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August 26, 2008

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I think Obama recognizes that a proper introduction and grounding may be more important in order for some Americans to listen to the issues. I've heard this election compared to Reagen's first often... the public wasn't comfortable with Reagen until the final week.

Hopefully, MO and TK helped create a connection between home audiences and the Obama family. That will, at the very least draw audiences back to Obama speech on Thursday.

But yes, from now on, the campaign needs to be issues driven.

Michelle was outstanding. The introduction was good.

Now: More health care. More economy. More Bush-bashing and linking Bush to McCain.

All three in ample amounts please.

This is the country that voted for Jimmy Carter and then Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and then W.

Doesn't that tell you something about the primacy of policy positions in American politics?

Monday was for people who care about what kind of human being Barack Obama is as much or more than what his policies are--and it was particularly aimed at women. Many women will tell you that the kind of person a man marries tells you more about his essential character than his resume does.

It's not either character or policy. Obama won't win without a strong push on both those fronts.

The obvious way to handle that is to start with the softer stuff and ramp up.

Respectful disagreement here. 3 more nights like last night would be a mistake, but the Democrats can and should try to accomplish more than one thing at this convention.

The Democrats have 3 nights to hammer home the policy differences between the parties and to make the case that McCain would largely be a continuation of Bush. The Clintons, Biden, and Obama will have primetime coverage for this argument.

But for better or worse, there are lots of voters who will cast their ballot largely on their gut feelings regarding the candidates. Using Michelle Obama's speech to help cast him as a loving, hard-working, all-American, apple-pie eating husband and father might be 'fluffy,' but that doesn't mean it won't be effective politically.

And anyway, I enjoyed her speech a hell of a lot more than most political speeches, even if it was schmaltzy.

I thought the "candidate story" thing was pretty standard as an opener. For all Carville's stuff about "hiding the message", I think it's important to tell the story, show the candidate's family as a real family, get Fox commentators to cry, etc. As Kenny Rogers famously said, "There'll be time enough for bashing".

"Day 1 was largely a waste it seems"

I guess that's why so many people are talking about it so much, and feel so positive and good about it, and are so excited.

We wouldn't want more of that.

You know, I'm all for more policy, but I thought last night was just fine as it was. The thing about Obama is that, to a lot of people, he's something odd, larger than life, so last night humanized him. The end of Michelle's speech, where she brought out the kids and he appeared on the screen with a white family--cheesy as all hell, but effective as well.

As for Carville, well, he hasn't done a lot in recent years, and I found the stunt of him wearing Puma sneakers to be more than a little petty. If he wants to be Mudcat Saunders's fellow traveler, that's fine--I just won't support any candidate who has anything to do with him.

I think tonight will be policy oriented, just because of who's speaking if nothing else. Sebelius, Warner, Clinton - this is night of speakers targeting swing states. A problem the campaign has is that people don't know Obama, and other people hear crazy stories about him, and last night went a long way toward addressing that.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

We're already going to get the voters who agree with us on the issues, and we're going to get the people who think GWB a disaster. The voters we have trouble with now -- undecideds -- are the ones who say 'but I don't know who he really is.' Starting with a substantial slug of the people right there in the hall, who supported someone else.

They need to see positive messages, especially from MO.

Warner should bash, and especially Clinton. She can say to her supporters that she's so disappointed to hear that some are considering voting for John McCain. 'He's wrong on [issue a]. He's wrong on issue a] he's wrong on [c-f].'

And then WJC can bash: 'when I moved out, we had a surplus, respect of the world, etc, etc. Look what GWB did with the country we left him. Think what the guy who says GWB hasn't gone far enough will do.'

The fundamental problem, though, isn't that people don't know that Bush is a piece of sh*t. Everyone who's vote we can reasonably hope to get already thinks that. It's doubts about BHO, stoked first by HRC and now by the Rep machine that will defeat us here.

Incertus, what did that link have to do with Mudcat Saunders?

"It brought back some bad memories of the last convention where none of the prime time Democrats talked about things that mattered in people’s lives,"

Not having a fucking asshole in the white house matters to me. That's basically what last night was about, and it is more than McCain will be able to accomplish at his convention (because he's a fucking asshole).

I understand what publius is saying -- there was a certain bland aspect to it all and none of it seemed very cohesive.

Nancy Pelosi with her one-pitch tone and that frozen smile -- yuk. Of course, she is the Speaker of the House, so you can't exactly hide her.

