So basically what happened the past week or so since Obama came back from overseas was this: the Obama campaign began to flesh out domestic policy, first on the economy and then on energy. Obama met with experts on the economy, made speeches, and set out his energy plan. The McCain campaign, seeing the schedule or intuiting it or just getting lucky, went on the attack while Obama was trying to stay positive, so he could answer the question of exactly what his domestic programs are, which the pundits used to say he needed to do, but when he did, they paid absolutely no attention.
So McShame launched one scurrilous and eventually racist attack after another, and that got all the hot air blowing. This week Obama went on the counter- attack, while still talking substance, and hit McCain for his triviality and lies, while the Obama ads hit hard at McCain as McBush. That will probably continue the rest of this week, until Obama goes on vacation Friday for a week. McCain has tried to return to the positive this week, and his pronouncements and appearances suggest that the best thing Obama can do right now is leave the stage to him, because what Obama needs is for people to pay more attention to McCain, and what an utter embarrassment he is.
I'm hoping to take a vacation from the politics, too, although I hope to continue posting at Dreaming Up Daily on the substance of the Obama energy plan, which is a really significant change of direction for this country, and a very necessary one.
But there is this VP thing going on, so who knows. The latest on that: Obama did not announce Bayh as his choice today, so he won't announce anything until after his break, and one story indicated that Hillary was back on the short list. Then Hillary announces that she's trying to figure out how to let her supporters have their say at the convention, like by placing her name in nomination after all. So that's the shortest stay on the short list in history. Obama would no more pick her than Joe Lieberman. Despite the joint statement just issued by Obama and Hillary saying they are working on the convention thing together.
There is this interesting piece about John Kerry as Obama's best surrogate, and Bob Shrum--not everybody's favorite consultant--saying that if Kerry hadn't run for the big chair in 04, he'd be hands down favorite for VP this year. And maybe...
As for McBush, the latest fave has been Pawlenty again, and then today Pawlenty goes and compliments Obama on running a positive campaign, and suggest GOPers do the same. So unless McCain is planning on switching the usual roles--having his VP be positive while he as the prez candidate becomes the attack dog--Pawlenty is a goner as well. Although to be fair at this same appearance, Pawletty showed himself to be just as capable as McCain at irrelevant negativity.
By the way, every major poll shows Obama holding his lead, and the race essentially unchanged since June. That's actually pretty good news for Obama, in that the GOPers haven't stuck on image on him before the convention, as they did on Kerry. People will start to pay more active attention with the VP selections and the conventions. There will be a period in early September that the polls will go nuts a few times, before settling down to say something useful. Then come the debates, and there will be 3 presidential ones, two sit downs and a town hall, with Jim Leher, Bob Sheiffer and Tom Brokaw moderating--a decent chance at substance. If Obama is leading in October, his superior ground game and the enthusiasm of his young supporters should do the rest. Game, set, match. Pass the lemonade.
First he couldn't win the votes of women. He's winning their votes handily. Then he had a Latino problem. He's winning by growing margins among Latinos in every poll. And a Jewish problem. He's running away with the Jewish vote. So then there was this problem with "hard-working Americans"--white ones anyway.
So today the Washington Post writes about their latest poll, in which Barack Obama leads John McCain among low-wage workers by a 2 to 1 margin. His support among African Americans is overwhelming--but so is his support among Latinos.
And guess what? He leads among white low-wage workers--by ten points.
So it has to be just because he's a Democrat, or because they like his programs and they're willing to overlook his "presumptuousness" and his arugula-eating, way too skinny self.
Because the pundits all tell us that they're suspicious of him, they don't think he is one of us/them. So that's it, right?
"The group, which accounts for nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, gives the Democrat the nod both as the more empathetic candidate and as the one who more closely shares their values."
Huh? How can that be? They support him because he's the more empathetic candidate who SHARES THEIR VALUES?
Quick--get Chris Matthews and his August sub some smelling salts. Make sure Dana Milbanks is on his meds. And don't let the McCain smear machine hear about this!
I wouldn't expect much crow consumption, though. More along the lines of this marvellously dry observation in the Post story:
"Obama's standing with the white workers runs counter to an impression, dating from the primary season, that he struggles to attract support from that group. "
McCain thought he had a real chance with Latinos, but he's been sadly mistaken. And now...McCain advisers have said for months that they think the Republican can win a significant share of those voters because of Obama's performance in the spring. The survey suggests it will be difficult, but not impossible, for McCain to increase his appeal."
The first new name with the smell of credibility surfaces today: McCain is reportedly considering a relatively unknown congressman, Eric Kantor for VP. He is a member of the GOPer House leadership though, plus he's young, conservative, Jewish and from Virginia. At first glance, he looks like the best of the choices McCain's reportedly been considering. His obscurity may even be an asset: McCain needs a fresh face, because his certainly isn't. Lots of pluses, no apparent drawbacks, which is more than can be said for the other names generally believed to be on McSame's list. As a conservative ideologue, he won't have trouble filling the attack dog role in a campaign that seems to be going all negative, all the time.
Update: Here's a more reliable link to the story on this in the LA Times.
Meanwhile, an incomplete schedule which has Obama in South Bend, Indiana for almost 24 hours is suggesting to some folks that he's about to announce Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana as his VP choice. Some have speculated Obama might name his choice before his vacation to Hawaii during the Olympics, others figure he won't. I don't buy Bayh myself, but you knew that.
If McCain does pick Kantor, I think that puts more pressure on Obama to come up with an equally creative choice, and a strong one.