Some Observations as the General Election Gets Underway

It’s Monday.  Senator Hillary Clinton has conceded the race, and Obama is now officially and undisputedly the presumptive Democratic nominee.

And then there were two.

I fully expect the next five months to be intense and exhausting, and I welcome the challenge.  Having started political blogging back in the winter of 2004, this is my first opportunity covering a presidential election from beginning to end, and it does seem to be shaping up to be one for the history books even beyond the obvious reasons.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll have some announcements to make regarding our coverage of the presidential election, and some of the downticket races as well (there are two specifically that I’m very interested in).

It’s Monday, and it feels like a good day to kick off a general election, and in doing so I just had some observations to share.

-Larry Johnson isn’t a Democrat.  Get over it.  The way he’s been blogging lately wouldn’t even get him b-list status in the wingnut-o-sphere (or maybe it would, no telling these days), so quit feeding the troll already.

-On the other hand, it looks like unity may come faster than hoped for.  For many, it will still take time, but as I quietly survey many other pro-Clinton sites, I continue to be encouraged by the progress being made there.  I happen to still think that the party will unite itself just fine.

-There’s absolutely no rush to announce a running mate?  Why do so?  The speculation alone is plenty reason enough for reporters to keep writing about Obama.  If he were really smart, every couple weeks or so he would ditch the reporters like he did for Hillary, and just visit random political personalities so we could all get ourselves spun up in a tizzy if this is “the one”.  Another thing to think about is that I don’t want it to be obvious that the running mate is picked to shore up any political weaknesses.  Mentality folks-Obama doesn’t have weaknesses and whomever he picks should be honored.

I don’t believe that of course, but picking a running mate this soon gives everyone simply far too much time to dwell on which specific weaknesses Obama is trying to address with his selection.

-Does ANYONE have anything good to say about McCain?

This is, I believe, one of the most telling aspects of the early campaign season.  Even Goldfarb’s newly launched McCain blog (Obama message coopting in 3… 2…) “The McCain Report: A Blog You Can Believe In,” he doesn’t even actually do any McCain advocacy.  He has a post showing espect for Hillary Clinton, a post where he tries to woo Clinton supporters (with an Abba song, no less.  He didn’t even have the common decency to play ‘Dancing Queen.’  Really).  A couple of posts attacking Obama, and the one post that is actually about McCain–you got it, it’s about McCain attacking Obama.

On one hand, since it seems the right’s whole strategy is to attack Obama that will mean the left and the Obama campaign will have to turn defense into a full time operation, but, underneath the vitriol and the lazy grasping at straws, there is a supreme lack of confidence in the Republican ticket this year, and thus far there seems to be a scant few, if any voices, that appear to be invested in defining McCain in a positive light.

Unlike these folks, I like my candidate, and have no problem pushing the positive side of both himself as a person, and his policies, that’s not something that seems to be true on the conservative side of the aisle.  Indeed, I point to Terry whose website is a brilliant contrast, focusing completely on the positive of her candidate, compared to the right who can’t even seem to actually bring themselves to talk about McCain.

-John McCain has never actually been the big Republican Rebel that he has been made out to be.  Still, it bears mentioning (over and over again, actually) that 2000 John McCain is NOTHING like 2008 John McCain.  Indeed, those things he changed, his stance on torture, his stance on Bush’s tax cuts, his opinion on divisive religious leaders, his opinion regarding Karl Rove (and his political tactics), have all been pushes towards Bush ideologically.  Still…

-I think it would be folly to get too comfortable with the whole, “McSame,” line of attack.  For now it is fine, but they are indeed different, not much ideologically, but, for instance, Bush has darker hair than John McCain.  Seriousl, though, there’s simply a laziness behind the tactic that I think can bite one in the ass later on down the road, especially if McCain pulls off the rhetorical distancing from Bush while remaining close to him ideologically.

Far more important is being able to build the narrative on WHY Bush and McCain are WRONG on the issues.  This is especially true for those voters who actually believe that the only problem with Bush is that he’s stupid and incompetent, and if there was just someone with his stance on the issues, but more capable of enacting them, we would all be living in a world of rainbow ponies and pretty little flowers.

-But the biggest difference between McCain and Bush is one that is largely in Obama’s favor.

Humorous Pictures


McCain had seven and a half years to learn from Bush’s mistakes.  What happened?

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