Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Momentum Has Switched

...I put the email I got below up as fodder for discussion. But I still agree with me. The convention bump is over, Sarah has plateaued or is fading slightly, and the focus on the struggling economy will, on balance, favor Obama. Note, today, that the studies now show Obama with ( a narrow, of course) lead, and Intratrading has shifted back to him. Charlie Cook has some reasonable thoughts on why current trends no longer favor McCain-Palin. I’m sticking with my view that McCain has to engage the Democrats on domestic issues--displaying not only his character but his competence.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Peter, go ahead and vote for Obama; no one here will stop you.

Peter, if you would like McCain to win, let's be a bit more positive. Perhaps a blog on what a selfish tightwad Joe Biden is???

A full week of unprecedented attacks upon McCain, and especially Palin.

I noted this last night, that Palin's favourables were falling, when there was nothing other to attribute it to but the vicious smears going on.

Palin is being absolutely smeared, and it's hurting.

When Obama, in a panic, comes out and calls her a pig, Republicans and Conservative noteworthies shy away from coming to the only rational explanation, that he was in a panic and lashed out at a woman who represents an existential threat to the whole Dem/media coalition.

All of those people suggesting that a "backlash" would occur were dead wrong.

GW was smeared, and there was no backlash. His effectiveness as a President was effectively smashed by the attacks upon him.

Now Palin is similarly bieng attacked, and there isn't going to be some backlash to save Republicans.

Obama has a host of issues upon which he's vulnerable, and upon those issues he needs to be attacked.

The answer is simple.

Go after Obama. And stop providing excuses rationalizing away his viciousness.

Every elected office he sought and won, he did so by smears and backroom maneuvers. And this one isn't going to be much different.

One thing more, Governor Palin needs NEW MATERIAL. She is being held to the same Convention speech that she delivered weeks ago, and has been repeating on the stump. Draft her a hard-hitting speech on energy, energy issues and energy independence. The McCain campaign is wasting her, holding her down by insisting she deliver the same old, same old. Her advantage is freshness, but if she continues saying the same things, she'll rapidly seem stale.

Her attacks upon Obama told. But she hasn't gone after him, as she did at the Convention. She needs to deftly go after him.

PETER isn't going to vote for Obama.

But he's apt to indulge an unwarranted despondency when it comes to the GOP's chances for the Fall.

The other day he used the French, THE FRENCH as a character reference on the issue of defeatism. I mean come on! Or Sacre Bleu!

The Democrats only won a single close election since 1968, and that was Carter in 1976. If this is close, then Obama will lose. He can't have a 1 point lead in Pennsylvania and hold it. He has to have 3 to 4 points easy. We saw that play itself out during the recent Dem primaries, where he consistently polled higher than his actual returns.

It's true that GW has done untold damage to the GOP. I'm well aware of that. But not enough to enable Obama to eke out a narrow victory.

Exactly right.

Dr. Lawler,

The convention bump probably is over, but that's to be expected. The surprise is that McCain is running even with Obama at this point in time, despite all of the disadvantages for the Republicans. And I'm not at all convinced that the economy as a big issue is a net gain for Obama. The public doesn't trust him anymore than they trust McCain on this issue. In fact, if the focus on the economy makes it the most important domestic issue, and they split support on it, and McCain wins handily on national security, then it's probably a net gain for McCain.

Peter: You may be right on these matters. Certainly the bump had to become a plateau. But, things are not rosy for Obama--as in it may just be anybody's game. Take the report that Obama is abandoning Virginia for Pennsylvania.

And now Minnesota is in play. None of this was expected. McCain may have lost a bump, but Obama has no momentum.

I think Dan is right here, let Palin go out there and fight and attack like the hocky-mom-pit-bull. Also let her add to the ticket, not be constrained by it and make her message get old fast. Yes, new material... and get her to make a whole line up of mini-mp4 video clips about issues and topics of concern and get them on the web. Flood the web with her. Have stories out about her and her family out there before the MSM do their knife act. Yes the smere is in and there is no natural force of blacklash, the only blacklash is that what the forces of reaction can energize and create. Blacklash requires agency and an agent to create it.

McCain is going to have a hard time selling his character and judgement as a strong point on the economy for several reasons.

1. The parts of his resume that people most admire also lead people to trust him most on foreign policy. Most people just don't see how his courage as a POW and supporting the surge automatically translate into economic expertise or even sound judgement.

2. One of the things that make McCain so reassuring on foreign policy is his ability to speak with authority and conviction. Whether you liked or didn't like McCain's position on Georgia, he came across like a commander in chief. McCain just looks uncomfortable talking about the economy.

3. When people are having a hard time economically, empathy goes a long way politcally (regardless of whether it should). Obama, McCain, and Phil Gram have conspired to make McCain look out of touch on people's economic struggles.

4. The federal rescues of the Wall Street firms is going to have a scrambling effect on our ideological politics. It can look like the government is providing a generous safety net for big business while demanding rugged individualism from the rest of us. That would be a fatal impression for economic conservatism and McCain has to doubly explain his economic program in populist terms. That is going to take more skill than McCain has demonstrated.

5. McCain just looks phoney when he explains his flip flops on the Bush tax cuts.

6. McCain's tax cuts are geared towards business in a year when they key persuadable voters will see no direct benefits from the tax cuts and have reason to doubt the judgement of the business community.

But all is not lost. Among other reasons, Obama is actually vulnerable to the charge that he is an ally of crooked pols (Chicago) and crooked big business (Fannie and Freddie). When it comes to the economy, McCain has to paint Obama as the Democratic Party version of the status quo that is standing against the REAL CHANGE FOR THE PEOPLE of the McCain/Palin ticket. Its possible. Barely.

pete is right again. it's barely possible for mccain, but obama is actually surging, according to the data released tonight.

9: Pete, yes, you couldn't be more right. 10: I'd amend Professor Lawler's point to say that our chances CAN be better than "barely possible" -- IF McCain develops a strong, simple and popular economic message AND badly dents Obama's general credibility. This would allow McCain to, as someone said, fight to a "draw" on the economy
and therefore make other issues decisive. Only then does he win. The fact that the first debate is on domestic policy is not good. The fact that it's only a week from now is also not good. All of us -- whether we be evangelicals, serious Catholics, or atheists -- had better pray, not hope, that there is some very clear thinking at the top of the McCain campaign in the next few days. The last month or so has been encouraging in this respect, but the next week is likely to tell the tale.

7: Erik, I would quibble with your observation that Minnesota is "in play." I know there has been a good poll result there recently; perhaps more than one. But given the fact that Iowa appears to be down the toilet for us, there is no serious explanation for substantial movement in Minnesota.
Minnesota, like Iowa, has a tradition of smug isolationism. It also has a quasi-socialist heritage. These sad legacies have enormous staying power. Maybe there was a flurry of interest in the hockey mom with the Minnesota-like accent, but politically speaking, that's a castle of sand.

8: Mr. Bates -- With the caveat that I don't know what I'm talking about on technical matters, I fully agree with you that Palin needs to saturate the alternative media ASAP. The campaign leadership appears to have kept her under wraps, with the unfortunate exception of the Charlie Gibson interview, which probably shouldn't have happened. For a while I thought there was some very smart management of this campaign. Now I'm not nearly so sure.

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