Obama goes into Debate Camp on Tuesday, which is a shame in a way because he's hitting his stride on the stump. He has responded to the ongoing economic crisis--and apparently the reflexive use of that word "crisis" is now way too tame by several orders of magnitude--by showing the country exactly the kind of leader he can be: cool-heated, but passionate; thinking it through, demanding that the plan makes sense; understanding the urgency, but deliberate about coming to a plan that could make things worse if it isn't done right.
On the stump his themes are coalescing: now he's uniting his "change Washington" and "working across party lines to get things done", and "change from the bottom up" new politics, with throwing out the Republicans and their destructive policies and philosophies. And while the economic crisis provides him the case in point, he's demonstrating that this is what he meant--that all these themes and all his arguments apply.
And if the enthusiasm ever left, it is certainly back on the campaign trail: Obama is getting huge, enthusiastic crowds, beyond what local planners were prepared for: in Jacksonville, FLA for example, and today in Charlotte, NC. And think for a moment about those two places: these crowds have to worry the McCain campaign, and they speak to either the confidence or the folly of the Obama campaign. Some observers say NC is out of reach for Obama, and Florida was trending that way. Now at the very least the Obama campaign is forcing McCain to devote resources to defending them, and it seems to me they believe they have a real shot at winning them. Especially Florida.
This is not a conservative game plan. With things as tight as they seem to be in some polls in Michigan, PA and Wisconsin, prudence might suggest spending all your time there. But what may be happening is an effort to reinforce the ground game, the ongoing registration drives. Once registration is closed in all these states, maybe they focus for awhile on must-win states. (Obama goes to Green Bay tomorrow anyway.) I'm surprised however that they aren't in Virginia today, where voting has begun. But I expect they know what they're doing.
Meanwhile McCain got raked over the coals on ABC's This Week, with super-conservative George Will concluding, "John McCain showed his personality this week, and made some of us fearful."
I've been posting on the economic crisis itself over at Dreaming Up Daily. But there does seem to be a lot of push-back on the Paulson plan today. Some of it is coming from people who notice who is getting bailed out and who isn't, like this from comments at HuffPost: Dear Mr. Paulson:I know you are busy bailing out financial institutions but if you have a minute I was wondering if you could loan me $3000.00 I haven't been able to afford health insurance for years and would love to get a mammogram. Best regards.
Maybe we'll avoid another big step towards oligarchical dictatorship via the Shock Doctrine this time, but it's going to happen pretty fast. Meanwhile, anything to keep my mind off that dismal Steelers game.
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