Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

WP: Ambushed by History


Henry

Recommended Posts

In my opinion this article pretty much hits the nail on the head about how the Presidential election has gone so far.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/marxism_101.html

The diverging political fortunes of Barack Obama and McCain can be traced to a single moment. In the middle of September, the net favorable rating for each candidate was about the same. By Oct. 7, Obama was ahead on this measure by about 16 points. Did McCain suddenly become a stumbling failure? No, the world suddenly went into an economic slide. Americans blamed the party with executive power, which is also the party most closely tied in the public mind to bankers and Wall Street. None of this was fair to McCain, who has never been the Wall Street type. But party images are vivid, durable and almost impossible to shift on short notice.

Previous to this economic free fall -- and after his transformative vice presidential choice -- McCain was about tied in a race he should have been losing by a large margin. The public clearly had questions about Obama's leadership qualities. But the McCain campaign also proved itself capable of constructing an effective narrative: Obama as lightweight celebrity, McCain as maverick reformer. Until history intervened.

Following the onset of the crisis, McCain was left with flawed options. He reasonably chose to work for a responsible bailout while hoping the markets would stabilize quickly. Instead, the bailout proved politically unpopular and the markets gyrated like the ****cat Dolls. Then McCain raised Obama's past association with William Ayers -- a valid attack if properly raised. (Can anyone doubt that the past political association of McCain with a right-wing terrorist would attract some attention?) But this accusation naturally looks small compared to the nation's outsized economic fears.

Obama's task has been easier. He needs only to ride a historical current instead of fighting it. And this plays to his greatest political strength: the easy, laid-back, self-assurance of a 1940s crooner. During the financial crisis Obama has contributed nothing of note or consequence. His only recent accomplishment has been to say questionable things in the debates -- attacking Republicans and capitalism for a credit meltdown congressional Democrats helped to cause, blaming America for Iran's nuclear ambitions, talking piously about genocide prevention when his own early Iraq policies might have resulted in genocide -- all while sounding supremely reassuring and presidential.

Obama's current success is not enjoyable for conservatives. But this does not make McCain an incompetent. Maybe he is a great man running at the most difficult of times.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a fair article, but McCain is more responsible for his demise that just what the article states, IMO. There are two things that I think ultimately McCain can kick himself for: 1) the comment that the "fundamentals of our economy is strong" was perhaps bad timing (or bad luck), but at the point people already were struggling and he didn't seem to care until wall street got into trouble; and 2) the suspending the campaign was ridiculous. It looked ridiculous to Americans, and then no results even came from it.

Those two things are something McCain can blame himself for, and MAY ultimately be the nail in the coffin for him.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Where does his pick of VP come in?

I thought it was a pretty terrible pick. But as '88 proved, bad VP picks don't usually sway elections.

I just think that at this point there's not much McCain can do, or could have done. The economy is an anchor around his neck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
By late September, the VP pick issue had been mitigated by the right's incredible enthusiasm for her.

Actually, I think that has hurt with a lot of independents. I think the new CBS poll showed that that was listed as the number 2 reason independents did not like McCain.

But, it does make me realize something else about McCain's campaign that he can blame on himself... in the primary, he spent the time running as a more moderate republican, but republicans didn't like that. So, in the general, he has been running to the base. Its a backwards strategy. Most strategists will say you build the base in the primaries and then run to the middle in the general. And its indicative of exactly the results we are seeing. Moderates and independents are leaving him that were there before. Just a thought.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I read Gerson this morning, disagree on a few points.

Previous to this economic free fall -- and after his transformative vice presidential choice -- McCain was about tied in a race he should have been losing by a large margin.

The only time McCain was running even was during his convention bounce-a consistent polling bounce that can be traced back to almost every campaign for the last 40 years averaging 6 points or so. Before that McCain was losing, and after that he is losing. When people found out more about Sarah Palin her approval ratings tanked and so did his. Gerson is blaming it all on the economy, but it seems to me Obama was in pretty good shape before that.

(Can anyone doubt that the past political association of McCain with a right-wing terrorist would attract some attention?)

