May 12, 2008


Already, Obama and McCain Map Fall Strategies (ADAM NAGOURNEY and JEFF ZELENY, 5/11/08, NY Times)

In a sign of what could be an extremely unusual fall campaign, the two sides said Saturday that they would be open to holding joint forums or unmoderated debates across the country in front of voters through the summer. Mr. Obama, campaigning in Oregon, said that the proposal, floated by Mr. McCain’s advisers, was “a great idea.”

This has the smell of disaster for Senator Obama. His only chance of becoming president was to make it to November on nothing but the gossamer image that he and the adoring media had crafted. Every time he speaks without a script or a fact about who he really is makes it to the surface he loses ground. The exposure this would bring is way to high a risk to almost no potential reward, unless Maverick actually had a stroke during one of the debates..

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2008 8:06 PM

I will argue once again that you misapprehend the quality of Obama's strategists.

While your critiques of Obama are accurate, you miss the fact that he is well-aware of all the same insights.

He is playing for keeps. Win or lose these Town halls, he is building something.

His team knows that he has the help of;

* The media elite (who will downplay every shortcoming)
* Scads of cash from interests across the globe (who McCain stupidly strengthened with his idiotic McFein bill)
* Republican idiocy (in the form of a moronic leadership and Bush indifference or incompetence)
* Luck (possibly bad economy and failing "Surge")

If there was ever a year where Obama could pull it off, this is it. That is why he ran. If he loses, he runs for IL Gov, and tries again.

To the extent which McCain relies on "conventional politics" is the extent to which he is in grave danger.

Obama isn't a lock, but he is no way another Dukakis.

Posted by: Bruno at May 12, 2008 9:59 PM

Good points, but I think "another Dukakis" means losing in a landslide (quite possible), not running the same campaign. But I agree there is a chance he could beat McCain. I'm worried about all these fired-up naifs, "educated" in politics and economics by our public schools, who have no idea why the president can't fix every problem, and think the US isn't socialist enough.

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 12, 2008 10:49 PM

Democrats only get one shot. The GOP is the hierarchical party. Blowing this one will be especially deadly.

Posted by: oj at May 12, 2008 10:53 PM

Yes, if Obama loses this time, the party will turn on him and the fissures will split open further. The nutroots will scream and whine, and the party pros will just shake their heads. Begala will celebrate his smackdown, and Donna Brazile might just become a Republican. Or a nun. And Hillary will be there, looming.

However, Obama cannot continue to duck all the 'reformishness' of McCain, not without seeming to be weak or compromised. Especially since McCain is almost always available to the press, and answers all questions at town hall meetings.

One question to Obama about murdering live babies and he'll have to become Catholic to make the mess go away.

Posted by: ratbert at May 13, 2008 12:05 AM

I hope McCain doesn't give Obama inevitability by agreeing to debate him before either of them has been even declared the candidate of their party. McCain has nothing to gain and should wait until the convention in September to name his vice-presidential choice and only after everything's official, start the campaign in earnest. Who knows what will happen at the Democratic convention or the Republican one for that matter. Ron Paul and Bob Barr are said to be planning some mischief.

Why should McCain waste his energy and money keeping Obama in the spotlight all summer. We'll have the Olympics to amuse us. That should be enough.

Posted by: erp at May 13, 2008 7:19 AM

Bruno sez: "If there was ever a year where Obama could pull it off, this is it. That is why he ran. If he loses, he runs for IL Gov, and tries again."

I actually think this has it very wrong. I don't think he had any chance to knock off Hillary (who did?). But by running he could get some more publicity, then he could decline to run again (the word has always been that he (or his wife?) doesn't really like being a Senator) and go for IL gov or some other non-Washington position. That would perfectly position him for a future run, since he'd be able to say that he was in DC but left it because it's so disfunctional, and would give him some actual job experience. But instead he caught fire and got the nomination, but he's still completely unelectable, and will never get another shot at it.

Posted by: b at May 13, 2008 11:09 AM

Political idealogy means nothing in this race compared to the -potential- for Obama votes.

He is "cool" so if enough mushbrains come out to vote, its over. Fortunately, most mushbrains are too cool to vote.

Posted by: Perry at May 13, 2008 11:12 AM