April 8, 2008


The Shape of the Race to Come (WILLIAM KRISTOL, 4/07/08, NY Times)

McCain’s comeback should begin just after Labor Day, on Sept. 4, with a strong acceptance speech at the Republican convention. The presidential debates will also provide an opportunity. Expectations for Obama will be too high, people will forget he isn’t as good a debater as he is a speaker — and McCain could well rise to the occasion.

More fundamental will be the question of the discrepancy between the image of Obama the uniter and the reality of Obama the liberal. That hasn’t been much of a problem for Obama in the Democratic contest, since Clinton hasn’t attacked from the right or even the center.

But Republicans will. Last week, over drinks, one Republican strategist not affiliated with the McCain campaign mused about how an independent advertising effort against Obama might work. “Barack Obama: He’s not who you think he is” would be the theme. The supporting evidence would come from his left-wing voting record in Illinois and Washington, spiced up with fun video clips of Reverend Wright.

Who ultimately wins? In politics, as in life, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Many Republicans I know see the weaknesses of their party and of the McCain campaign all too clearly, and assume Obama will prevail.

But a surprising number of Democrats with whom I’ve spoken expect a McCain victory. One told me he was struck by the current polls showing a dead-even race, suggesting both a surprising openness to McCain among Americans who disapprove of Bush and a striking hesitation among the same voters about Obama.

...Senator Obama would need to have a double digit lead now.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2008 7:40 AM

That suggests McCain is running as the incumbent, does he assume that position as this years GOP nominee?

Posted by: Perry at April 8, 2008 8:31 AM

He's the nominee of the incumbent party, as GHWB and Gore were. They both trailed by wide margins but ended up winning.

Posted by: oj at April 8, 2008 10:38 AM

After all of those overseas visits by Sen. McCain - to Iraq, to meet with foreign leaders, etc. a lot of people are going to think that he already is the president.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 8, 2008 11:07 AM

Sorry, I'm not so complacent. All it would take would be one or two senior moments by McCain during a debate, plus massive Democrat vote fraud in some major cities.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 8, 2008 12:57 PM

Expectations for Obama will be too high, people will forget he isn’t as good a debater as he is a speaker...

Er, by all accounts, he is not even a good speaker but a very good teleprompt reader. He can take over Katie Couric's post after the election.

Posted by: ic at April 8, 2008 1:41 PM