Yes. Without a doubt. McCain sat on the board of an organization that supported the contras. Palin and her husband speak positively about an organization that wants Alaska to succeed from the union, and their founder openly hates the USA, and they were supported by Iran.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, I think that has hurt with a lot of independents. I think the new CBS poll showed that that was listed as the number 2 reason independents did not like McCain.

But, it does make me realize something else about McCain's campaign that he can blame on himself... in the primary, he spent the time running as a more moderate republican, but republicans didn't like that. So, in the general, he has been running to the base. Its a backwards strategy. Most strategists will say you build the base in the primaries and then run to the middle in the general. And its indicative of exactly the results we are seeing. Moderates and independents are leaving him that were there before. Just a thought.

That's an interesting thought. I have to admit that the Palin pick, and McCain's move to the right in general, has contributed to my waning support for him. But the fact that he did so during a ginormous financial crisis isn't helping either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What has happened over the last month is simple.

McCain's campaign has been based on his responsible, level-headed leadership forged by hard experience. And he would contrast this to Obama's youth and inexperience.

Then two things happened:

1. The Economic meltdown hit and McCain behaved like an absolute maniac. First, saying the fundamentals of the economy are good. Then suspending his campaign because the crisis was so big. Then Promising to broker a deal that failed. Calling for the firing of the SEC head for no apparent reason. Then dropping a proposal in the middle of a debate that no one could really understand at first because it sounded just like the bill that had just been passed.

Meanwhile, Obama looked calm, cool, and collected. One looked Presidential. One looked like your crazy uncle ranting at Thanksgiving.

2. The bloom came off the Palin rose in a hurry. She's still a hit with the ever-shrinking Republican base. But to the rest of the country, she started looking like an ill-advised, poorly vetted choice made out of desperation by a candidate who clearly wanted to pick someone else.

And again, the question is: Who looks more ready to lead? Obama who picked Joe Biden - a man who despite his many flaws could become President in a crisis and not scare the living daylights out of you. Or McCain who picked someone he clearly had never even had a conversation with prior to the Convention and who doesn't seem to have the capacity to be President under any circumstances.

You can't base your campaign on "Leadership" and then display bad leadership.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly the economic collapse helped Obama. But it only did so to the extent that it forced voters to look past the typical GOP attacks and stay focused on the issues. Had voters trusted McCain more on the economy, he'd be ahead by perhaps 15-20 points. Furthermore, the article fails to discuss the ironic fact that had McCain not had to "sell out" to win the nomination, his claims of "mavericky-ness" would have held water. Instead, he got caught in his flip-flops on tax cuts and deregulation.

This article also pointedly ignores Obama's impressive campaign and amounts to nothing more than a rationalization of the expected McCain loss. It doesn't metion at all the fact that Obama has out-campaigned, out-fundraised, out-strategized and most importantly, out-organized McCain.

In short, this article was so slanted I had to turn my monitor 90 degrees to the left just to read it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
That's an interesting thought. I have to admit that the Palin pick, and McCain's move to the right in general, has contributed to my waning support for him. But the fact that he did so during a ginormous financial crisis isn't helping either.

It's a badly run campaign in a year where the Republican brand is as weak as it has ever been. So, McCain was always fighting uphill.

In all honesty, though, who would be a better candidate for the Repubs right now?

Venture capitalist Romney? It would be tough for a walking example of a Wall Street Fat Cat to run in this environment?

Moralist Huckabee? He's further to the Left than Obama on economics and further to the Right than Palin on social issues. His campaign would be a muddled mess right.

Grandpa Thompson? "Hi. I'm old and lazy and that's what America needs right now"

Rudy? All he could do is run the same campaign McCain is running (Obama is DANGEROUS!!) except without the charm and without the social conservatives.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Certainly the economic collapse helped Obama. But it only did so to the extent that it forced voters to look past the typical GOP attacks and stay focused on the issues. Had voters trusted McCain more on the economy, he'd be ahead by perhaps 15-20 points. Furthermore, the article fails to discuss the ironic fact that had McCain not had to "sell out" to win the nomination, his claims of "mavericky-ness" would have held water. Instead, he got caught in his flip-flops on tax cuts and deregulation.

