Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama can't win against Palin

My husband and I have been having some interesting discussions about the way Sen. Barack Obama has been going after Gov. Sarah Palin. The positions range from 'democrats don't know how to run against women - even their own' to 'has he forgotten he's running against Sen. John McCain and not Palin' to 'I hope he keeps it up because it spells doom for his campaign.'

Karl Rove, former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, is loved by the right and hated by the left for his savvy abilities when it comes to campaigning, earning the nickname 'The Architect' and with just cause.

Rove's column in the Wall Street Journal sums up the points we've been making at home. Some of the key points:

If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president.

If Mr. Obama keeps attacking Mrs. Palin, he could suffer the fate of his Democratic predecessors. These assaults highlight his own tissue-thin résumé, waste precious time better spent reassuring voters he is up for the job, and diminish him -- not her.

A debate between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Palin over executive experience also isn't smart politics for Democrats. As Mr. Obama talks down Mrs. Palin's record, voters may start comparing backgrounds. He won't come off well.

Mrs. Palin did seek earmarks as Wasilla's mayor. But as governor, she ratcheted down the state's requests for federal dollars, telling the legislature last year Alaska "cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks." Her budget chief directed state agencies to reduce earmark requests to only "the most compelling needs" with "a strong national purpose," explaining to reporters "we really want to skinny it down."

Mr. Obama has again started a debate he can't win. As senator, he has requested nearly $936 million in earmarks, ratcheting up his requests each year he's been in the Senate. If voters dislike earmarks -- and they do -- they may conclude Mrs. Palin cut them, while Mr. Obama grabs for more each year.

Mr. Obama is already finding it difficult to win over independent women and Hillary Clinton voters. If it looks like he's going out of his way to attack Mrs. Palin, these voters may conclude it's because he has a problem with strong women.

If Mr. Obama keeps attacking her, the odds of Gov. Palin becoming Vice President Palin increase significantly.


Rove gets it right, even if the Obama supporters don't want to hear what he has to say. Of course, the McCain-Palin supporters obviously hope it continues.

When you're on the defensive in a campaign, you're losing.

8 comments:

gordon gekko said...

I'm actually amazed with the way Obama has gone after Palin. It's really quite amateurish.

If their campaign truly believed her to be an empty suit, they would have ignored her like you would an empty suit.

By going after her he 1) called needless attention to her 2) called people to listen to what makes her the anti Christ to him 3) lowers his own stature to VP status 4) totally takes him off message since Palin is definitely not Bush and 5) picks the scab of lots of upset Clinton backers

I've notice that Obama has a tendency to "street talk" when under stress and he's doing more and more of it. I think it turns off women and small town types.

His campaign is really starting to look scattered & without message. Sooner or later, that "Not Bush" campaign theme was going to wear out but he has no back up message.

If you use football as a metaphor, Obama has had a lead and he was trying to run the ball (Biden) and kill the clock. McCain's pick was a fumble recovery (Clinton) for a touchdown. Now he's behind, lost momentum, off the game plan and not skilled coming back from behind.

Now he's throwing the ball around everywhere with bad receivers (Biden). It's a classic Bengal's game.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

People sometimes forget that Obama "skidded" into the nomination of the Democratic Party, losing primaries in key states in the final days. His momentum gone, he tried to re-energize the base with the put up events of the convention, and to some extent succeeded.

Some "Jedi Master" of political strategy like Karl Rove pulled off a master stroke in stealing that momentum for the Republican party however, not just with the Palin pick, but with the timing of the announcement. Obama has been off point, reactive instead of proactive, and off of the prompter (something deadly for him) ever since. Add in Joe Biden's recent comment that Hilary might have been a better VP pick, which tells us that Obama can't make good decisions in critical situations, and he finds himself well on his way down a path of self-destruction.

It will be interesting to see whether he can turn this around, or will continue to go into meltdown in the next few weeks.

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

I have watched the clips of the Palin interview on ABC. I will miss 20/20 tonight (HS Football) but will watch the interview in its entirety online tomorrow.

