Sunday, August 17, 2008

No VP Saturday

All day and not a new VP rumor? What's wrong with you people! Oh, except that Joe Biden is off to Georgia (the one with Russians and no Atlanta), which (to Al G.) means that he's not in the running anymore, and (to TPM) that his chances are enhanced.

There is news however, about money. McCain previously announced his best month in July: $27 million. (Which according to his answer at the Saddleback Church forum Saturday, is the combined annual income of 5 and a half people.) The Obama campaign announced its July take was $51 million, with 65,000 new donors and a total number of contributors that passed the two million mark in August (McCain has about a quarter of that.) But the even bigger news is that for the first time since 2004, the Democratic National Committee raised more in a month than their Repub counterpart: $27.7 mil to $26 mil.

The race remains very competitive financially for at least the next month, as McCain has to spend his cash before the fed money kicks in. So if Obama can maintain a $50 mil a month pace, he'll have more--possibly a lot more--to spend in the critical months.

Obama and McCain were both interviewed by pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church, before an audience presumably of church members. Some felt they did equally well; others thought McCain did better, by playing to the audience and keeping his answers short and on (right wing) message, and by telling POW stories. In political terms, McCain may well have helped himself with the conservative base, but he stated unequivocally that he's anti-choice, and he defined a rich person as somebody making $5 million. (Obama said a person making $150,000 is doing very well.) Obama also helped himself with the Evangelical audience, especially by doing what some in the blogosphere criticized him for doing--he engaged in a conversation with Rick Warren rather than playing to the audience and giving campaign sound bites. By demonstrating humility and thoughtfulness, and especially by not only relating directly and with respect to Warren, but showing that Warren respects and likes him, he came across immediately as not scary, and by showing rapport with the pastor, the congregation is more likely to take another look at him and what he says about the issues that affect their lives.

I'm still a little amazed that people don't get that Obama is a different kind of candidate, and that's why he's been successful. He's organized and run a campaign that's politically astute but ahead of conventional thinking. He's not a conventional candidate. His thoughtful answers weren't a mistake.

Similarly, there is this horseshit in the New York Times. Without naming who most of these Democrats are, or who they supported (hint: Hillary), they quote their opinion that Obama has to be more specific, and stay away from talking about hope. Sure, turn him into Hillary, who lost. And by the way, when he does talk specifics (as he even did in the Berlin speech which they consider rhetoric, mostly because of the huge crowds), everyone ignores him. His energy plan is specific, but the media was too busy with cheap bullshit and these pols were too busy giving interviews about how he should be more specific.

If in the speech that more people are going to see than any other--his nomination acceptance speech in Denver-- Obama gives a Clintonian laundry list of programs, nobody--not the audience, not the voters, not the media or these pols--are going to be happy. We want to hear hope. We want to hear Yes We Can. We want to hear Change We Can Believe In. That's how Obama built his movement, and when it is fully energized, it will sweep him to victory.

So please, Barack, don't listen to these morons. Let Obama be Obama.

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