1. I’ve been up in Northern Virginia visiting. I had the opportunity to talk to some experts and read print versions of the WASHINGTON POST and the WASHINGTON TIMES. Both those papers are always very informative, and I gotta say the POST is the most genuinely fair-and-balanced paper in the country.
2. The POST’s new poll has Obama up 50 to 42, which is his largest margin yet. The reason: Huge advantages when it comes to the economy. The economy, for obvious reasons, is quickly emerging as the issue for the campaign. Bernake etc. all seem all to agree that growth will continue to slow and inflation will continue to grow, at least through the election. The issue: Which candidate can deal better with STAGFLATION? Two pro-Barack conclusions: He CARES more about the economy, and he is more likely to provide CHANGE.
3. Obama and McCain are about even, or Mac has a slight edge, when it comes to foreign policy, security etc. But right now such issues aren’t that important with the voters. The POST did have an incisive editorial complaining that Barack’s Iraq policy doesn’t really taken into account our recent successes there. He conveys the impression that he might cut and run on the cusp of victory, or at least tolerable stablity.
4. I saw part of McCain’s NAACP speech waiting for my flight at Dulles. That isn’t the best venue for enjoyment. I agree with Joe that the content was fine and showed competence on a domestic issue--education--of interest to all Americans. But I have to add that it reads somewhat better than it sounded. It wasn’t an eloquent address, although it might turn out to have been effective as the first of many efforts to counter eloquence with competence.
5. All the experts seem to agree that the VP picks, although they make for interesting gossip for slow summer news days, will make very little difference.
6. People feel particularly AT RISK right now. Their WHINE is not that we’re in something like a recession, but that this isn’t a normal recession, but something new. Their retirement plans, for example, are more dependent on the stock market’s performance than ever, and the thought is floating everywhere that we may be entering a 10-year period when the market doesn’t easily beat inflation. It goes without saying I have no idea whether or not this is true. My job is easy and usually fun, so I don’t mind working until I drop. But most Americans, with good reason, don’t feel the same way.
7. So Mac’s appeal to an AT RISK population has to begin with the thought that an ALL DEMOCRATIC government (given the failed policies of the past) is very RISKY BUSINESS. Most people know well enough that they can’t really be saved by government bailouts. But the Sam’s Club swing voters--the key to carrying the crucial swing states--have a right to know that government will be orienting itself to helping families do their indispensable jobs in the emerging more individualistic social/economic environment.