Why I Am Confident About Obama – Or a Roundup of Recent Election 2008 News


By Joe Campbell
October 12th, 2007

Much of the media has now pronounced Obama’s campaign all but hopeless and anointed Hillary the Democratic presidential candidate.  Why?  A national poll showing Hillary with a 20-point lead over all contenders and an Iowa poll showing her, for the first time, taking a slim lead in Iowa.  I am not sure Obama can win, but for me, this race seems far from over.  Even Michael Crowley’s piece in TNR with the hope-filled title: “Hope sinks” gave me some reasons to believe there’s more to come.  Here’s why:

Crowley in his piece used the same trope that the Hillary campaign has been handing out about Obama’s “new politics” – her campaign has tried to say Obama is caught in a catch-22, unable to criticize her or play politics without losing his mantle as the candidate of change, as the candidate of the new politics.  Based on Obama’s campaign team, based on what I have gleaned of Obama’s personality from the various profiles, based on the fact that Obama was a Chicago politician, it’s obvious he’s ready and willing to play hardball.  I frankly don’t see the contradiction being the politics of hope and political hardball.  To say that politics is more than a game where we pick our positions based on carefully polled tactical decisions does not indicate you won’t criticize your opponents.  It is one thing to say that politics has to be about more than character assassination, and another to be unwilling to take on your opponent’s positions.  Conflating the two is nothing more than a tactic to confuse the issues, or an indication that a reporter is confused.

Of course, Obama has fed into this by refusing to mention Hillary by name.  To me this seems like a tactical decision rather than a matter of principle.  The time will come, and it will come soon when he will start criticizing her by name – apparently starting with the New Hampshire editorial excerpted below.  He will call on her by name in a speech soon, after he begins to gain some points in the polls, at least in Iowa.  And it will be news and will help build his momentum.  For the past six months, I have been hearing about the fears from the Obama campaign that they will peak too early.  That’s why I give some credence to reports such as this one that indicate that they plan on coming from behind just before the Iowa caucuses.

Crowley reports that Obama has the team and the organization in Iowa to succeed, and that if he is able to get some younger voters to the caucuses, he might succeed.  Of course the youth vote always seems to disappear in elections.  But with the strongest Democratic organization in Iowa and a veteran political team, this seems very important.

Another reason to think all is not over: the moment Hillary was anointed the presidential candidate, she made two mistakes.  First, she voted for the Lieberman-Kyl bill that seems eerily reminiscent of the 2003 bill to authorize military force with Iraq.  And then she accused a questioner of being planted by an opposition campaign when he asked a legitimate questions about her support for the Liberman-Kyl bill.  This prompted the TNR blog headline “HAS HILLARY LET OBAMA BACK INTO THE RACE?”.  Obama took the opening with an article in a New Hampshire paper:

I strongly differ with Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was the only Democratic presidential candidate to support this reckless amendment. We do need to tighten sanctions on the Iranian regime, particularly on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which sponsors terrorism far beyond Iran’s borders. But this must be done separately from any unnecessary saber-rattling about checking Iranian influence with our “military presence in Iraq.” Above all, it must be done through tough and direct diplomacy with Iran, which I have supported, and which Sen. Clinton has called “naive and irresponsible.” Sen. Clinton says she was merely voting for more diplomacy, not war with Iran. If this has a familiar ring, it should. [my emphasis]

And now we also find that the Clintons are beginning to do what they are so good at doing: alienating their potential allies by attacking anyone who disagrees with them.  The Hillary camp is apparently put out by the quality of Obama’s foreign policy team and has asked Mr. Documents-in-my-Socks Sandy Berger to be an enforcer to let anyone supporting Obama know that they will have no place in a Clinton administration.  It’s called cheap; and it’s called hardball.  And Obama will hit back.

Clintonian hubris, an Obama strategy to put the pressure on Clinton late, with Iowa in a statistical dead heat, and a ton of other primaries following hard-upon Iowa.  It seems to me that Obama has a good chance of winning even if he doesn’t hit his stride.  And if he does, I feel this may be a short race.

Meanwhile, Ted Sorenson, close Kennedy confidante, makes a good case for Obama as the heir to JFK.

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5 Responses to “Why I Am Confident About Obama – Or a Roundup of Recent Election 2008 News”

  1. Outsider Says:

    I’m not american, cannot vote, but this country I think still has too many prejudices when it comes to race and religion. You may not feel the religious ones on the big cities, but you better not say you’re a muslim in middle america, not even mention being an atheist.

    whether this guys is good or not for the country, he’s not the man, we’re on a war, an oil-holly war against a country that professes his religion, the hill billy american would never look at this guy as the president of the united states, they would think he’s a terrorist for all they know.

    Add to that he’s a bit colored. Good luck Osama, you seem like a bright man, but america isn’t ready for you yet.

  2. admin Says:

    i’m gonna assume you mean Obama instead of Osama at the bottom.

  3. Ryan Says:

    I think this article make good points. Hillary’s campaign is based on inevitability, and it could be brought down based on the same thing. I can see the news media gobbling up last-minute breaking stories questioning Hillary’s inevitability. Enter Obama with his superior grassroots game, and Hillary’s house of cards falls.

  4. Hillbilly from Middle America Says:

    You’re right, you’re not American, that’s obvious from you’re MAJOR assumption of mid-west/central USA views.

    I think you’ll have a hard time backing up your claims that small town America is inherently bigoted, narrow minded and extremist. While I do not deny that there are religious fundamentals in the USA that maintain considerable power within our government right now, this is still separate from the day to day interactions of people.

    …I’m not sure what an oil-holly war is, but I would not disagree that President Bush has made a serious error of judgment starting a war in Iraq. But Barack Obama is not a Muslim. I’m not sure where you draw that parallel. And Iraq was not invaded because it is Muslim. Iraq was invaded for much more complicated and politically personal reasons regarding George Bush.

    Assuming that the average American would look upon a Chicago local (a middle American city) as a potential terrorist is preposterous, and I encourage you to visit America and eliminate some of these bigoted and unfounded fears.

    While I respect your concern that America is currently on the wrong path, and I agree with that sentiment, I do not abide by your accusations that the entire interior of our country is full of “hill-billies” nor do I agree with your accusation that once you leave the American cities you enter a dark biblical world lacking in education, reason, and foresight.

    The United States has many man y terrible flaws, and can often get lost in it’s own backbiting, but what you say here, by broadly accusing of everyone between Nevada and West Virginia of these ignorant actions is nothing short of cultural bigotry.

    You sir are wrong in your assessment of this country.

    ~Hill-Billy Atheist with a college degree, and 2 door 1980s Chevy, living in southern Indiana that is voting for a Republican for mayor, voted for a Democrat and Republican in Senate, and will be voting for Barack Obama in the primaries and general election.

  5. Why I Am Still Confident About Obama’s Campaign - 2parse/blog Says:

    [...] One of my first blog posts – and my first blog post to gain a sizeable readership – ran last October 12 when Obama was trailing Hillary by sizable margins and was entitled: “Why I Am Confident About Obama.” [...]

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