doesn't matter who wins... all politicians are bad".

    It's the Republicans that understand the game.  They can see their agenda at work, and see it slowly making their way through US culture and politics.

    Might find this interesting: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122125912790430149.html


    Anti-woman... (none / 0) (#82)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 11:59:58 PM EST
    Why can't we call McCain and Palin anti-woman.  I've seen Blacks who literally hate black people.  I mean not like they date white men or like Rock music... I mean literally think Blacks are horrible people, and I'm like, "But you're Black".  And to paraphrase one person, "I cry to sleep over it".

    I'd argue that O.J. Simpson is anti-woman given his history of beating and killing them.  But some might argue that since he's with a new woman every night, he couldn't be anti-woman.

    Simply being a woman, black, gay, or any genetically determined trait doesn't mean that you can't be anti the cultural movement associated with the genetic trait.  

    With all that said, you may have just been speaking about the impact that saying such a thing has on the electorate.  I certainly don't believe swing/right voters are here in enough numbers for it to matter.


    BTW... (none / 0) (#83)
    by BigElephant on Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 12:25:26 AM EST
    Thanks for the link to the article.  Nail... hammer... hit right there.

    Us Dems are so caught up with Obama or Hillary or Biden or Bill.  These names mean darn near nothing.  It's the culture wars, stupid!  (Not talking to you, but the standard KISS studpid  :-))


    That doesnt answer my questionb ecause you (none / 0) (#33)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:51:28 PM EST
    didn't provide anything from which to compare and contrast. Without a metric it's all just rhectoric on your part. I provided at least one in mines. 2004. There are others, and none of them happened as people here and other A list bloggers describe.

    Check (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:07:11 PM EST
    the numbers for white women. There was a 20 point shift toward Obama in that area according to the AP poll iirc.

    That (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:07:44 PM EST
    should be 20 shift toward McCain.

    still not a metric for understanding whether the (none / 0) (#39)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:20:45 PM EST
    bounce is permanent or temporary. which is the question I asked.

    I would (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:49:50 PM EST
    say when the shift is completely in two demographics it is fundamental change. If it was across the board, I would agree that is just a convention bounce.

    What would be a metric for that? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:02:09 PM EST
    Are you sayiing that we can only opine that things will happen exactly as they did in the past? We will find out soon enough. It's not like 52 days is such a really long time.

    I am saying you have no metric at all (none / 0) (#55)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:44:40 PM EST
    mines maybe imperfect, but at least its far better than this is how i feel like many of you are doing here.

    ..and therefore what? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:36:13 PM EST
    and thus why the country is where it is (none / 0) (#76)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:29:06 PM EST
    all opinion, no fact or guage of the facts. mccain isn'tlike bush because no one can remember what bush has said.

    well (none / 0) (#65)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:30:34 PM EST
    He was at 5 on gallup, then 3, now 2.  If you don't call it fading it certainly isnt increasing.

    yeap and the rate of which he both increased (none / 0) (#77)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:31:11 PM EST
    and now is decresing is faster than anything seen in a few cycles. but we aren't suppose to notice that . instead fixate on just the minute to minute like flies without memory.

    First of all (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by JAB on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:26:28 PM EST
    In 2004, the Democratic convention was held a month before the Republican.

    Second, Kerry really received no bounce from the convention.

    Most pollsters estimate a bounce at about 10 days out from the convention, so while Obama is out of any "bounce" range, McCain's range technically ends tomorrow.


    Provide a link to your claims about most pollster (none / 0) (#31)
    by dailygrind on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:49:15 PM EST
    and include where their data is derived. Thanks.

    Is there anyway to (none / 0) (#15)
    by 1jpb on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:21:28 PM EST
    suss out what part of McCain's improvement is based on Palin?

    I think it would be encouraging to know that Palin is responsible for his improvement.

    Otherwise, he's doing better because of his campaign's attacks, manipulations, and lies.  This could be seen as their "trial run" test.  Now the McCain folks know that they can close strong by running two weeks of trash as November approaches.

    This is why I'm not comforted by the folks who say we should wait for the debates.  I'd like to see the BHO folks test some counters NOW.  That way they'll know what works when the McCain folks roll out their closing attacks, manipulations, and lies.

    Or, hopefully McCain is just doing better because of Palin--they can't replicate choosing a VP.

    Suss this out (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:23:38 PM EST
    Attacking Palin has not hurt McCain.

    Maybe it is time to try something different.


    There's (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:28:19 PM EST
    been a huge shift of white women toward McCain.

    seems like a sinking ship (none / 0) (#19)
    by Lil on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:26:26 PM EST
    Hope he can right it soon. Haven't seen anything that is having that effect. The much touted ads were ok, but I don't think it changed the game. The polls seem to be settling now and Dems are left to hope we can still pull this out. I feel like I did with Kerry, just a little less emotional about it for some weird reason.

    Obama just lost Florida (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Fen on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:49:23 PM EST
    Ras just moved Florida from "tossup" to "likely GOP".

    Since when was Florida a tossup? (none / 0) (#85)
    by JoeA on Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 09:37:21 AM EST
    Florida is sinking fast for Obama (none / 0) (#23)
    by JAB on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:28:41 PM EST

    Barack Obama could be on the verge of falling out of contention in Florida.