This article also pointedly ignores Obama's impressive campaign and amounts to nothing more than a rationalization of the expected McCain loss. It doesn't metion at all the fact that Obama has out-campaigned, out-fundraised, out-strategized and most importantly, out-organized McCain.

In short, this article was so slanted I had to turn my monitor 90 degrees to the left just to read it.

Again, it's really a matter of leadership.

You can criticize Obama for his lack of experience all you want.

But he out-strategized the two best Democratic politicians since the 60s in the primary.

And he has out-campaigned the one Republican who the media loved and who has been running for President for 8 years.

And he apparently has not broken a sweat while doing it.

There have been dozens of upstart candidates like Obama over the years. And nearly all of flame out eventually because of rash decisions or inherent flaws in their campaigns. (Gene McCarthy, Wallace, McGovern, Hart, Buchanan, Perot, Dean, etc.).

Name three mistakes Obama has made in this campaign since January. You would be hard-pressed to find them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Name three mistakes Obama has made in this campaign since January. You would be hard-pressed to find them.

I've said this before, I don't know if this is because its the first year, I've really paid attention to how the campaigns are being run, but I find out hard to believe that intelligent people are running these things.

Obama has had plenty of mistakes. The McCain campaing in general as been run in such in incompetent manner that its laughable.

In terms of Hillary, she had substantial problems that made it unlikely she ever would be President. She had negatives over 50% (e.g. 50% of the peoples in polls would say they wouldn't vote for her), she always had this at least percieved problem with connecting with people (something she actually seemed to fix towards the end of the primaries, which will make her a much more formidable opponent in the future). I think it was always pretty clear there would be an anti-Hillary candidate that would have a good chance of winning the nomination.

Obama did do a good job of getting himself in position to be that person, but that was done long ago w/ his anti-Iraq war speech.

Obama mistakes:

1. Biden (note, if the McCain could (or was any good) his vote on changing bankrupcy laws would be a big deal, which would make this even worse of pick, and it was a bad pick before).

2. Saying he couldn't disown Wright, and then turn around and doing it (Talking in absolutes is bad if you don't have to. Obama has done it several times. This is just the more notable one.).

3. Using the just words theme, w/o mentioning that it had already been used by another politician (20 years ago that would have been the death of his campaign.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
In my opinion this article pretty much hits the nail on the head about how the Presidential election has gone so far.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/marxism_101.html

Ambush? Ambush? where is the accountability in ambush? Like the Republicans are the victem of a cosmic conspiracy. Just bending over to drink from a fountain, minding their own business and whack, thwack, bash... they're Ambushed.

I disagree completely... This article paints the picture like that scene from casablanca where Louie says, "I'm shocked, shocked to find their's gambling going on here", and is then handed his winnings...

The problem with this article from my perspective is a lot of folks have been calling out Bush for a long time as not being conservative, fiscally reckless, and bad for the country. Folks who have long been associated with the Republican party....

This article says "ambush".... Like it's a great suprise or hapanstance of "history" that all this is occurring. Another way to look at this is, Bush is a fool, has always been a fool, and now most of the folks in the country realize the party which nominated him is full of fools after they've screwed us and our backs are against the wall.

Note I don't say conservatives, but Republicans.

Notable Conservatives and former Republicans who have now endorsed Obama for President..

  • JMS.
  • Jim Web ( now D senator from virginia. )..
  • David Brooks
  • George Will
  • William Kriston (neocon ****)
  • Christopher Buckley (resigned from national review today because he endorsed Obama).
  • Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, Republican from Maryland

This wasn't an "ambush" by history. This was Lincolns old parable coming to fruition...

You can fool most of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool most of the people all of the time..

This is not an ambush... This is called accountability..

Link to post
Share on other sites
On topic, the McCain campaign has been horribly run. He was going to lose before the economy tanked. With the tanking economy, he's going to get blown out.

I disagree, McCain was ahead in the polls shortly after the GOP convention. McCain's campagne was pretty well run. They just didn't have much to run with....

It's hard to run your campagne as an agent of change when you are the incombent party and your candidate has voted with Bush 90% of the time. More than 90% of the time in the four years of his second term.

McCain lost this election when he decided to pander to Bush's base and turn away from indepenents in 2004. When he decided to reverse himself on all of his principled stances which made him the darling of independent minded fiscal conservatives and independents in general and bring himself in line with Bush.

McCain spent four years running towards Bush, enableing his policies, and spent three months running against him as an agent of change; and in the end the country just didn't believe him anymore.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Obama mistakes:

1. Biden (note, if the McCain could (or was any good) his vote on changing bankrupcy laws would be a big deal, which would make this even worse of pick, and it was a bad pick before).

2. Saying he couldn't disown Wright, and then turn around and doing it (Talking in absolutes is bad if you don't have to. Obama has done it several times. This is just the more notable one.).

3. Using the just words theme, w/o mentioning that it had already been used by another politician (20 years ago that would have been the death of his campaign.)

I just don't agree that Biden is a bad choice. People like Biden, especially the folks who Obama was struggling with the most at the time, small town white people. But most of all, Biden brings undisputed foreign policy credentials and he's the type of guy who is going to let Obama know when he disagrees. Good from a Governance standpoint, good from an electoral standpoint.

I get your point about the bankruptcy vote, but lets face it, every Senator can be linked to a few unpopular votes one way or another. Regular folks don't do so well with parsing the nuances of financial legislation. They're more likely to grasp the slogans like deregulation etc.

I agree with your second point but I just don't think it's a big deal. Saying he couldn't disown Wright was indeed a mistake, but perhaps he didn't really know the extent of the insane political views of the guy. When nhe found out, he changed his mind.

The just words theme speech was given while the guy who invented that theme was standing right next to him. That guy has been part of Obama's campaign staff since day one. It's no different than Sarah Palin or John McCain not crediting their speech writers during the speech. In fact this is a strong point for Obama seeing as how he writes some of his own speeches including the ones that brought him to prominence.

I just don't see how anyone could think Obama has run anything less than a brilliant campaign. The guy out organized Hillary Clinton who has had key players in place for over a decade, loyalists who owe their careers to her and her husband. He is currently beating a POW who is easily the best Republican candidate since 1984.

I do think McCain has made some enormous mistakes, Palin being 1a on that list. But also that stunt about dodging the debate, and this nonsense about smears at a time when Americans are not in the mood for smears. Not to mention the multitude of just plain stupid comments by staffers, including saying this campaign is not about issues, or that they want to turn the page on the economy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2. Saying he couldn't disown Wright, and then turn around and doing it (Talking in absolutes is bad if you don't have to. Obama has done it several times. This is just the more notable one.).

To be fair, Wright didn't leave him much choice after he called out Obama very publicly. I give him a lot of credit for sticking up for him as long as possible, because disowning him earlier would had seem ingenuine considering the long association with his church. At least he did it when he had do and not because it was just politically expedient.

Jason

Link to post
Share on other sites
To be fair, Wright didn't leave him much choice after he called out Obama very publicly. I give him a lot of credit for sticking up for him as long as possible, because disowning him earlier would had seem ingenuine considering the long association with his church. At least he did it when he had do and not because it was just politically expedient.

Jason

I don't have a problem with not disowning him earlier. The problem was talking in absolutes, 'I CAN'T disown him.' You find a way to make the point w/o the absolute.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have a problem with not disowning him earlier. The problem was talking in absolutes, 'I CAN'T disown him.' You find a way to make the point w/o the absolute.

That's a good point. Seems to me Obama made a far bigger mistake when he said he would accept public financing if his opponent did.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I just don't agree that Biden is a bad choice. People like Biden, especially the folks who Obama was struggling with the most at the time, small town white people. But most of all, Biden brings undisputed foreign policy credentials and he's the type of guy who is going to let Obama know when he disagrees. Good from a Governance standpoint, good from an electoral standpoint.

1. There's no evidence that small town white people like Biden. The Obama campaign has tried to push it, but there's no evidence its true. He doesn't have a history of doing well in primaries with small town white people.