No matter what happened last night it was going to be remembered as Ted Kennedy's night. I guess that's why they call him the lion of the Senate. Remarkable.

I must confess -- feeling really bad -- I did not make it to Michele's speech but had a feeling she would hit a home run. Saw a clip this morning of Obama's youngest daughter telling him, "Hi, Daddy," via a live broadcast feed -- priceless.

Having been home from work Monday and Tuesday with the flu bug, one thing that has made me more sick is the media's hyping -- what else can you call it? -- the Clinton-Obama feud. That seems to be the ONLY thing they are reporting on.

To my mind, Hillary made her peace with Obama weeks ago and has been a strong advocate for him already.

Bill has been another story but Bill is Bill -- even his own wife couldn't control him.

The media keeps saying "the Clintons" still have a problem with Obama and his camp -- maybe Bill does. But I just don't see it with Hillary. Their constant use of "the Clintons" makes them look lazy and uninformed.

Hillary deserves better.

The media keeps saying "the Clintons" still have a problem with Obama and his camp -- maybe Bill does.

He really seems to. His speech is supposed to be about how gereat Obama is, and he's whining because the organizers don't want him talking about HIS accomplishments. This isn't his convention; he needs to suck it up and get with the program.

Agree with Tim & CharleyCarp. We need to build a message here, operative word, build. Trust is the foundation of the building. Right now Obama is such a complete unknown that some people actually find the secret-Muslim rumors plausible, and I have talked to more than one person who just doesn't know if he has any integrity, guts, or common sense. The first step is to just make a human connection.

Now, I do want to hear about policy too - definitely including attacks on the other side. But please, not healthcare. We need to talk about terrorism, energy, and mortgages. People are sick of hearing about health care, and it has NEVER won elections for the Democrats. Every 2 years we roll it out, and it just lies there. AFAICT, the myth that voters care about health care policy is an artifact of polling methods: telephone polls are biased towards stay-at-homes, by definition. Those are the people for whom health care is a big issue, and they may even vote disproportionately, but they are not typical voters. Most people agree that better health care would be good, but it is not their priority. So yeah, mention it, and then move on. Maybe a little more than that on social security, just because replacing it with personal accounts is such a dumb idea.

This year, people want to hear how they can afford gas & mortgages, how they can keep or get jobs, how they get out of debt (Biden so not helpful on that one), and how the government is going to keep us safe. We have answers to most of those and should use them. Anything else policy-wise is a waste of time.

That includes the civil liberties issues so dear to my own heart. They're not a big issue for most people, and they're about what the GOP did, not about what the Democrats will do.
(Honesty in government actually is a big deal to many people, I think, and I wish we could say something like, "don't you miss the days when the President just lied about his sex life?" But not with the Clintons front and center.)

Hillary belongs in a Greek tragedy. And in this Act, there would definitely be bits of hubris, and the summoning of forces she can't control. I think she'll play the last scene of the Act well, and in the next Act, she'll really come into her own.

This isn't his convention; he needs to suck it up and get with the program.

I’d say so:

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

He said: "Suppose you're a voter, and you've got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don't think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?"

Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: "This has nothing to do with what's going on now."

Wow.

At first I didn't see the link OCSteve provided and was going to send him a "good one," thinking he had written a biting piece of fiction.

Bubba was better when he had a Big Mac addiction.

"I must confess -- feeling really bad -- I did not make it to Michele's speech but had a feeling she would hit a home run."

Try watching, if you like.

Who is candidate Y supposed to be in that hypo?

Sen. Obama in 2008 compares pretty favorably to Gov. Clinton of 1992. You can talk all you want about the experience of running the Arkansas government, but sfaict, that was nothing but negative in the event.

Yes, what are the "half the issues" he agrees with McCain on? I'm willing to buy the "hypothetical" explanation because it doesn't make much sense otherwise, though it would be nice to have the full context. I think Bill just isn't the politician he used to be and is becoming more gaffe-prone.

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

Can we lock him in a room (in Darfur?) until December? Please?

Yes, what are the "half the issues" he agrees with McCain on?

I don't think it's McCain he's talking about. For one thing, that would mean Bill has gotten over the primaries, which is clearly not the case.

Know who the candidate is who can't accomplish anything he promises in the campaign? McCain. Because he'll face substantial majorities in both houses.

Sheesh.

