It’s Getting Late For Spring Cleaning For Obama

I really hate this, you should know. I’ve been a Barack Obama supporter from the beginning, and despite the tale of the tape, will continue to support him until he’s finally knocked out by Hillary Clinton, but I gotta say that things have continued to not look good for the young Illinois Senator.

To be fair, he’s come a very long way on a groundswell of support given how new to the national scene he is, his supporters liking him despite his junior status, and probably with no campaign efforts at all. But he’s in the big times now, a major contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States, and I think he’s come to something of a breaking point as a candidate.

The problem for Obama is not the man himself (obviously I would say that being one of his supporters). It is and thus far has been a problematic campaign something I’ve documented time and again since the primaries began earnest. The previous latest trip up being one of his counselors actually opining a case in favor of pardoning Scooter Libby.

Still, I wanted to believe that things could get better. The overall trending of Obama was still showing, all be it very low, net positives, and there have been recent polls that were heavily in favor of Team Barack.

But if the recent oppo that found its way onto the pages of the NYT suggests anything, it is that there are still very serious problems within the Obama campaign machine, problems that are quickly moving to the “get fixed or else” column. The firestorm, centered around a piece of released oppo that tied Hillary to the idea of exporting jobs to India, delivered a weighty blow to a campaign that Obama promised would be a different kind of campaign; a campaign that was positive and issue-oriented, and not prone to the kind of mud-slinging that has turned off so many voters and transformed those who are still in the game into raving partisans.

Obama has since undergone the requisite damage control. But how long can he keep apologizing for a green and undisciplined campaign that time after time makes serious mistakes that are going to become decreasingly easy to forget as we get closer to crunch time?

The effect isn’t merely horse race either. The largest negative to an Obama candidacy is of course his lack of experience, the appropriate counter to this being that he would of course make sure that he is surrounded by an experienced and well versed staff and cabinet. But the deeper question that the string of campaign mistakes asks is how can we trust him to do this if he can’t even hire and whip into shape an experienced and disciplined campaign staff.

Meanwhile the picture grows more and more bleak for the presidential hopeful. Recent polls show him down to Hillary by double digits, but even more importantly is that for the first time since I’ve been watching the aggregate polling trends of the candidate, he is now showing a negative trend(note: looking at the graph shows the negative trend reaching back, but as an aggregate of polling numbers, throwing out noise, and applying new polls, the trend kind of changes retroactively from time to time).

So while a couple of weeks ago it was looking as though as long as the trends stayed the same, Obama was in position to catch up to Hillary just in time for voters to hit the polls, it is now looking as though he has no chance of catching her.

He does, and I hope he does, but he can’t do this by conducting business as usual in his own camp. Earlier this year, John McCain restructured his campaign following dismal returns in fundraising. But as it turns out, it’s looking more as though the lack of fundraising had little to do with his campaign than it did with an overall lack of support he was receiving from the base of the party. In other words, shaking up his camp did little good.

For Obama, this is not the case. He can shake up his campaign for a net positive result. In fact, as we slowly move from “early” in the primaries to “not so early” in the primaries it’s becoming more and more a vital imperitive that he does.

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