In a blog post, [Krugman] adds that if Obama "runs this way in the general election -- if it's about the candidate's awesomeness, not about why progressive policies make peoples' lives better -- it's a formula for defeat."
I think Krugman is missing a huge factor here. Obama and Hillary Clinton agree on 95% of the policy issues. That's why their campaigns -- hers has done it, too -- have focused almost entirely on personal differences between them: who can change Washington, who can answer the phone at 3:00 AM, etc. It's also why their discussion of health care has focused mainly on the differences rather than their point of agreement. (On health care, both sides have demagogued, though Obama has demagogued worse.)
But of course Obama isn't going to campaign this way in the general election. Obama already has a (brief) riff on McCain in his stump speeches, and it centers on policy disagreements over Iraq and the Bush tax cuts. Obama isn't going to run a primary campaign centered around opposition to the Bush economic program because that isn't a good reasn to vote for him over Clinton. It is a good reason to vote for him over McCain.
oh, well, I think that is debatable, but I'll certainly give you that point.
but that's not what I took you to be saying: you're talking about how he is going to "pivot" to the center, how he is going to run against McCain. It is true they both must fight hard for those Independents that everybody always maintains will be the deciding factor. But I maintain that given the current landscape of the Bush/Republican clusterfuck, he will pull them to his side by running confidently left-of-center, not centrist.
The strategy reflects a deep-seated belief by Obama and his strategists that the way to win the GE will be to move toward the middle. Obama's went a round-about way of securing the hardcore partisan base that he would need to win the secure the nomination. His post-PA strategy assumes he's got it in the bag, and its time to make the move to the general.
This is absolutely backwards. Obama will be the only Democrat who ran slightly to the right in the primary, and will run to the left in the general.
He will be the nominee, the presumptive leader of the party, so he will be able to run on all Democratic issues with no sniping from his own party. Running a firmly "liberal" campaign on Iraq, the recession, and the disgust at the prospect of a third Bush term will allow him to contrast himself with McCain perfectly. And those three overarching issues will keep independents and even moderate Republicans with him.
I agree his hopeful message has slipped. But as the sole Democrat in the race, he will reenergize that base, register millions more Democrats, and most of the bile will drop away. He will be an even stronger Democrat after this primary.
in addition to being a rather tame allusion to the smoke-filled back rooms of yore, where the bosses called the shots and both made and unmade candidates and presidents, Keith is making a rather funny (in my estimation) reference to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
Unless you are objecting to the very oblique allusion to a possible resemblance between Senator Clinton and Tina Turner, I've got to say I see nothing misogynistic about the comment.
yes it is political bread n butter. But that in itself is a problem.
This phrase: "I will do a better job of keeping you safe than my opponent will."
is no more meaningful than "I will keep you safe." Our politics has devolved to the level of such empty phrases, divorced from any argument or evidence of HOW or WHY one candidate will do a better job than another. One says experience. The other says judgment. And that's all they say. No description of how a specific experience gives you valuable insight into a specific area of policy or defense. No description of how a specific judgment was made, and how that process can be applied to future decisions. (Although I do believe his Iraq prognostications stand as perfectly sound judgment.)
In short: our political culture is mortally impoverished.
Surface and perception are everything in our culture, and so they have become in politics too.
I agree that the ad is a mild form, but it is still accurately described as playing the "politics of fear," which is the well-documented Republican trump card played in every election and Congressional showdown (Protect America Act, anyone?) since 2001.
And for you to equate that with the "fear" that any rational person might have of an effective Bush third term is extraordinarily disingenuous. That "fear" is the deep concern with continuing on the wrong political and economic track, not an actual fear for the country's safety.
Democrats do invoke that fear, when they say that Bush's actions have left America "less safe." But that's as far as any Dem goes, and I doubt they will be cutting ads portraying McCain as a wimp, which is exactly what this ad wants you to think Obama is.
that person on Ambinder's blog was wrong. As you can see from the Gallup graph posted in the comments above, and on every Gallup tracking graph and poll published since they started it in January, the poll "is based on national Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters."