Friday, April 25, 2008

Problem from within

Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, an admitted hillbilly and political adviser to Democrats has a fascinating take on the whole "bitter" controversy. Saunders worked for the John Edwards campaign and is a veteran of Virginia politics. He plays bluegrass music and refuses to cede the rural white vote to Republicans. In other words, he doesn't think like most Democrats. Here's what he said to the Huffington Post:

"I think it is the prevailing wisdom of the Democratic Party. That's just a symptom of the problem. When Barack Obama was saying it, he wasn't saying that to get people all stirred up and stuff. When he was saying it and you would have asked him if there was something wrong with it, he would have bet you a million dollars to the penny that there wasn't anything wrong with it, because he believes it. I think there are an awful lot of smart people who believe in rural stereotypes. But the problem with the Democratic Party is that they don't understand...that a lot of these big city people who have stereotyped us, we have also stereotyped them. Therein lies the problem. See, that's what happened Barack Obama said that, he played into our stereotype about the big city."

Saunders' argument that the backlash about the comments says more about the party than the actual comments do, gets to the heart of why Democrats haven't been successful in politics recently. And it's the only reason McCain has any chance of winning in November.

Two-faced McCain

McCain vowed to run a "clean campaign." Watch this clip of him:

Now, look at what he said to a group of bloggers today:

"I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. So apparently has Danny Ortega and several others. I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas's worst nightmare....If senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly."

Media Matters has a great run down of all the smears that McCain has benefited from. Just something to keep in mind.

DNC hits McCain

Great ad:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Having it both ways

The North Carolina Republican Party is running a new ad linking Obama to Jeremiah Wright, calling Obama "too extreme for North Carolina." Here's the ad:

John McCain has since "asked them not to run it." McCain added, "There's no place for that kind of campaigning - and the American people don't want it, period." I previously wrote about disgusting tactics used by the Tennessee Republican Party. In both instances, McCain gets to appear to take the high road by disowning the smears while also benefiting from the repeated plays the ad gets on cable news.

Well now Obama is calling McCain out. In an interview with the Huffington Post (a website looking more and more like every day) Obama said, "
Well, my understanding is that the Republican National Committee and John McCain have both said the ad is inappropriate. I take them at their word. And I assume that if John McCain thinks that it's an inappropriate ad that he can get them to pull it down since he's their nominee and standard-bearer."

Good for Obama, though it's disappointing that it took him to make this point.

Update: Case in point: The Los Angeles Times blog post on this story has this headline: "N.C. GOP defies McCain on ad depicting Obama and Wright." The implication, of course, is that McCain has fought hard to get the ad off the air, but the party just won't listen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Unfortunately true

From Time:

Even so, the real winner of the Democratic race in Pennsylvania is John McCain. The most significant number coming out of Tuesday night wasn't Clinton's 10 point margin of victory, but 43. That's the percentage of Clinton voters who say they would stay home or vote for McCain if Obama is the party's nominee in November. It is no longer just the Chicken Littles within the party who openly worry about an outcome that leaves large blocks of women or African-Americans frustrated and alienated.

The extended race is also clearly getting to Obama, who is noticeably fatigued on the stump and lacks the energy that drew in so many new voters earlier in the primary season. The largely positive media coverage he previously enjoyed has been replaced by a tenser relationship. The candidate now limits his availability to the political press corps, and recently snapped at a reporter who tried to ask a question while he was eating breakfast at a Pennsylvania diner.

At the same time, Tuesday night's results may require Clinton to alter her case against Obama in ways that could do real damage if he becomes the nominee. His ability to improve his standing among key constituencies while withstanding intense scrutiny makes it more difficult for her to argue that he could not win in November. (Clinton admitted as much in their 21st debate, answering "yes, yes, yes" when asked if Obama could beat McCain.) That means she'll have to instead argue that he should not be president. And that's music to Republican ears.