Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

One More Debate Thought

The actual post-debate polls give a narrow but real advantage to Obama, including among independents and undecided. Why? My theory all along: There are real parallels between this election and 1980. People perceive incompetence threatening peace and especially prosperity. They want change, as long as its not dangerous or extremist. That’s the standard to which Obama is being held. He, like Reagan, will win if he looks reasonable enough not to be scary. Some say the fact that he said he agreed with McCain eight times or so was a sign of weakness. But maybe not: The more they agree, the more it’s safe to go ahead with the new guy. Driving around Rome, GA this morning, I saw lots of places out of gas and others with long lines. It reminds anyone old enough of 1979 and Carterism in general. McCain might have done well in enough in distancing himself from the perceived incompetence in Bush’s foreign policy, but I’m afraid (but not sure) he can’t do it in domestic policy. So it’s already pretty clear my modest bump for Mac prediction is probably wrong.

Discussions - 6 Comments

PETER, polling in '04 also declared Kerry the clear winner in the debates against Bush, {and in that case, polling might have been accurate}. But as the days went on, and people began to mull over what Kerry said, he began to slide. If you recall, Kerry made up about 5 points after the first debate, and was within 2 going into the 2d and the 3d. But then Bush began running some ads pointing out the different positions Kerry assumed throughout the race.

My point here is that Obama threw over so many positions in that debate the other night, that he provided a treasure trove for McCain's campaign to go through, and of course to use in ads going down the homestretch.

Obama did significant damage to his candidacy the other night, and flash polling hardly ever gets it right.

As the details of the debate the other night fade, voters will be left with certain salient impressions, the foremost of which is that McCain's ready, and Obama isn't. And McCain's team is going to be playing on that theme over and over again, as we close out this long, long race.

I would add to Dan's comments that the Reagan comparison is really not apropos: Reagan had been a public figure for many years, including 8 years as Governor of California. Obama remains a stranger.

But McCain will have to do much better than simply mention a point (e.g., Obama is too liberal to forge a consensus we'd want): McCain needs to expound on it, showing all the dangers, domestic and foreign this produces. It is a difficult task, because Obama comes off as utterly respectable.

BTW, I am convinced that Obama's use of the Kissinger argument about preconditions on negotiations was intended to coax McCain to take up precious time to make a point few in the audience would appreciate anyway. McCain could have used his time to much better use. (I once debated another leftist Harvard law graduate who used the same technique on me and only caught on much too late.)

McCain wasted some of his time last night. He was irritated at Obama, but didn't sufficiently explain why he's dangerous (which he is). He was too focused on the past and on his superior experience. Swing voters care about neither in this election. Obama needs to be defined as dangerous and unacceptable, and halfheartedly saying that he's either one of these things won't cut it. It needs to be shown, not just told.

Moreover, Reagan wasn't hobnobbing around with terrorists and haters of America.

PETER is dead right that Obama is trying to look responsible and credible. Which means for McCain to win, he's going to have to go where he really prefers not to, ----------- and that's Wright, Pflegger, Dohrn, {who is even more whacked than her hubby}, Farrakhan.

I said all along that for Obama to be defeated he would have to be exposed. The longer that exposure is delayed, the more credible he's becoming.

I hope the McCain campaign doesn't wait too long out of some misplaced sense of scruple. HE CHOSE to associate himself with some really twisted people. And he's been choosing and preferring their company for year, after year, after year, after year.

Just about the entirety of his adult existence has been spent in company that any normal person would have taken off in a dead sprint from. Even Oprah took off running from Wright. Not Obama though.

Gasoline prices in our area have dropped by about 40-50 cents a gallon. Why? I don't know, but we are all relieved and not reminded of 1979, at all. The prices are not that low.

Obama can try to look responsible, but I am not sure he pulls that off. McCain himself cannot go after Obama in any angry way to prove that O. is not responsible or respectable. Supporters, the more distant from the candidate the better, will have to do that.

McCain appeared perfectly capable, while Obama did not. I think the debate came simply to that. Obama cannot conceal that he is neophyte. McCain looked surprisingly relaxed and capable. If he can keep that up, he will do just fine in November. The whole wide world conspires to make the more relaxed, evidently capable candidate more appealing as leader.

4: Yes, mega-dittoes. Unfortunately, such ads would have had more credibility if they had begun to run much sooner. But a Hail Mary can sometimes work.

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