More Unsolicited Advice to Obama
I mean, the guy emails me a lot, but I'm not exactly a campaign advisor, paid or unpaid. Good thing, because having called Hillary an unprincipled flesh-eating insect and traitor to her party (and that's when I was trying to be nice) I'd probably have to resign.
But seriously. There's this story that's already giving me hives, saying that Obama is considering making some trips to Europe and elsewhere to help with the foreign policy credentials. I wouldn't advise it. Sure, after the Mississippi primary Tuesday there are six weeks until Pennsylvania votes--plenty of time for a few days of travel. But you don't want to be overseas while Hillary is pointing out your absense in PA. No, you don't want that in PA.
There's a lot of talk about demographics in PA, but that's not the whole story there, especially this year. PA is ready for the message of change--in recent elections, since 04, there's been a marked mood to THROW THE BUMS OUT. If he can tap into that, he can win a lot of votes in some surprising places.
The Obama campaign may want to dial down the importance of PA a bit, but on the other hand, if they can beat Hillary there, it's over. Besides, if he wants to emphasize foreign policy and national security, there are ways to do it without leaving the country. He can pick some prestigious venues for policy addresses, emphasizing Iraq and its impact on the country, and another of his strengths, the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation, how the Bushites have bungled the issue dangerously, and how he will make America safer by addressing this danger. He can talk specifically and at length about his vision of the world, and how he uniquely understands and projects how America must change how we interact with other countries and cultures.
He might even do what Hillary did when she gathered all those generals and admirals around her--get some other people on the stage with him. Right now it looks like he's out there all alone. I agree with some otherwise dubious pundits that he could make better use of surrogates and high profile supporters. Maybe it's a question of getting better media attention to these kinds of events, but at this point I think we need to see who is with him, as well as who is against him.
And as odd as it feels to agree with Tucker Carlson, I think he's right when he says that Obama has to again emphasize his ability to work with people across ideological and party lines, and--incidentally (SUPER-D's) he must emphasize how he's brought so many new people into the party, and how he attracts independents and Republicans.
Some of this worked for him before March 4, and if he got off-message he can come back to this, and if he didn't--if it just wasn't getting through--then maybe it's time to find a different way to approach it and tell it.
But as for something new, this would be the time to give some detailed addresses on his vision of the world. Because Hillary is harping on it, the media will pay attention. If he did this fairly soon, he's still have plenty of time to talk about the economy and health care in PA. (Again, in talking about health care he should again personalize it, and talk about the more open process he would follow to get it done.)
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