Thursday, August 21, 2008

Barack Smash

* This is the kind of attack that sends tingles up my leg. More like this:

Barack Obama's campaign, moving rapidly to exploit what they see as a major opportunity, is deploying high-profile surrogates in 16 states across the country today to highlight John McCain's uncertainty yesterday about how many houses he owns, the Democrat's campaign tells Politico.

The frame: McCain's a confused, out-of-touch rich dude looking to give away money to his rich cronies. Guy can't' even remember how many houses he owns. (I'd add the "trying to bankrupt the country so his rich friends can get hundreds of thousands in tax breaks.") Stick this caricature on the dartboard and the economic contrasts will begin to have some oomph.
As a proud owner of shoes that retail at a higher price point than McCain's much-derided Ferragamo mocassins, I approve of this populist attack. Btw, John, look into grabbing some nice cordovan Edward Green or John Lobb monkstraps, which are more stylish, classy, better made, and less identifiably branded. Those kicks retail at over a grand, but you can easily afford them.

* VP follow-up: Nate Silver, number-cruncher extraordinaire, now likes HRC as Veep as well. Latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Hillary fans comprise a significant portion of the undecided electorate. As predicted, HRC's desperate campaign message (which, by the end, turned the race into a story about a charismatic, arrogant young punk "not ready for office" being promoted over the experienced, plodding grinder) is resonating with a big segment of the population that otherwise would vote for the Democrat. Had it not been the trusted and beloved Clinton advancing these arguments, these core Democrats would be much more likely tune out McCain's attack ads. Instead, these folks have become uniquely susceptible to "experience" arguments, and have naturally transferred their resentment of Obama over to the general, where they are fed the GOP narrative of an "experienced and qualified" McCain being challenged by an unqualified "celebrity". Any wonder why they're not with Obama?

Easiest way to win them over: make Clinton vice. If she's not, I'm not entirely confident these voters will come home in significant numbers by election day. Maybe they will. However, it's clear HRC's rhetoric now ("I've seen Barack's grit and grace") isn't enough. If she's not the VP nominee, both she and Bill need to explicitly make the case in their convention speeches that Obama's qualified for the job. Bill, especially, needs to draw some comparisons to 1992 -- the young governor of a small state, derided for being inexperienced by a sitting president with the most impressive resume in recent American politics, ended up winning and doing a pretty good job.

* Just bought some Schweitzer contracts on the news that Obama will be in Billings, MT next Wednesday, when the VP nominee is due to speak in Denver. So I've got Biden, HRC, Schweitzer and Bayh all covered. Now watch Barack pick Jack Reed.