Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Hyperventilation Treatment (UPDATE with VIDEO!!)

The highly dubious Zogby Poll is out showing McCain with a slight edge over Obama for the first time. Now all the liberals, democrats, and progressives are in a dither. "Attack!! Attack!! Attack!!", "Fight back!!", "Go negative!!". It's all really quite expected. The more I think about what I wrote yesterday about the "rope-a-dope" strategy - and like Ali's use of it against Foreman, it is a dangerous strategy, designed for the long haul - the more I think the analogy is apt.

Then, there is this (yes, it is quite long and detailed, but read the whole thing and digest it):
Obama has a 3:1 lead in field offices, behind in only one battleground state (Florida). His edge in voter contacts - knocking on doors and making phone calls - is maybe 35:1, and that's probably an extremely conservative estimate.


So that's the bet - that Obama can enlarge the core Democratic demographics' percentage of the electorate enough to just overwhelm McCain with numbers. And as Chris Bowers notes, a victory with that coalition could have a galvanizing effect. I truly believe that the coalition Obama is building is more progressive than he is, or than he chooses to be, and the infrastructure is in place to pressure him as President, leveraging all of this support from the grassroots, the millions of people that will be out on the ground on Election Day, to push for a sensible progressive agenda.

One of the biggest whines about liberals and Democrats is that they have not done enough to take the momentum from the popularity and success of various liberal politicians and build a serious progressive coalition. Now, Obama is doing just that through voter registration and voter contact, and these same people are whining because he isn't calling out John McCain on his various lies and ridiculousness. With friends like these . . .

One of the things to remember is that, in all likelihood, Obama (using that rope-a-dope analogy again) will point out that McCain is limiting himself by playing to his obvious strengths - his support among big media pundits and the kind of traditional, character assassination ads that Republicans have used so effectively in the past. Like the kind of thing McCain is trying right now - the whole "celebrity" angle - using Obama's alleged strengths against him, I think Obama will turn around and hit McCain with. My guess is he is hoping that the dividends from such a presentation will pay off bigger returns; my hunch is, he's probably right.

Again, the conventions haven't even been held. In 1996, during the summer doldrums, Bob Dole not only pulled even with, but briefly passed, Bill Clinton in various tracking polls (with a big bump after naming Jack Kemp as his running mate). At this point, the polls really don't mean much; even the spring/summer polls showing Obama with a slight edge were meaningless. While the press has been all over this race for over a year and a half, the American people, quite sensibly, have been living their lives. This fall is soon enough for them to get to know the candidates and make up their minds. My own sense is that Obama will surprise everyone - even me.

PS: While I was writing this and getting all my links together, David Kurtz put this up at TPM. Jesus-Please-Us. For weeks, all these liberal concern-trolls were demanding that Obama go after McCain's recklessness on foreign policy matters; they even went so far as to point out in detail how McCain's response to the dust-up in Georgia was a wonderful case-study in his unfitness for the Presidency. Now, some of Obama's people are doing just that and Kurtz is wondering if it's such a good idea. Apparently, these people are so flummoxed, they don't even realize he is taking some good advice they have been offering for a while.

UPDATE: Now that's what I'm talking about . . .

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