She does well on many key issues and challenges. If Democrats continue to underestimate her, and loose their focus on the McSame theme - they are in trouble. Well, with the shiny newness of Obama wore off, they are in trouble anyway, and I am, thankfully, encouraged.

TAHL

Kadim said...

Undoubtedly the Obama campaign is struggling to figure out how to deal with Palin.

There is something to be said though that they are on the right track though...the polls are all over the place right now. The current Gongwer page says that the Ohio poll has McCain with a slight lead, but Quinnipiac says that Obama went up five points in Ohio after the GOP convention.

These polls are not all over the place because people are having new thoughts about McCain, Obama, or Biden. Sarah Palin has put people into a tizzy, and the consensus is still a big question mark.

As long as that's the case, then it makes sense for the Obama campaign to continue trying to define Palin. Obviously though, once Palin's novelty has worn off and the consensus has solidified on her, then there would be no gain for the Obama campaign to continue talking about her.

jamesm said...

You must have missed the Daily Show segment where Rove states (indirectly) that he doesn't think Palin is qualified due to lack of experience?

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=184086&title=Sarah-Palin-Gender-Card

Guess he never realized his statements would come back to haunt the Republican VP nomination?

Palin is easily defeated by pointing out her lies regarding the Bridge to Nowhere and earmarks. Not to mention the fact that during her reign as mayor, Wasilla went from no debt to 22 million in debt. Change? Sounds like more of the same.

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/gop_convention_spin_part_ii.html

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

ENOUGH about the "bridge to no where." I have explained the bridge in other posts, and despite its catch phrase - its a misnomer.

Regarding Wasilla's debt. I have not seen the city financials, I am sure you have not either. I have not seen
"factcheck.org / "gop_convention_spin" But if they have reviewed the basis for the 22 million dollar debt claim - lets see it.

Perhaps Mayor Palin brought long necessary improvements to infrastructure roads etc. to encourage citizens moving out of Anchorage to relocate to Wasilla, resulting in "debt." Humm...sound familiar.

Maybe Mayor Palin brought a new hockey arena complex to Wasilla to tap into the value of such a site in a city commutting distance from Anchorage, in a hockey rich state, which would bring long term revenue and use to Wasilla - thus creating "debt." (sound familiar, although that was probably corruption since her someday son-in-law might be a hockey player).

Maybe in 2000 Wasilla was a small deteriorating city that needed improvement to become competitive with Eagle River, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Girdwood and other small towns in and around Alaska in preparation for the anticipated natrual gas pipeline - which would put the city in "debt."

Any in-depth anaylysis of this claim of "perks, earmarks, and debt" or just rhetoric?

jamesm said...

Lawyer-
Palin's stance on the bridge to nowhere has been proven to be a flip flop on several sites.

Actually I have seen the numbers. The financial statements are available on the city's website. Go take a look at long term debt, and stop trying to reason that some debt, especially $20+ million of debt, is something that can be dismissed when considering the size of the city. Debt is debt, not "debt", but to argue for good debt is a very Clinton-ian effort in semantics.

Her earmark requests are also in the public domain. Go do some research.

Maggie Thurber said...

jamesm - you and the others who are criticizing Palin miss the point of my post.

Obama isn't running against Palin - he's running against McCain. But the more that people 'pile on' (regardless of the validity of the various positions), the more the American voters gravitate toward the McCain-Palin ticket.

As an aside - there is a difference between an "earmark" and general funding. http://tinyurl.com/5vzrhv

Many mayors and governors request funding from the federal government that does not fall under the definition of an earmark. The distinction - especially to those of us who are fiscal conservatives and limited government advocates - is small, but it is a specific difference when it comes to Congress and it should be clarified by the various campaigns.

For instance: if the federal budget allocates $100 million for a formula grant and a mayor asks for $1 million under that formula grant, that's not an earmark. If, however, Congress passes a budget of $110 million for that formula grant and designates that the additional $10 million is going to a specific city, then that extra $10 million is an earmark.

The difference is that all the mayors are vying for the $100 million, but Congress got to decide specifically for the additional $10 million and only those designated by Congress had the ability to get it.

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