Has Obama dug a hole that he can’t climb out of?

Well, well, well….

There’s been a spurt of 527 activity on behalf of Sen. John McCain, but Barack Obama campaign has suddenly gone silent on the subject.That’s because, after of year of telling donors not to contribute to 527 groups, of encouraging strategists not to form them and of suggesting that outside messaging efforts would not be welcome in Obama’s Democratic Party, Obama’s strategists have changed their approach.

An Obama adviser privy to the campaign’s internal thinking on the matter says that,with less than two months before the election and with the realization that Republicans have achieved financial parity with Democrats, they hope that Democratic allies — what another campaign aide termed “the cavalry” — with come to Obama’s aid.

Obama has made no attempt to hide that he’s a control freak. He’s ordered donors to stay away from 527s and called all the money to his campaign directly. He’s cold-shouldered the grassroots and Netroots. And he’s ignored the blogs like a high school quarterback ignores his 14 year-old sister when his friends are watching.

He’s played to the center – which isn’t a bad strategy in and of itself – but in the process has made a show of distancing himself from all the fringe freakbat liberals out there to the left of Ken Salazar. He and Biden have been so complimentary of John McCain that I half expect them to haul out the kneepads and chapstick at any moment.*

Of course, you can see the reason for all the civility. McCain has himself run a civil, honest and fair campaign so far. Errr, no, wait. That’s not right. He’s lied about Obama so badly that FOX freakin’ News called him on it!

Well, still. It’s not like the real power brokers in the GOP won’t rein him in if he gets too out of hand, right? (By the way, can anybody here explain how an obscure noun like “swiftboat” got to be a verb?)

A week and a half ago, at the end of a gloriously staged spectacle in Mile High Stadium, Barack Obama was King of the World. Since then his opponents have put on an epic display of ballistic podiatry by focusing the world’s undivided attention on the worst VP nominee since Dan Quayle (and frankly, I think I prefer Quayle; truth be told, Palin scares me worse than Marilyn Quayle). Life’s great, right?

Except, if we’re to place any stock in the most recent round of polls (which I don’t, completely – but there’s no excuse for him having placed himself behind the 8 ball this badly), he’s now running from behind in a world where his opponent has made significant gains on the money front.

So now Barack has come around to the idea that his campaign needs the sort of opponent-tenderizing capability that only a snarling 527 can provide. Or maybe he was led around to the conclusion by his advisers. Not sure that matters. All that matters is that it’s late in the day. Maybe too late – I’m not an expert on campaign law and procedures, but I’m seeing some folks questioning whether it’s technically doable at this point, and if so, is it too late to really raise the cash needed to do it right? (Whatever may be happening on the 527 front, there’s no outreach to the blogosphere yet. Maybe he just assumes they’ll fight to the death for him because, well, what the hell choice do they have. And he may well be right. Still, you want people fighting out of love and passion instead of dread and spite if at all possible.)

Of course, the serious racist stuff hasn’t started to fly yet, although it certainly will. It won’t come from McCain, but it will come from his surrogates. You know, kind that Obama has made clear he doesn’t need.

I respect that Obama wants to run a high-road campaign, that he wants to win the right way. But I’m starting to suspect a bit of arrogance on his part – it’s one thing to want to win the right way and another entirely to assume that it can be done, despite all evidence pointing the other way.

Maybe his new “No Maverick” ad is a sign that he’s getting it, finally. Time will tell, and I guess we’ll know soon enough if he adapted in time.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here thinking: lack of experience, indeed….

* Thanks to Nick Langewis for this disturbing turn of phrase.


  • Well, another way to look at the polls is the Palin bounce. She’s drawn a lot of white women. But how deep is their support? Can she hold them when they discover the things she’s said and what she really stands for?

    We’ll see.

  • I can’t help but think that the debates will throw all of the past week into a different relief. What Obama supporters have GOT to do now is quit wallowing in so much terror and (premature) despair now that the incredulity over Palin has worn off, and get to work. No one wants to vote for a side (yes, it’s a candidate, really, but in current cultural parlance it becomes sides, teams, etc.) that seems tentative and glum. Not that there ought not be some serious critical dissection going on, but all this introspective worrying — and doing it out loud on all the progressive blogs — is only providing fodder for the Republicans to point out how weak and scared the Dems have been made by Big Bad (or is it Good?) Sarah.

  • Great, great, post. He’s from Chicago, does he not remember Sean Connery’s lines from The Untouchables?

    “They bring a knife, you bring a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.”

    Or, is the word “campaign surrogate” not in his vocabulary?

    And, where are two specific surrogates on the Palin issue — Govs. Sebelius and Napolitano? Unbefrickingleavable.

    I’m blogging all of this at SocraticGadfly.