Maybe, Hogan, but then what are the half the issues that he disagrees with Obama on, and is he really saying that Hillary "can't deliver on anything at all"? I suppose that's true, since she can't be elected when she's not the nominee, but it doesn't seem like something Bill would say.

Or are you saying X = Obama and Y = Hillary? That doesn't work any better.

I don't think it has anything to do with either the nomination contest or the general election.

It's just yet another bit of nothing for the desperate media to pounce on as an ingredient for their PUMA soufflé (an adaptation of the standard "divided Democrats" recipe).

Don't miss Adm. Hutson tonight, btw.

Charley, another fun fragment from a guest on NPR today: "If McCain wins and the Republicans get a majority in Congress..." (as part of a response about the likelihood of either McCain or Obama getting his health care reforms passed).

And even if that miracle occurred, they'd still have to deal with the filibuster (though the Democrats as usual wouldn't wield it as effectively).

Bill Clinton is just mad because the theme of the first night was obviously: "look what a great family the Obama's are. Can you possibly imagine this guy ever messing around behind his wife's back. No way!"

It was all a setup to make Bill look bad.

That is because everything is always, always, always about Bill.

He makes me so proud to be a Democrat.
Now please excuse me while I go vomit.

Hillary Clinton will give her full-throated support to Obama, because Hillary is not stupid.

Bill Clinton will not only heartily endorse Obama, but trash the living daylights out of the GOP, because Bill is not stupid.

Obama will win the election, because the electorate is not stupid.

The pundits will be surprised by all of that, because the pundits are stooooopid.

-- TP

"Obama will win the election, because the electorate is not stupid."

And the reason they voted twice for Richard Nixon, twice for Ronald Reagan, for George H. W. Bush, and twice for George W. Bush is?

Obama will win the election, because the electorate is not stupid.

Is this a different electorate than that of 2000? of 2004? I wish I could think so highly of "the electorate", but they've been mind-numbingly stupid until now.

There is a fellow at work who is STILL undecided. McCain's war-mongering, his love of torture, his treatment of his wife, none of this makes up for the "fact" that Obama is a baby-killing, gay-loving Commie.

Yeesh

Tony P.,
“No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” -- H.L. Mencken.

Mind you, I think he was talking about Lincoln, so he missed the boat there. But still.

Gary and Jeff: you both seem to say that if it elects McCain, the American electorate is stupid. That is a theorem I am not inclined to dispute.

-- TP

I don't think it has anything to do with either the nomination contest or the general election.

I took “This has nothing to do with what's going on now” to mean “This has everything to do with what’s going on now” – the convention, tonight, hours before his wife’s speech...

I took it, especially the timing, as “she may have to go out there tonight and make nice, but I’ll tell you the real deal.”

Tony, I think the point is that similar logic proves the American electorate was stupid in 2004. What is the source of your confidence that they've become smarter in 4 years?

OCSteve, that still doesn't explain who X and Y are. How does it make sense to you?

KC: In context:

The former president talked about the importance of a politician being able to deliver on his promises following an electoral victory and how voters factor in that ability to deliver when picking their candidate.

I assumed he was implying that Obama would not be able to deliver on his promises whereas some other unnamed candidate (who would be a better choice) would be able to deliver on her (uh, his) promises.

I agree it would be clearer with video or a transcript. Maybe I’m just expecting the bitterness at this point so I’m hearing what I expect to hear…

Bill's Unfortunate Analogy makes perfect sense to me.

The hypothetical voter is an anti-DLC progressive Democrat who is mostly in agreement with Obama on the issues (or at least was pre-FISA, in this little fairy tale).

X = Obama
Y = Hillary

Bill is claiming that Obama will not be able to deliver anything because he will lose in the general election to McCain, whereas Hillary will ride to victory (remember those Hard Working White Americans?) and deliver some (but not all) of what the hypothetical voters wants.

Fnck Bill Clinton. Fnck him very much. I will never donate a dime or cast a vote for anything that he is headlining, ever. That sleazy lying scumbag can go to perdition as far as I'm concerned.

KCinDC, if the right-track/wrong-track question so beloved of pollsters is an accurate assessment of this year's electorate, then the fact that 80% answer correctly is evidence that Americans possess at least a glimmer of intelligence.

Notice I did not say whether Obama is stupid. If he loses, that question will be answered.

