A Democrat Strategist Named Peter Feld Has Made Two Very Perceptive Observations As Warnings To Obama/DNC In The Last Two Days.
Posted by WLS:
Over at Radaronline yesterday, he had a piece up commenting on the real trouble the recent poll shifts protend for Obama over the next 8 weeks. Among his observations were the following:
If you hide behind electoral maps or statistical projections at your favorite number-crunching site, and ignore the national polls because “it’s 50 state elections,” you’ll be lulled by projections based on weeks-old data, often conducted by middling polling operations. And you’ll miss what’s happened.
This election just flipped.
It’s not “over,” and Obama is far from doomed. But important dynamics were established over the summer, and especially the past 10 days, that help McCain tremendously.
Panic isn’t helpful, but neither is denial. Actually, a little panic at Obama HQ would be prudent. An absence of panic means no lessons are being learned.
The biggest threat to Democrats winning the presidency—despite an economic agenda much better than the GOP’s for the disengaged, downscale voters who decide elections—is always the decades-old perception by those voters that Democrats aren’t “like them”—that they’re culturally alien.
… Obama has struggled all year with looking like he “gets” the lives of those whose votes he needs. By choosing Palin, Republicans set a trap that made that vulnerability critical.
Commiserating with Iowa farmers about the high price of arugula at Whole Foods wasn’t too swift. Much worse were the off-the-record comments about bitter people in small towns clinging to their guns and religion.
When the Republicans rolled out the real deal, Wal-Mart mom Palin, Democrats took the bait.
First, they opened up a very unhelpful debate over experience. …. Making the obvious attack on Palin’s experience only shifted the battle to McCain’s best territory.
But the main damage was cultural… It was so obvious to all the smart people supporting Obama that a small-town mayor is unqualified for leadership! They swapped mocking e-mails, cackled that Palin was a Quayle/Eagleton disaster who’d soon be off the ticket, and argued that the recklessness of her selection demonstrated John McCain’s mental instability. [GEE, I WONDER IF HE”S TALKING ABOUT ANYONE WE KNOW? — WLS]
And instantly, they undid all Obama’s success in winning new consideration in the small towns that resisted him in the primaries, and that had been insulted by his “bitter” remarks.
….so blinded by derision were the Democrats, and the media, that they completely missed the launch of a “new Ronald Reagan” a family-values superstar cooked up, under the radar, in the Republicans’ Alaskan Frankenlab.
So now, McCain and Palin cast themselves as America’s team, and Obama as the exotic community organizer from Hawaii who bugs people to go to meetings.
When Palin’s background and “redneck” origins were so savagely ridiculed by Democrats, her mockery of “community organizers” came off as admirable gumption. She was fighting back.
Barack Obama has never needed to win swing voters. His entire career has been based on appealing to core Democrats—from his organizer days, to his state Senate career, to his 2004 speech to a packed Boston convention hall, and his US Senate race that same year (he had no serious Republican opposition), to his stunning series of primary and caucus victories earlier this year.
But the problem isn’t only Obama himself, it’s those around him who live in the same bubble, who think a good way to connect with average American voters is to stage a mass rally—more than double the size of Obama’s largest U.S. crowd—in a foreign country.
This is the thinking that loses elections. The new rash of polls is a wake-up call.
Today Feld has further cautionary advice for Obama’s team over at Gawker.com:
I wouldn’t have counted on Maureen Dowd to illustrate the cluelessness of the liberal media who are losing the election for Obama. But she did.
The conceit of today’s Dowd column — burdened, as so many of hers are, with an ill-fitting pop culture framework (My Fair Lady, this time) — is that Sarah Palin’s interview later today with ABC’s Charlie Gibson is a moment of high peril for the putatively unprepared VP candidate. Dowd mirthfully suggests a few questions for Gibson to ask Palin, such as:
“Why was Sarah for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, and why was she for earmarks before she was against them? And doesn’t all this make her just as big a flip-flopper as John Kerry?”
It’s a question a lot of the fight-the-last-war press seems to be asking.
Clarence Page still expects America to wake up and notice that McCain didn’t vet Palin sufficiently. Like Dowd — and the Obama campaign — Page believes that when Americans learn that Palin once supported the bridge boondoggle she now boasts of stopping, her selection will “backfire” on McCain.
“Bridge to nowhere” is an apt name for this Obama strategy. What Obama (“You can’t just make stuff up!”) and his sputtering media supporters miss is that the “for-it-before-I-was-against-it” quote damaged Kerry, not because America hates a flip-flopper, but because it captured exactly what made him seem so ridiculous.
It was a line Kerry had used on himself, something Palin would never do.
Palin may be many things — unprepared, phony, right-wing, LensCrafter model, aerial wolf-hunter — but she’s not John Kerry. Her appeal is visceral, not logical.
The swing voters who have to decide between McCain and Obama recognize themselves in her, something the Obama campaign considers unimportant. The indignant, sputtering media think that they can undo that appeal with careful fact-checking of Palin’s record.
Good luck — if someone doesn’t wake up soon, it looks like you’ll have the chance to fact-check Palin for the next four years.
I point this out only because it highlights in my view the extraordinarily bad tactical decisions the Obama campaign has made just about everyday since the end of the Dem convention.
I posted a few days ago that when comparing the Obama selection of Biden and the McCain selection of Palin, you could see exactly how it was that the GOP wins national elections and the Dems lose them.
McCain has been one step ahead of Obama and his press posse since the convention. He stepped on Obama’s post-convention bounce, pretty much taking Obama’s acceptance speech off the front pages with his selection of Palin.
By keeping Palin under wraps while she’s being briefed-up, he’s only fueled the press’s sputtering about their lack of access to her.
And they completely miss the mood of the country.