    Despite spending an estimated $8-million on campaign ads in America's biggest battleground state and putting in place the largest Democratic campaign organization ever in Florida, Obama has lost ground over the summer. Florida has moved from a toss-up state to one that clearly leans toward John McCain, fueling speculation about how much longer the Democratic nominee will continue investing so heavily in the state.

    Obama can still win Florida despite the polling gains McCain has made since naming Sarah Palin his running mate, and there is no sign Obama is pulling back in Florida yet. Far from it. Obama allies say he has about 350 paid staffers in the state and about 50 field offices, including in places not known as fertile ground for Democrats, such as Sun City Center, Lake City and Sebring.

    But for all the attention to Florida from the Obama campaign, there's little tangible evidence it's paying off.

    Florida is not a likely Obama state (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 12:35:29 PM EST
    But he can win without it.

    What (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:08:57 PM EST
    made you change your mind? You were saying that you thought the Palin pick would hurt McCain in FL iirc.

    well (none / 0) (#63)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:27:02 PM EST
    Getting Bill and Hillary down there should do him some good.

    In my estimation, Palin is Hillary's revenge. (none / 0) (#34)
    by BronxFem on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:02:29 PM EST

    not exactly revenge, but (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by rise hillary rise on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:22:02 PM EST
    if Obama had picked Hillary, there is no way that McCain would've chosen Palin. he would've picked Romney or possibly Ridge. then we would have had a compelling visual contrast between the tow tickets, and all of the energy would've been on the side of the Dems.

    a firend of mine emailed me after the Dem convention-he's an enthusiastic Obot and can't get whi I am not. he said >I know that we will have a woman president in our lifetime"-trying to cheer me up I guess. Little did he know it would be sooner than 2016, and that she would be a Republican.


    Wrong... (none / 0) (#44)
    by BigElephant on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:46:15 PM EST
    Dems still lose.  The choice between Biden or Clinton or Richardson or whoever is smoke and mirrors.  Republicans are coming out to vote, period.  Dems are staying home.  Hillary only changes that by .5% at best.  It doesn't change the election.  This is bigger than any single candidate.  This is about the electorate and ideology of the party at a national level.

    well (none / 0) (#62)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:25:16 PM EST
    I'm a clinton voter but I support Obama now.  I think he should have selected Clinton but the race would be apples and oranges at that point.  They certainly had a playbook for Hillary and McCain would be hammering experience (with lieberman) instead of his theme today.. .whatever that is.. being a liar or whatever he's doing.

    More like Karma (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Prabhata on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 01:30:45 PM EST
    Karma = action
    So whatever we do has consequences.

    irony of Palin (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by christinep on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 03:58:47 PM EST
    Life is full of ironies. We keep hearing it; and, as a liberal Democrat for 40 years, I am struck by the irony of it all in Palin's selection.

    but (none / 0) (#61)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:21:46 PM EST
    McCain's lead has shrunk over the past 3 days on gallup. He went from 5 to 3 to 2.  Thats a trend.

    Hopefully that continues.

    Two McCain signs in my neighborhood (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:13:42 PM EST
    No Obama yet.  I'll probably be plagued by my usual dreams around thise time in an election cycle of midnight neighborhood missions, Tracy dressed in black to blend in with the night,  violations using a Sharpie.  There are so many things that a person can remember when they stare at the name McCain, I would like to lead off how the neighborhood revisits those memories.

    What can be done? Obama has been losing since (none / 0) (#75)
    by VicfromOregon on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 06:27:27 PM EST
    mid-March or thereabouts.  He was losing the primary closely and the general election by even greater numbers.  He came in last in the electoral college behind McCain who was second and Hillary who was in first.  In many polls, Hillary was still the preferred candidate AFTER she conceded. Perhaps this race needs to be more about Biden and Palin and less about Obama and McCain in order for the democrats to have a chance to win.

    While "Progressives" might get an inflated sense of their numbers and electoral impact because of their preponderance on the internet, they are still smaller numbers within the general population.  Very little real groundwork has actually been done other than talking to each other through this new medium and creating instant signature response websites that can also generate cash flow. Unfortunately, this may have allowed many to believe in a sphere of influence that simply did not exist sufficiently to "go the distance" - meaning having enough stamina, velocity, and depth and numbers of quality leadership to overcome entrenched obstacles.  

    But, Obama has yet to reveal his leadership within the party.  He can TALK, but he has yet to actually DO - meaning, make a lasting or enduring difference on the ground. The new DNC party bosses thought Obama's cash flow along with all our joy and excitement of overcoming yet another racial barrier for African Americans would be enough, while Clinton supporters said that the candidate needed to also be connected within the party structure.  

    Obama is not connected.  He has primarily bought his way in, not worked long and hard enough for it.  He can motivate and sway.  But he has little experience taking on "tough challenges" beyond self-promotion, thus his less than stellar political voting record and performance. The public might take a shine to him, but his influence within the system in nearly all financial. Nor do many on his campaign staff have the depth needed for the final run.  His administrative presidential advisors do, but not his campaign staff.  If he can become president, they will together create that skill within him.  If...