2. Assuming McCain had picked somebody reasonable as VP, having Biden just emphasizes Obama's lack of experience.

3. Biden's foreign policy credentials are actually not that strong (he voted against the first Gulf War, and then turned around and voted for this one. If McCain had somebody that actually carry the water there, they'd actually attack Biden on that).

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have a problem with not disowning him earlier. The problem was talking in absolutes, 'I CAN'T disown him.' You find a way to make the point w/o the absolute.

Pete, what you are labeling as mistakes by Obama are not so much mistakes as they are obsticals which Obama sucessfully navigated, even shined in some instances.

Obama's speech after the Wright obsticle first appeared was one of the all time great speeches in American history. Reagan would have had a hard time topping that one.

Disavowing Wright after he started speaking out nationally showed Obama was a strong leader and could make the hard decisions, even cut throat decisions when they became necessary.

The "plagerism" scandal was just bogus from the start. The governor of Massachussets who Obama "plagerized" the line from is Obama's campagne manager and gave him the lines.

And of Coarse the Biden nomination can be viewed in two lights. It didn't give Obama the bump which Palin gave McCain and in that light it was a mistake. But 90% of even the Republicans say Biden is prepared to be President. You can look at the pick as Obama picking someone who was very credentialed to step in if something happens to Obama. By that light the Biden pick is another sucess..

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a registered republican, I can say that the choice was clear for McCain or Ron Paul early in the Primaries. The others were not viable candidates for various reasons. McCain looked and sounded like he always has while in Congress and the Senate. At that point, my 3 issues with him can be summed up as:

1. His concession on the Torture Bill to the President. How a man who was subjected to torture himself could fold on that is beyond me.

2. His Age/health are still of concern, especially now in light of his VP Choice. This country absolutely requires consistent focus at the leadership position. He already looks old and tired at this point.

3. His clear disconnection with the American public in terms of how he thinks about the economy, taxes, and in leading the way forward to better times. His insistence on the (now) twice failed "trickle down" approach is maddening. His clear innability to relate to the average Joe or Jane (High ranking military family upbringing and then married to wealth- and hey, that's cool with me) doesn't put him in the position to know what it feels like to decide what to pay for during the month, or understand how it feels to watch your life savings drain away or get stolen by rich people (e.g. Enron).

I do think those things are contributing heavily still against him, and now he is struggling to control an "out of control" campaign, that is further dragging his leadership credentials through the mud.

As noted, Obama hasn't had to do too much to stay in and increase his lead, but I want and need more from a candidate than he has been able to give. I don't believe he can stand up to the more radical left in his own party when the chips are down, and we have already allowed socialism to nearly swallow us as a country (omg, I sound like MSF). I just can't go there anymore.

A good article, and a good set of postings in here via the rational discussion route.

Link to post
Share on other sites

JMS, I don't disagree with you about the GOP. The point of the article is not to paint them as victims. It's about McCain. Given the circumstances, there is no way he could win this election, so to say he's losing because he's personally run a bad campaign isn't exactly accurate. That's the point. Not that the GOP doesn't deserve some backlash.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Biden (note, if the McCain could (or was any good) his vote on changing bankrupcy laws would be a big deal, which would make this even worse of pick, and it was a bad pick before).

2. Saying he couldn't disown Wright, and then turn around and doing it (Talking in absolutes is bad if you don't have to. Obama has done it several times. This is just the more notable one.).

3. Using the just words theme, w/o mentioning that it had already been used by another politician (20 years ago that would have been the death of his campaign.)

I think you missed the campaign's biggest mistakes:

1. Saying "they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion." This mistake fueled Hillary's comeback, and made the Pennsylvania and West Virginia primaries unwinnable.

2. Saying he would sit down and talk with Ahmadinejad and others during the YouTube debate. He has been backtracking from that statement ever since, and he has been called out on it in every single debate by everyone from Biden to Clinton and McCain.

3. Michelle Obama saying "For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I'm Really Proud of My Country." That statement helped resurrect Hillary's campaign from the dead, and Palin is still using it on the stump today.

Obama has made plenty of mistakes, but he has done a lot more right than he has done wrong. Nobody runs an absolutely perfect campaign, but the question is whether you can overcome your mistakes. Obama has been able to do that much better than Clinton or McCain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...