  • “”They bring a knife, you bring a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.””

    That is the Foreign Policy Statement for a First World Country…

  • “ ”They bring a knife, you bring a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.”

    That is the Foreign Policy Statement for a First World Country…”

    Unfortunately, it’s also the personal protection policy statement of rational people that know bad people are coming at them with knives, intent to kill them. Live or Die, those are the options. If you live you can try to change things.. die, and the guy with the knife goes right on past your corpse and at your kids.

    That we have that kind of internal strife in America, that our Political Discourse has been lowered to that standard SHOULD have people waking up and getting out their “bigger knives”. Instead, the masses cower behind their TVs and hope someone fixes their problems for them.

    Who are we kidding… most people in this country aren’t smart enough to understand how bad things have gotten. If it’s not spoon fed to them by that magic glowy box (you’d be surprised just how many people have not the _slightest_ clue how their technology works), they don’t know about it (and don’t care about it).

    McCain and Palin will be installed in the White House. Our public doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on, they don’t give serious thought to the issues. They don’t know that we’re voting on buggy and hackable “machines” that are being used to steal elections. The proof is out there, but no one “on TV” is telling people, so most people just don’t know. Besides, you tell them “it’s complicated technology, you wouldn’t understand” and they go “ok” and waddle off to get more twinkies.

    The system works the way it does because it works for those that are trying to hijack this country (and control the world). There is a much bigger and more sinister picture going on here, and “new technology” (TVs, mostly) gave them a way to hypnotize the masses. They took their time, they planned it out, and they are playing on the ignorance and petty vanity of the masses.

    Obama was never going to win. The Shrub didn’t win in 2004, but he was still installed in the White House anyway… despite the fact that people were convicted of tampering with audits and recounts… and despite the exit polls not matching what we were being told on “TV”. It will happen again, the plan is too far along for them to give up now. If they don’t collapse the American Economy now, we could make changes that push their plans out another 20 years, and most of them are too old to stick around that long (you guys surely know that Cheney and Rumsfeld were on Nixon’s staff, right?). These guys are pretty arrogant and failure isn’t an option.

    Unless I’ve missed something.

  • Well, it certainly does look bad…but didn’t it always? As Savanster pointed out, the plan for dominion over America has been rooting in the head of some of these guys for around 30 years; they aren’t going to give up without a fight worthy of a corned, rabid rodent.

    I do wonder how accurate the polls are this year, though. The world has changed. Many people don’t have landlines at all, and that is particularly true for much of Obama’s core support. That, however, means that Obama is going to desperately need the elusive “youth vote”, and i’m not so sure that’s something you can count on.

  • I figured the Palin hype would last about 2 weeks. I know it’s media generated, and it’s bringing out the evangelicals, but if you believe the polls her addition didn’t do much nationally. In fact in the “battle ground states” it hasn’t done much if anything at all.

    I appreciate Obama being above it all, but he may have to unleash the 527’s because the GOP is so freaking good at winning elections. I’ve also heard/read many interviews within the Barack campaign that Palin has also motivated people to give a lot of money to the Obama camp.

    Everyone says it’s going to be close, and I still have a hard time believing that it is. Barack has dominated in new voter registration, and a large majority of those new voters actually voted in the primary, unlike in previous years. The early voters are key here. All the college age people have to have their absentee ballots in early (Although I’m never sure when or if they are ever counted).

    I think people forget that Obama’s had an awesome ground game for months now and it keeps getting better. McCain’s just finally getting some people motivated on the ground.

    I will say that McCain is killing Obama in the news cycle. It’s pretty easy to do here’s the recipe.

    A) Say something outrageous and untrue, repeat until it is perceived as true.
    B) Make an outrageous ad that lies about your opponent or takes a quote out of context.

    American’s don’t like nice. Why else would we watch American Idol? It’s like watching 8 mile, people want to see who can dis the other person the most. We have become a culture of “Your Mamma” jokes.

  • Michael O'Neill

    After watching the (non)performance of the Democratic Party for the last eight years, and the quick fold of Mr Gore and Mr Kerry in the last two elections, what makes anyone think, honestly, that the Democrats genuinely want to win?

    Mr Obama’s two-week silence interrupted by periodic mewing sounds make for a great sense of moral superiority–“I’m above this meaningless prattle”–but where is the soaring rhetoric we heard so much about in the primaries? Where, exactly, is the fabled “leadership”?

    I think a bit of caution is in order here. I can imagine folks staying away from the polls in droves unless something is given to them to keep that Hope alive. Dwindling breadcrumbs do not a starving person feed.

  • Give it another 20 years or so like the last 20 and that’s what presidential debates will be reduced to – a yo mama smack-off.

    Sadly, that wouldn’t be any worse than a couple we had during the primary season.

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