-- TP

I pretty much saw it like ThatLeftTurn presents it with one difference. I suspect that Bill thinks Obama will win but won't be able to accomplish anything because Obama does not possess the great wealth of knowledge and governing skills that Hillary has accumulated over her many years of executive service.

Bill is claiming that Obama will not be able to deliver anything because he will lose in the general election to McCain

Not necessarily. Clinton might well believe that Obama cannot deliver even if he wins. After all, if someone as supremely competent as the Great Triangulator could not reform health insurance, who in his right mind could believe that the Chicago Upstart might pull it off?

-- TP

I am reminded of Jesse Jackson's observation on Clinton, which was that he had no core beliefs, only appetites. I have this sinking suspicion that his speech will mirror his 1988 DNC speech, which I suppose would be, in some fashion, two appropriate bookends.

I'm no fan of Bill, and I'm not looking forward to his speech. One of the many good things about an Obama presidency is that Bill will no longer be the top dog in the party. That would be a particularly good thing since it appears that Bill is losing his political instincts, if not his mind.

I'm just not so sure that this statement fits the hole people are trying to push it into. When I mentioned context I meant what led up to it and what he said exactly, not just what was in the article. Maybe I'm doing too much giving the Clintons the benefit of the doubt since my nomination fight hatred has cooled and it's time to get along. At any rate, I'm not going to get worked up about this one.

Incertus, what did that link have to do with Mudcat Saunders?

Sorry. I assumed everyone had seen the interview with Saunders where he's photographed proudly in front of his bed with the Confederate Battle Flag comforter. I wrote about it here. And I figure anyone who'd sleep under a comforter like that would fit right in with the people who made that video. Too many jumps and assumptions of knowledge for a post like that. Sorry.

what LeftTurn said.

i'm beginning to wonder if he's going to try something like that in his speech. at this point, i honestly can't see why he wouldn't. what's the Party gonna do, take away his membership card?

Right now, Rahm Emanuel is was castigating Bush and McCain.

"Mr Bush, we'll forever be in YOUR debt." It could have been delivered with more punch at a better time, but it's a great line.

what's the Party gonna do, take away his membership card?

Ahh, Miller and Lieberman have done a good job of moving Overton's window, eh?

Still, what they did with unsuccessful presidential candidates would be fine by me.

Janet Napolitano, govenor of Arizona:

"Barry Goldwarter ran for president and he lost. Mo Udall ran for president and he lost. Bruce Babbitt ran for president and he lost. For at least the next four years, this is an Arizona tradition I'll be happy to see continue!"

Jeff: I have heard that Rahm Emanuel wants to be Speaker of the House. Fingers crossed.

I have heard that Rahm Emanuel wants to be Speaker of the House.

might be the perfect job for him... cause he sure likes to speak.

Take me now, Lord.

Let's hope our crossed fingers have more power than Bedtime's, Nell.

The mention of Rahm Emanuel had me look up this incident

Chicago Tribune deputy Washington bureau chief Naftali Bendavid writes that, as about a score of them sat around a picnic table mushily declaring their love for one another, Emanuel picked up a knife and called out the names of different politicians who had "f–––ed us." After each name, Emanuel would cry out, "Dead man!"—and stab the knife into the table.

However, the piece has some a number of other interesting things about him, like this:

But it's a mistake to see Emanuel as a blowhard or a bully. Heath Shuler, a former Washington Redskins quarterback, recalled to Bendavid how Emanuel recruited him to run for Congress in 2006. Shuler told Emanuel that he was worried that he would have to sacrifice family time as a congressman. "The next day," Shuler says, "Rahm calls and said, 'Hey, I just wanted to call you and tell you I'm taking my kids to school. I'll call you later.' … Then he calls me back three hours later and said, 'Hey, I just wanted you to know I stopped by my daughter's school. I'm going to lunch with her.' That was it. No conversation. He calls me a few hours later, 'I want to let you know I'm picking my kids up. I'm taking them to swim class'." This went on for two or three weeks—calls from dance recitals, swim classes, with the sounds of kids happily playing in the background—until Shuler agreed to run for Congress (he won).

Clinton might well believe that Obama cannot deliver even if he wins.

That's how I heard it, along the lines of Hillary's MLK/LBJ contrast. (And not so much "X=Obama, Y=Clinton" as "X:Y::Obama:Clinton.") But Bill strikes me as someone whose internal editor isn't working at full capacity these days; I may be exercising my patternmaking instinct where it's not appropriate.

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