Thursday September 11, 2008
The McCain campaign have had a great 2 weeks. The polls tighten up, the focus shifts from Palin’s appeal to why the Obama people haven’t successfully countered. Here’s a shot from Howard Fineman, which struck me as not bad.
I’ve been wondering about the wisdom of the decision to waive public campaign financing.
Also, the criticism that Obama needs to have a “sweeping, but concrete, policy idea” is interesting. For one thing, Obama does have such an idea: tax cuts for 95% of the income distribution, tax hikes for the top end (might help to indicate a little more firmly where that cut point is). Reagan had “government as the problem, not the solution” (a line which I think was not used until Reagan’s inauguration speech, by the way) and “we’re not going to treat the Soviets as if they are 10 feet tall”. Clinton in 92: universal health care? But how concrete do you need to be when 80% of the country is saying the country is on the wrong track.
I tend to think the bigger thing in the campaign of the last week is that (a) the Obama campaign weren’t expecting Palin, just in the same way that the Clinton’s weren’t expecting to be campaigning after Super Tuesday, and appeared to have had no strategy, and seemed to take a while to get a new game plan; (b) the Republicans are generally playing a very good media strategy, being very aggressive with even the tiniest misstep or rhetorical infelicity from Obama or Biden, filling up the day’s news cycle and blog space with counter claims, counter-counter-claims re Palin, and new ads etc, keeping both the media and the Obama campaign away from the messages that Obama would like to keep out there.
The debates will be an interesting circuit breaker to the current dynamic. Indeed, for this reason, the McCain campaign might not mind more “static” re Palin (“troopergate”, Creationism, pro-life, taking a state per diem while living in her own house, etc); as long as its about Palin, its not about the economy, Iraq, America’s standing in the world, etc… and they can talk about liberal media bias, Palin as conservative martyr, etc.
And an observation re Electoral College math: is Colorado the new Ohio?
Update: Obama last night on Letterman re lipstick on a pig.